SCOTTSDALE, USA: After falling 16 percent in 2009, power transistor sales are expected to climb 31 percent in 2010 and reach a new record high of $10.96 billion as demand for semiconductors continues a strong recovery from the depths of the economic recession in the first half of last year, according to IC Insights' new 2010 Optoelectronics, Sensors, and Discretes (O-S-D) Report.
In 2009, the power transistor market suffered its worst decline since the 18 percent drop recorded in the 2001 downturn. The report's projected 31 percent growth in 2010 will be the strongest increase for power transistors since the 32 percent rise recorded in 2000.
Power transistor sales are forecast to reach $14.5 billion in 2014 compared to $8.4 billion in 2009 (Fig. 1), representing a CAGR of nearly 12 percent. Power transistor unit shipments are expected to grow at a CAGR of 14 percent in the five-year forecast period to 71.3 billion compared to 37.1 billion in 2009, according to IC Insights' new O-S-D Report. Power transistor sales accounted for 55 percent of the $15.2 billion total discrete semiconductor market in 2009. In 2014, power transistors are forecast to represent 58 percent of the $25.1 billion discretes market.
Fig. 1Source: IC Insights, USA
Much of the growth in power transistors is being driven by the proliferation of battery-operated portable electronics and the global emphasis on greater energy conservation in systems plugged into electrical outlets. Ongoing improvements in power transistor technologies and designs are enabling greater efficiency in new power supplies and battery management systems for every type of system—from high-end computer servers to cellular phones.
In the five-year forecast period, power transistors will get a boost from the recovery of the automotive industry from its worst downturn in more than 60 years. Power transistors are also serving potentially huge market applications in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and in alternative methods of electricity generation, such as solar and wind-power systems.
Among the major power transistor categories, high-voltage power FETs (over 200V) are forecast to show the strongest growth during the 2009-2014 period, rising by a CAGR of 13.5 percent reaching $2.3 billion in 2014. IGBT modules are expected to be the second fastest growing power transistor category in the next five years with a CAGR of 12.7 percent, reaching $2.5 billion in 2014.
Discrete insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) are expected to add another $954 million to that total in 2014. IC Insights believes that low-voltage power FETs (field-effect transistors, serving applications under 200V) will remain the largest power transistor category with sales reaching $5.3 billion in 2014, a CAGR of nearly 12.1 percent in the five-year forecast period. Meanwhile, bipolar-junction power transistor sales are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 9 percent in the 2009-2014 period, reaching $1.2 billion in five years.
Leading power transistor suppliers covered in the 2010 O-S-D Report include Infineon, International Rectifier, IXYS, Fairchild, Fuji Electric, Mitsubishi, NEC (now part of Renesas), NXP, ON Semiconductor, Sanyo, STMicroelectronics, Toshiba, Toyota, and Vishay.
IC Insights' report also covers new efforts to replace silicon power transistor technology with compound semiconductor materials, such as silicon-carbide (SiC) and gallium-nitride (GaN) wafers, for next-generation devices in high-voltage and high-performance power applications. In addition, the O-S-D Report tracks activities in RF/microwave power transistors, including developments in new silicon LDMOS devices as well as GaAs, GaN, InP, and InGP compound wide-band gap discretes.
Source: IC Insights, USA