Power IC, an industry driven by positive market trends and game-changing technologies

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Power IC industrial players boost capacity, growing the market to more than US$25 billion by 2026.

“The total power IC market is expected to be worth more than US$25 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 3.0% during the forecast period.” asserts Abdoulaye Ly, Technology & Market Analyst, specializing in Power Electronics Systems at Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group. He adds: “This is because power IC devices are used in almost all electric and electronic systems, with different requirements for each application.”

Titre du visuel

june 2021

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Thematic(s) :

In this context, Yole and its partner, Yole SystemPlus, investigated the disruptive power electronics technologies and related markets in depth. The two companies highlight the latest innovations and underline the business opportunities in dedicated reports.
Released today, the Status of Power IC: Technology, Industry and Trends 2021 report from Yole provides an overview of the entire power IC market and analyzes the main drivers for the power IC market by application.
In parallel, the BCD Technology and Cost Comparison 2021 report from Yole SystemPlus is an in-depth comparative study of 40 BCD technologies from the leading 17 manufacturers, including Infineon Technologies, STMicroelectronics, NXP, Renesas, and many more…

What is the status of the power IC industry today? What are the technological challenges and market trends? What are the key drivers? How are the business models and supply chains evolving? Yole SystemPlus offers you today a snapshot of this industry.

Amongst the numerous power IC applications, the mobile and consumer market is the largest segment at about US$11 billion in 2020. This segment is mainly driven by high-volume demand from smartphones, although the growth of this market will flatten in the forecast period. Multi-channel PMICs dominate the mobile and consumer product markets, as various rail voltages are needed to power several loads. Players such as Apple, Qualcomm, Intel, and Samsung S.LSI are leading in this market.

Not far behind, the automotive segment is the most promising for the power IC market in terms of forecast volumes. This is driven by electrification and autonomous driving, leading to a 9.0% CAGR2020-2026 for this segment. EV applications are expected to represent almost 30% of the market by 2026, and BMICs are needed to manage the power flow through the EV battery. The market research and strategy consulting company also estimates that 80% of all passenger and light commercial vehicles will be equipped at least with level 1 ADAS by 2026, and multi-channel PMICs are widely used in ADAS applications. Power IC players such as Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, and STMicroelectronics are very aggressive in this market with impressive innovative solutions.
As shown in Yole’s report, the power ICs industry also offers significant opportunities in other segments, such as industrial, telecom, and medical applications.

The power IC market is based on BCD technology. This technology is widely known amongst the leading players and allows the fabrication on the same chip functions related to logic, analog, and power. BCD has been developed to simplify the control of power devices by proposing a monolithic IC solution to integrate different functions, such as the gate driving circuit and current/temperature measurements, to protect the power component in the same silicon IC. The reverse engineering and costing company Yole SystemPlus researched the products intensively to identify and analyze the technical choices made by the leading power IC companies. This analysis is today available in a detailed report: the BCD Technology and Cost Comparison 2021 report. 
For Sylvain Hallereau, Principal Technology & Cost Analyst at Yole SystemPlus: “This report presents an in-depth analysis of the latest innovations in Bipolar CMOS-DMOS devices. It shows the differences between 40 selected devices from Infineon, STMicroelectronics, Elmos, Bosch, NXP, Littlefuse, Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, Tower Semiconductor, Denso, Renesas, Toyota, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Rohm, and TSMC”.
All BCD technologies evolve. The latest technologies, 130nm and 90nm with embedded memory, allow closer integration with microcontrollers. But the oldest technologies, between 1µm and 0.25µm, also continue to evolve. To drive more current and have higher voltage, the manufacturers have introduced copper metal layers, more complex isolation processes, and a new passives process. The report covers all the major players in the market and their new technologies.

According to Ana Villamor, Ph.D., Team Lead Analyst for power electronics activities within the Power and Wireless division at Yole: “When we ask power management manufacturers about technology trends for power ICs, the first answer is usually “not much is happening, this is a highly cost-driven market”. But of course, this depends on the application and power IC product type”.
There are some end systems with space constraints, like consumer products and IoT, that push for device or system integration. Device integration is driven by the need to integrate different functions in the same chip.
One example is the memory integration with the power IC, which has reduced lithography nodes to 90nm feature sizes. However, companies like Samsung and TSMC are looking to decrease this further, to 65nm. Of course, the node choice is not fixed and depends on the size of the memory part versus the power IC part of the chip. Another example is the increasing development of more specific power ICs. For example, multi-channel PMICs integrate several independent functions in the same chip to satisfy the demand from automotive, computing, and automated systems.
Power IC players also consider system integration in consumer applications such as smartphones, tablets, and wireless earbuds. Players like Analog Devices are pushing for integrated passives in the system, leading to system-in-package components.

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