Power Electronics

Data Points

Power Management IC Shipments Hit New Low

The power supply and power management IC market, as a subset of the overall semiconductor market, witnessed perhaps the worst year ever in semiconductor history in 2001. From 1998 to 2001, the market grew at nearly a 30% annual growth rate in worldwide shipment revenues. According to recent analysis by Venture Development Corp. (VDC), 2001 saw a 19% decline in dollar volume shipments. Average selling prices declined 14% as suppliers, distributors, and OEMs tried to reduce their overstocked inventories. This, however, resulted in only a 5% unit volume shipment decline in 2001. Root causes for this dramatic market decline were excess inventories, over-production, declining OEM demands, and marketplace uncertainty.

The table compares 2000 and 2001 dollar volume and forecasts power supply and power management IC shipments by dollar volume through 2006. The power supply and power management IC markets are not expected to reach year-end 2001 revenues until the year 2004. Quarterly revenues may reach year 2001 levels by the third or fourth quarter of 2003.

VDC expects the dollar volume market to grow at about 4% in 2002 and to see continuing growth through 2006. The unit volume market is expected to grow at about 5% in 2002 and to see slightly higher growth through 2006 than the dollar volume market. This lower dollar volume forecast rate in 2002 to 2006 reflects expected erosion in average selling prices (ASPs), due to advances in technology and manufacturing efficiencies, as well as the supply and demand effects of increased production capacity — a trend that's typical of the semiconductor industry.

For more information, visit the Web at www.vdc-corp.com.

Ascom and Tyco Receive License for Power Converter Patent

Design Automation Inc. issued nonexclusive licenses to telecom power supplies manufacturers Ascom Energy Systems, Berne, Switzerland, and Tyco Electronics Power Systems (formerly Lucent Technologies), Mesquite, Texas, for use of the new technology in DAI's U.S. Patent 5,198,969.

The patent covers an improved circuit for soft-switching phase-controlled full-bridge dc-dc power converters. Such power converters are used in telecommunications central offices and can be used in all types of electronic equipment requiring more than about 300W of voltage-regulated dc power. The patented circuit increases the power-conversion efficiency and reduces the cost and the volume of the power converter.

The circuit provides capacitive snubbing of the transistors' turn-off switching (reducing power dissipation at turn-off), provides transistor turn-on at zero voltage (eliminating the capacitance-discharge power dissipation at turn-on), and eliminates the severe overshoot of reverse voltage imposed on the rectifier diodes, which had plagued previous circuits that provided turn-off snubbing and zero-voltage turn-on. Elimination of the reverse-voltage overshoot allows the use of diodes with lower reverse-voltage rating, which reduces the cost and power dissipation of the diode, and reduces the size and cost of the diodes' heatsink.

For additional information about the patent, contact Nathan Sokal at [email protected] or Phone: (781) 862-8998.

Philips Sells TechnoFusion GmbH

Royal Philips Electronics, Amsterdam, Netherlands, recently sold TechnoFusion GmbH to International Rectifier (IR), El Segundo, Calif. Completion of the $50 million cash transaction is planned to take place during this quarter, subject to closing conditions including regulatory approval.

TechnoFusion, a wholly owned subsidiary of Philips, manufactures high-quality integrated regulator microelectronic modules for the global automotive industry. Its products are used in advanced automotive alternators.

The transaction reflects IR's focus on proprietary power management technology for target markets. Alex Lidow, IR CEO, said, “Automotive applications are a key growth segment for IR, and TechnoFusion will add a new dimension to our leadership with advanced automotive power architectures, highly skilled staff, and an excellent customer base.” Ivo Jurek, vice president of automotive at IR, commented, “This acquisition will provide an excellent fit with our existing business and put us in a very strong position to address some of the best market opportunities in the field of power management.”

TechnoFusion lies outside of Philips' core business, and the divestment is intended to secure its future development. Tom Verbeek, head of Philips Corporate Investments, said, “We are pleased to have found a strategic buyer, well suited to exploit the strengths of this business in the automotive market. TechnoFusion is one of approximately 30 nonstrategic businesses that are being prepared for divestment or merger during the next 18 months, generating, as announced, an estimated Euro 1 billion.”

To learn more about IR or Philips Electronics, contact Steve Harrison at [email protected], Phone: (310) 252-7731; or E-mail Hans Scholten at [email protected], Phone: 31-20-5977425.

Electrocube Acquires Seacor Capacitor Lines

Electrocube Inc., a leading manufacturer of U.S.-made precision capacitors and other passive components, recently acquired the product lines of Seacor Inc. This acquisition broadens Electrocube's presence in the industry with the addition of high-voltage polyester, high-pulse polypropylene, X2 suppression, motor start/motor run and electrolytic standard/high-ripple current capacitors to its product capabilities. S. J. Birenbaum, president and founder of Seacor Inc., will continue his role as a technical source supporting the acquired product lines.

The acquisition of Seacor's products will enable Electrocube to expand its product capabilities as a supplier of an extensive range of capacitor products and customer engineering services for the electronic, communication, industrial, military, and aviation marketplaces.

For more information about Electrocube's acquisition of Seacor's product lines, contact Gloria Snyder at [email protected], Phone: (626) 301-0122, or Fax: (626) 357-8099, or visit the Web at www.electrocube.com.

Intersil Completes Acquisition of Elantec

Intersil Corp. completed its acquisition of high-performance analog leader Elantec Semiconductor Inc. upon receiving shareholder approval by both companies. The acquisition adds leadership in optical storage (CD and DVD recordable) and flat panel display markets to Intersil's strength in wireless networking and power management.

Elantec president and CEO Rich Beyer becomes president and CEO of Intersil Corp. Former Intersil president and CEO Greg Williams becomes executive chairman of Intersil's board of directors. Jim Diller, former Elantec chairman and former CEO and founder of PMC-Sierra, and Rich Beyer join Intersil's board of directors.

“I am extremely pleased with the quality of our new management team and the exceptional execution of this transaction,” said Beyer.

Intersil will integrate Elantec as its fourth product group, joining the company's Wireless Access, Communications Analog, and Standard Analog product groups. The combined Intersil portfolio now addresses several of the fastest growing markets in the industry today — optical storage, flat panel display, power management, and wireless networking.

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