Power electronics packaging market

The total market for semiconductor devices (discretes, modules and ICs) dedicated to the power electronics industry will reach $20bn in 2012, according to the report 'Status of the Power Electronics Industry' from market research firm Yole Développement. Already well established in the market, IGBTs account for $1.6bn in the medium- to high-voltage range.
GaN and SiC also look promising to surpass silicon's performance and enhance inverter capabilities, notes Yole. While SJ MOSFETs are seeing new players and foundry service suppliers, the IGBT chip industry is becoming consolidated by the presence of large players – such as Infineon, Mitsubishi Electric and Fuji – involved in many application sectors. Graphic: Interaction between power GaN industry and other related industries leading semiconductor players to enter power GaN business. On the other hand, the SiC industry, which has been led so far by Cree Inc, is now an interesting playground for new players, says Yole. The power electronics industry has great potential for growth, reckons the firm, driven mostly by energy-related applications (production, distribution, consumption), which presents an open and accessible market, even for small players. Because it comprises just part of the power electronics industry, the power semiconductor industry must meet the demands of a bigger system: the inverter. The report therefore provides an analysis of the inverter market and the players, as well as the industry evolution, in order to illustrate the role of power semiconductors and to analyze which drivers will be key for various applications.

In addition, the report underlines the expected technical developments of an inverter – depending on the applications – and how power semiconductors can contribute to these improvements.
Geographical positioning is also critical in the power electronics area, especially with the boom in China and other emerging countries, but also because several applications (PV, wind, electric vehicles) are supported by local governments, comments the market research firm. Your use of this website constitutes acknowledgement and acceptance of our Terms & Conditions. With applications as diversified as hybrid cars, photovoltaic (PV) inverters, lighting, and energy – and with a voltage ranging widely from a few volts to a few thousands volts – power electronics will remain one of the most attractive branches of the semiconductor industry for the next decade, the firm expects. This evolution starts with improvements at the semiconductor level, and there are four technologies that are the best candidates for handling these new system requirements: silicon IGBTs (insulated-gate bipolar transistors), super-junction (SJ) MOSFETs, gallium nitride (GaN)- and silicon carbide (SiC)-based devices.
However, Yole says that there is a trend to decrease the voltage range in order to access more segments by targeting consumer applications such as TVs, computer adapters and cameras. However, these materials are still expensive and the technology is not yet ready, the firm reckons.
However, the IGBT (and SJ MOSFET) modules business is growing and new players are entering the sector to provide solutions for cooling, interconnections, substrates, packaging, and gel.
With access to lower-cost material, the SiC industry now has the possibility of ramping up in volume and becoming more established.

International Rectifier, EPC, Transphorm, Microsemi and GaN Systems have now presented fully off-the-shelf or customized products.
For example, some expensive solutions have still not been implemented, even if the device and module performances are much higher than the existing output. Indeed, power devices ameliorations will be useful only if they fit with passive and connective devices, as defined by the needs of the inverter, Yole notes.
Yole therefore also provides a geographical and supply chain analysis for the power electronics industry, from semiconductors and passive devices to the inverter stage. At the same time, SJ MOSFETs present in these applications offer faster switching frequencies and competitive cost.
On the other hand, both of these materials can benefit from their developed status in the LED industry, and plenty of LED players have been paying attention to the opportunity that power electronics represent, it adds. Last but not least, SiC companies have arisen in China, which will present competition and tougher access to local markets.

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