The IGBT devices industry is about to change, according to Yole Développement in its latest power electronics report, entitled "IGBT Market and Technology Trends." The More than Moore market research and strategy consulting company confirms its latest results and announces a strategic shift of the IGBT market:
- From the technology side first, the power module is becoming a key part in the power electronics value chain. And this evolution is directly impacting the supply chain with many new entrants willing to capture the power module added-value.
- At the geographic level then, Chinese companies are entering the IGBT devices market with their own disruptive technologies or with the acquisition of die manufacturers. With this strategy, Chinese players compete established companies mostly based in Europe and Japan. Under this context, the Japanese companies are still dominating the market, even with International Rectifier's acquisition by Infineon Technologies beginning of 2015.
"The IGBT supply-chain is well-established", confirms Coralie Le Bret, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. "But, at Yole, we stay convinced this industry will be progressively reshaping with the entrance of new players at the power module level", she adds.
Indeed most IGBT manufacturers have been involved in the field for decades. Relationships are deep-rooted between tiers and users, and business models are already drawn. However, evolutions are occurring: with the electrified vehicle market's growth, the power module is becoming a key piece of the value chain and an important step to master.
More and more companies are choosing to enter the power module market in order to capture this added value. Under its report, Yole identified lot of companies such as Nissan, Toyota and International Rectifier, still in the power module area even after its acquisition by Infineon Technologies.
However, many challenges must be faced by companies at the packaging level, such as yield increase, failure issue reduction, manufacturing ease, and cost competitiveness. To achieve these targets, new designs and new materials can be used, either to eliminate connection levels or improve interfaces. New solutions inspired by big-volume markets like smartphones are being adapted to higher power needs: for example, modules integrating embedded dies are beginning to enter the market via areas like photovoltaics and automotive. Big players are also pursuing mergers and acquisitions in order to quickly acquire this know-how.
Yole's IGBT report provides an overview of updated market shares, with a split between power module makers and discrete component makers. Moreover Yole's team proposes a detailed description of the supply chain and the companies involved is provided for each key power electronics application.
In parallel, Chinese companies are entering the market to compete with European and Japanese leaders. In 2014, as in 2013, Chinese market represented around 1/3 of the global IGBT devices market. According to Yole's IGBT analysis, many Chinese companies are involved in module manufacturing and buy the dies from foreign companies for integration.
However, Yole's analysts see an increasing number of Chinese companies trying to enter the die manufacturing market: - Some are developing their own technology. Yole identified for example, MacMic, BYD. - Other companies are choosing to acquire die manufacturers.
Regardless of their preferred tactic, every company understands that developing a reputation for good quality is key in order to first enter their local market, and then compete with established IGBT manufacturers.
Yole's analysis highlight the role of the Chinese companies in the IGBT devices market and propose a comprehensive presentation of Chinese players split between power module makers and IGBT die makers, along with an associated power range.
In terms of market share, Japanese companies still lead, even in light of the recent merger between International Rectifier and Infineon. To answer Chinese competition, Japanese and European players rely not only on their experience and product quality, but also on a strong in-house market. With an overall market fueled by electrified vehicles, these established players can benefit from a strong local supply chain in automotive, and look forward to attractive future growth…
"Beginning of the year, Infineon Technologies acquired International Rectifier… This acquisition, one example amongst many others highlights that IGBT devices market has entered a period of fundamental change," comments Pierric Gueguen, Business Unit Manager, Power Electronics & Compound Semiconductor at Yole. He adds: "The competition between new Chinese companies and established Japanese and European leaders, the impact of the electrified vehicles market and the attraction of the power module market… These parameters presage a strong market breakthrough."