Power Electronics

Smaller Brick Sizes Are Gaining Ground

According to a marketing report published last month by Darnell, products offered in the “brick” package formats will account for about 80% of isolated dc-dc converter sales this year. The 364-page report, “DC-DC Converter Modules: Global Market Forecasts and Competitive Environment,” also describes how changing converter technology and market requirements are causing a migration by customers from the larger brick formats to smaller, newer ones.

During the next five years, full- and half-bricks are projected to lose share to the smaller form factors as efficiency, thermal and density improvements have provided these smaller form factors the ability to offer required power levels for many applications. Half-bricks will face the largest decline in share, falling from 52% of the market in 2005 to 19% of the market in 2010.

Quarter- and eighth-bricks are expected to see rising market shares during the beginning of the forecast, since these bricks are currently in the sweet spot in the market as far as power levels are concerned. Sixteenth-bricks are the newest in the brick family and are expected to grow from nearly no market to 11% of the brick market by 2010.

Of course, bricks are only one segment of the diverse isolated dc-dc converter market. Many trends are providing opportunities for dc-dc module makers. From an application point of view, the computer segment in North America and the communications segment in Asia are providing the greatest opportunities. From an architectural point of view, the faster-than-expected adoption of the intermediate bus architecture is driving sales of nonisolated point-of-load converters (POLs) and bus converters, which are two of the fastest-growing dc-dc converter segments.

Additionally, the trends toward lower operating voltages, higher current levels and higher wattages are providing growth possibilities in a number of key areas. Overall, these trends are expected to lift the dc-dc converter module market from nearly $3.3 billion in 2005 to $5.4 billion in 2010. This translates to annualized growth of 10.5%.

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