Yole Développement (Yole) expects the IGBT market to go over US$ 5 billion by 2022 with a major growth coming from IGBT power module. The high performance that SiC and GaN materials can afford is already creating a battlefield with Silicon based IGBT. To overcome this thread, Si IGBT manufacturers need to look for prompt solutions as technologically update their systems for better efficiency or to increase their IGBT portfolio offer.
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“The IGBT industry will follow power electronics’ growth pattern, mainly caused by the high volume automotive market, especially for the electrification of powertrains in EV/HEV ”, asserts Dr Ana Villamor, Technology & Market Analyst, Power Electronics at Yole Développement.
The EV/HEV sector has great growth prospects because it is still an emerging market with tremendous volume potential.
Another big sector for IGBT is clearly motor drives, which keep on growing, thanks to aggressive regulation targets. Yole Développement forecasts a 4.6% CAGR for motor drives from 2016 to 2022. Photovoltaics and wind are very dynamic markets with growth from huge installations being installed during the last few years. It is worth to say that China led the solar panel implementation in 2016, with an impressive 35 GW installed.
“There will be applications for SiC which will impact the IGBT market, for example it is highly possible that it will take over the automotive market”, comments Dr Ana Villamor. “However, we forecast that IGBTs will keep a significant market share in the power electronics industry and will not be replaced completely.”
In fact, even if the IGBT has almost reached its technological limit, new designs and new materials can still be used to improve system performance to overcome the WBG devices arrival. In coming years, there will be new IGBT designs from Infineon, Fuji or ABB coming into the market. Packages are being improved by different manufacturers to decrease parasitics and improve system efficiency. A clear example is the introduction of the embedded techniques for discrete IGBTs and overmolded solutions for IGBT modules to reduce size or increase functional density.
Currently, IGBT manufacturers can have wide voltage ranges in their portfolios, going from 400 V to 6.5k V. The 400 V IGBTs will directly compete with MOSFETs, whereas IGBTs with voltages higher than 600 V will compete with SJ MOSFETs and WBG devices, which exhibit advantages over IGBTs. Lower voltage IGBTs will not be developed since they do not show any advantage compared with MOSFETs.
As IGBTs is a mature technology, the supply chain is well established, with strong partnerships and companies well positioned in each level.
“Therefore, the main IGBT manufacturers that we included in our 2015 report are still in the IGBT best sellers, except ON Semiconductor, which has become one of the top five IGBT vendors after the acquisition of Fairchild at the end of 2016”, explains Dr Ana Villamor. “However, more companies are entering the IGBT market in order to capture added value, like Littelfuse, who just announced the agreement on the acquisition of IXYS Corporation.”