Power Electronics

Data Points

Global Market for Power Electronics Devices Worth $17.7 Billion in 2013

The global market for power electronics devices was worth $9.8 billion in 2007 and is expected to reach $10.2 billion by the end of this year, according to a recent report published by BCC Research (Wellesley, Mass.).

The report, “Power Electronics: Technologies and Global Markets,” further predicts that the market will grow to $17.7 billion in 2013, which would be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.6%. Sales for power electronics devices in the United States reached $2.1 billion in 2007 and an estimated $2.2 billion in 2008. BCC Research expects sales to increase to $3.9 billion in 2013, which would be a CAGR of 12.3%.

According to the report, three factors account for the rapid growth rate that is expected in this market. The first is that the rapid increase in petroleum prices that occurred in the last quarters of 2007 and first quarters of 2008 reflected something other than a speculative bubble. The second factor is a consequence of a weak dollar and a strong euro. The third factor is that global oil reserves are less than have been estimated. For more information, see www.bccresearch.com.

Patent Covers Discharge Lamp Lighting Control

A joint patent award, entitled “Discharge Lamp Lighting Control Device,” was issued U.S. Patent 7,391,165 on June 24, 2008. Inventors on the patent were Fred C. Lee, Jinghai Zhou and Yan Jiang of CPES-Virginia Tech, and Masanao Okawa, Dung A. Tran and Hiroyasu Eriguchi of Matsushita Electric Works Ltd., Japan.

The patent describes a discharge lamp lighting control device having a dc power converter, a power-factor-improving power converter, a polarity-reversing circuit, a starter circuit and a controller. The power-factor-improving power converter includes a switching device, a power-factor improver and a power converter.

The power-factor improver smooths a rectified voltage by storing energy in a first inductive device, L1, and by discharging energy from a second inductive device, L2. These inductive devices are magnetically coupled together. The storing and discharging is performed by turning on and off the switching device. A predetermined dc voltage is converted by energy stored and discharged by a third inductive device, L3, in response to turning on and off the switching device.

Survey Finds Runtime and Capacity Are Dominant Factors in Battery Selection

Runtime and battery capacity were identified as the most important factors in selecting battery chemistry and technology in portable products, according to a survey conducted by Nexergy (Columbus, Ohio), a manufacturer of battery packs and chargers. Additionally, the survey indicated a lack of familiarity and understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the many battery chemistries available on the market today. The survey was distributed via e-mail in August 2008 to approximately 3000 Nexergy customers and prospects.

Runtime and capacity were the most important elements of battery performance among both design engineers and marketers, according to the survey. Cost ranked as the fifth most important by engineers out of a list of seven criteria; among marketers, it was even less important, ranking sixth. Rounding out the most important factors after runtime and capacity, in order of priority, were safety, cycle life, power, cost, size and weight.

When asked whether battery performance was able to provide a competitive advantage to their products, design engineers responded with a 4.0 out of 5.0 average score, strongly agreeing that battery technology leads directly to a competitive advantage. Further, respondents strongly disagreed (averaging a 1.92 score) with the statement that battery packs “are basically seen as a commodity.”

“The design of the electronics in a battery pack that control charge and discharge with elements such as gas gauging is key to improving performance, and we can see in the study that the industry is coming to appreciate that,” said Phil Glandon, president and CEO of Nexergy. “Ensuring that the charge or discharge cycles don't terminate prematurely or that the pack is not abusively charged or overdischarged affects both capacity and cycle life.”

“It was a bit surprising,” he added, “that cost appeared so low on the priority list for both groups we surveyed, and nearly at the bottom among our marketing contacts. Battery performance clearly is seen as a core competitive advantage by our customers, and that should be the primary consideration as we make design decisions on new battery packs for our customers.”

Another interesting finding from the study is that the rapid evolution in new battery technology during the past few years has caused confusion in the marketplace among both marketers and design engineers. When asked questions related to battery chemistry, the number of “don't know” responses throughout the survey was surprisingly high, according to Glandon.

Digital Power Converters Projected to Exceed 1.4 Billion Units in 2013

The portion of the power-supply market that will employ some form of digital loop control is expected to grow at an average annual rate of about 45% for at least the next five years, according to recent analysis by Darnell Group (Corona, Calif.). Digital power growth will be almost five times faster than the overall market. Darnell predicts that by 2013, the digital power converter market is projected to exceed 1.4 billion units.

“To put the market in perspective, the worldwide total available ac-dc power-supply and dc-dc converter unit market is set to grow at an average rate of only about 10% between 2008 and 2013,” stated Linnea Brush, a senior analyst with Darnell. “This includes external and embedded ac-dc power supplies, along with isolated and nonisolated dc-dc converters. A market of 1.4 billion units is still less than half the total available market, so digital control will continue to grow rapidly over the next five years and beyond.”

Investments in Infrastructure Industries Boost High-Power AC Drives Market

Strong growth continued in 2007 for the high-power ac drives market due to robust investments in manufacturing and infrastructure industries worldwide, according to ARC Advisory Group (Boston, Mass.). A new study by ARC, “High Power AC Drive Worldwide Outlook, Market Analysis & Forecast Through 2012,” predicts that this worldwide market will grow at a CAGR of 10.8% over the next five years. The market was more than $5.8 billion in 2007, and ARC forecasts that it will be nearly $9.7 billion in 2012.

According to the study, emerging economies such as those in Brazil, Russia, India, China and Eastern Europe helped propel this growth. The regional expansion was led by China, where real GDP grew robustly as exports and investment accelerated, and by India, where gains in domestic demand and investment underpinned strong growth. For more information, see www.arcweb.com/res/achi.

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