Power Electronics

Darnell Identifies $800 Million Market for Digital Power ICs

According to a just-released report from the Darnell Group (www.Darnell.com), the market for digital power ICs will surge to nearly $800 million in sales within five years. The 237-page, Second Edition report, “Emerging Markets in Digital Power Electronics: Component,Converter and System Level Opportunities” examines the worldwide digital IC market including VR loop controllers, non-VR loop controllers, PFC loop controllers, converter management ICs and system ICs. Darnell projects that this market will grow from $169 million in 2006 to $796 million in 2011, a compound annual growth rate of 36.4%.

Darnell notes some of the factors influencing this market growth: Significant commercial strides have been made in digital power management and control over the past couple of years. More power converter companies are introducing products that incorporate digital power management and control IC solutions, both hybrid (analog and digital) and pure digital. In the meantime, system makers are looking seriously at the benefits of digital control and coming up with their own, often proprietary, solutions.

Certain economic factors are also driving the inevitability of digital over analog solutions, according to Darnell. Analog IC technology follows its own version of “Moore’s Law” such that analog die size shrinks 30% every generation and cost is cut in half every 4 to 8 years. In the case of digital ICs, the die size shrinks 2x with each new generation, or every 18 to 24 months.

However, since the cost of every new generation is 10% to 20% higher, it takes about 2 to 3 years for digital to reduce the cost by 2x. The fabrication node to make digital controllers less costly than analog controllers already exists. Within two semiconductor process lifecycles, it will become cost effective for use in commodity parts like power supply controller ICs, according to Darnell. The firm also notes that digital is already less expensive than analog if “multiple function” solutions are required for specific applications.

Darnell’s Digital Power Electronics report is now available. For more information, or to order the report, email [email protected] or see the Darnell website.

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