Power Dev Power Dev January 2013 : Page 16

JANUAR Y 2013 ISSUE N°8 ANAL YST CORNER IGBT developments face off against weak economy Yole Développement’s Alexandre Avron and Brice Le Gouic explain how the industry has been hit by a slowdown even as it’s pushing towards lower voltages, fl oat zone and larger diameter Czochralski wafers, a foundry model and packaging innovation. IGBT device and module producers look set for a rough ride as governments pull back on spending in areas like renewable energy and transportation. “We have recently heard feedback from IGBT manufacturers, packaging companies and passive component manufacturers, claiming that there has been a critical downturn in 2011 or maybe 2012 for IGBTs,” Yole Développement market analyst Brice Le Gouic told Power Dev’. That means these transistors’ ongoing evolution will become even more important in determining their success in power electronics applications. Developments in IGBT packaging, wafers used in device manufacturing, and other production strategy changes continue – but can they put the industry back on its former rapid growth trajectory? Virtually all IGBT producers compete across the entire range of relevant power electronics applications above 600V, from photovoltaic inverters to motor drives. The best established players, like Neubiberg, Germany’s In fi neon and Tokyo, Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric and Fuji Electric, alone have the advantage of offering devices that can block voltages as high as 3,300V. But they also serve mid-voltage applications also, and that’s where most competition is in the industry, explained Le Gouic’s colleague Alexandre Avron. “The battle is below 1,700V, where all players can manufacture IGBTs,” he said. “The biggest part of the market, in terms of revenues, is the 600-900V range.” Now, some companies are looking to enter new territory beyond the low end of their traditional range. “We’ve seen a move towards the lower voltage 200-600V range in order to reach larger volume applications such as white goods and camera fl ashes,” explained Le Gouic. As well as competition from superjunction MOSFETs already used in this voltage range, this will mean producers will face stronger calls for regular price reductions. “There will be cost pressure because if you target commodity applications, necessarily cost becomes a critical driver,” Le Gouic added. “But the overall market will increase, so that means smaller margins, but much higher volumes.” Part of the ability to compete in this voltage range arises from the improvements that come as IGBT manufacturers progress through device generations. “With each new generation they’ve improved their designs, shrinking die size, which saves on costs,” Avron said. “In fi neon has cut die size by 60-70 per cent between the fi rst and fi fth Alexandre Avron, Technology & Market Analyst, Power Electronics, Yole Développement Brice Le Gouic, Activity Leader, Power Electronics, Yole Développement 2006-2020 power device market size (Source: Yole Développement and WSTS – January 2013 -Data to be released Q2 2013 in the IGBT report) $20 000M $18 000M $16 000M 50% 40% 30% $12 000M $10 000M $8 000M $6 000M 20% 10% 0% -10% $4 000M $2 000M $M -20% 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 -30% Power IC Power Modules Discretes Growth rate (%) 16 POWER Dev’ Annual Growth Rate (%) $14 000M Market size (M$)

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