IGBT application growth will lead the market to $6B+ by 2018
EV/HEV, Renewable energies, Motor drives, UPS and Transportation: These key applications will drive IGBT growth to $6B by 2018
After a few hiccups in 2011 and 2012, we expect a return to steady growth for the IGBT market; specifically, from $3.6B today to $6B by 2018. Six key applications, which are extensively analyzed in this report, will fuel this growth: Motor drives is the largest one for IGBTs; in this report, we provide its splits for industrial, commercial and residential segments. Renewable energies (PV and wind) are also trending well. Since they rely on government investments, they can be unpredictable, but Japan and several developing countries will make up for Europe’s slow-down. Mass transportation and UPS are based on infrastructure needs; thus, the need for greater efficiency is pushing these markets. As for hybrid and electric cars, question marks remain. Market growth will occur, but nobody can predict to what extent. Our forecast is based on the latest Q1/2013 results and our own understanding of technology adoption.
IGBT in everyday life: consumer and home appliances are now part of the equation
In addition to the six key applications, every secondary application is analyzed in this report as well, and there are important trends not to be missed: the so-called “inverterization” trend is one of them. Home appliances increasingly require inverter-based motor drives, which provide better performance, comfort and efficiency: all “musts” for high-end products. Consumers are also using more advanced home solutions, like induction-based plates for rice cookers. These new applications will contribute to IGBT’s growth in consumer applications.
25% drop in 2012: more a mater of circumstances than an actual crisis
In 2012 there was a crisis in the Power Devices markets, IGBTs in particular. This is explained by multiple factors:
- The slow-down of PV installations due to the reduction of feed-in-tariffs in Europe
- The slow-down of wind turbine installations in China
- The train accident in China that halted the high-speed train production line
- The fact that global economic recovery has been much slower than expected (thus affecting the consumer markets).
Also, we believe that the 2011 earthquake in Japan caused system makers to secure their orders.
All these factors combine to explain 2011’s overproduction, which was paid for in 2012 and early 2013.
IGBT faces competition from thyristors, SiC, GaN and MOSFET
The IGBT market also faces competition from external, market-impacting trends. By following the component trends surrounding IGBT, we’ve observed many evolutions, all of which are explained in this report. In fact, IGBT drivers area has never been so active: there are a bunch of start-up companies proposing solutions offering more design flexibility and/or higher performance. Other companies are structuring offers at power stack level, and we’ve seen a lot of work put into power module packaging solutions.
IGBT is no longer the only high-end device solution. SiC devices are ready, and GaN devices are at sample stage. Adoption roadmaps are clearer now. We’ve seen the first full SiC PV inverters based on MOSFETs or JFETs. IGBT is slowly moving to medium and-low end solutions, allowing SiC to handle higher voltages, and GaN to capitalize on lower voltages.
The need for efficient energy solutions is stronger than ever, and IGBT devices are still undergoing developments and improvements: thinner wafers, more efficient production, integration of functionalities, etc. This is why we believe that IGBT is not on its deathbed, nor even declining. No, there are plenty of opportunities still to be
Strong suply chain evolution with Asia entering the game
The IGBT supply chain is not steady either, and we’ve observed a growing number of Asian companies involved or willing to be involved in this market. Chinese and Korean companies are part of this trend, and we’ve listed them in this report. Among the biggest are CSR (who acquired Dynex), and of course BYD; both are moving towards a verticallyintegrated business model.
Also, foundries and fabless companies are targeting opportunities in the low-voltage, lowend market. As a first step, Asian players will probably remain with standard technologies and focus on production for local use.
On the other hand, European and U.S.-based players are pushing for innovation. Some, such as ON Semiconductor (with its division, Sanyo) and Alpha and Omega Semiconductor, are entering or re-entering the IGBT market.