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GETTING INDUSTRIOUS TO RISE TO OUR PLANET’S CHALLENGES
The term “industry” seems old-fashioned in this information age, but it can be helpful to look at it as a relationship between several interdependent application segments. From raw material mining to energy generation, distribution and storage, including manufacturing, agriculture, retail, smart buildings and smart cities – industry is all around us, with industry 4.0 being a major evolution for all players. And its challenges are being renewed in the face of a growing population pushing against a planet that will eventually run out of resources. In the end, industrial applications can be considered as key for society, as opposed to other applications which improve consumers’ comfort or provide a “nice to have” value.
At present, a paradigm shift, referred to frequently as Industry 4.0, is taking place. Industry 4.0 refers to the global trend toward the digitization and networking of the industrial value chain and its products. Main applications today are mostly related to industrial automation and plant engineering applications (also called smart factories).
The key semiconductor devices that are helping in the implementation of this “Industry 4.0” revolve around sensors used to understand processes, energy-managing power devices, and data processing and storage.
Besides the trend towards autonomous systems, the main movements in industrial applications include the development of complete environmentally friendly solutions (that include services instead of just manufacturing a product), the electrification and “batteryfication” of different systems, the digitalization of manufacturing and the management of buildings and cities.
The wide variety of industrial segments invariably implies a variety of players, who are often specialized in one or two industrial segments only. Players therefore have limited visibility over business opportunities in other industrial segments. The companies involved in the energy sector – like BYD, EDF, Tesla, Siemens, ABB, Mitsubishi, and SMA – display the widest horizontal integration.
They are involved in subsectors such as solar inverters, electric vehicle charging stations, and battery energy storage systems. As you may have noticed, many of those applications are interlinked, either on a system or technology basis. Solar inverters can be used with battery energy storage systems or electric vehicle charging stations, for example. Different industrial systems can also use similar components, such as discrete devices, power modules, inductors and capacitors. They are often rated at the same voltage and designed for the same converter power.
At Yole Group, we are particularly interested in high energy conversion efficiency. A key in industrial applications, it drives the demand for highly efficient system topologies and designs, new semiconductor materials and innovative power-semiconductor devices.
Machine vision is also an essential driver that enables us to understand manufacturing in a concrete manner. The same is true for supply chain robotization, with its demanding data processing and machine learning requirements.
Growing industrial technology maturity means that the added value is displaced from the manufacturing of a product to providing the services associated with it – think systems monitoring, control, preventive and reparative maintenance, and end-of-life system treatment.
Yole Group’s analysts focus on the technology challenges and innovations needed for each industrial segment, supported by semiconductor devices and electronic systems.
We also develop a global understanding of the synergies between the different applications. In this way, we can help you identify the business opportunities lying beyond your core industry and business area.