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Inverter Technology Trends & Market Expectations

NEW YORK April 24, 2012

Inverter Technology Trends & Market Expectations–Market-Expectations.html#utm_source=prnewswire&utm_medium=pr&utm_campaign=Electronic_Component_and_Semiconductor

$44 billion

$44 billion $55 billion $1.64 billion $150 million

Last but not least, passive components and connectivity solutions such as power connectors and busbars will also represent a huge market.

$2.7 Billion

Semiconductor Technological developments to enhance inverter performance

The heart of developments clearly come from the evolution of semiconductor devices! These developments, mostly oriented by device performance also have an impact on other parts of modules and inverters: power packaging, system size reduction, performance, passive and connectivity solutions.

This report shows, however, that SiC and GaN-based switches are not ready yet to penetrate the market in high volume: indeed, technology still needs improvements and cost reduction. Yole believes that mass adoption will not come before 2015. In addition, compound semiconductors will still compete with silicon based technologies such as (fast) IGBTs and Super Junction MOSFETs, specially driven by new inverter architectures like NPC at the power modules level.

Power packaging: important developments from application & material standpoints

In order to illustrate advantages of new semiconductor devices, this report will provide a clear understanding of power module packaging evolution. Today, semiconductor manufacturers, power module makers and system integrators are looking for: more reliable interconnections, materials which withstand higher working temperature, and ways to remove or reduce cooling system size. Indeed, due to the higher switching frequencies and heat coming from external sources (external motors, high ambient temperature) semiconductor dies are getting closer to the heat dissipation system. This also means die attach materials are being investigated in order to maintain strong connection between the DBC and the semiconductor device. Copper wire bonds or Aluminum ribbon bonds are preferred to standard Aluminum technologies (which still represent 90% of the market), since they also support harsh working conditions. Another track for interconnection is foil-based solutions, which enable power module volume reduction, higher reliability to vibrations, connection of SMDs or other devices on top of the module and adoption of double sided cooling systems.

Of course, all these efforts are done because of entry of new semiconductor materials, but they are also done to fit with application requirements. This report highlights the drivers’ priority by application: today, some cost driven applications such as motor drives or UPS are not ready to implement those new types of modules because added cost of it is too important for the overall system. In parallel, PV inverters, trains or electric and hybrid vehicles are the key drivers for power packaging research.

Out of the standard material suppliers for the electronics industry, three types of power electronics companies are likely to work on R&D for power packaging:

Semiconductor device and module makers, such as Infineon, Toshiba or Mitsubishi

Power module makers like Semikron, GE Global Research or Starpower

Inverter manufacturers like DENSO, Yaskawa, Alstom or BYD.

ASIA Europe North America

Power electronics now implies working with a broad spectrum of knowledge and know-how: mechanical, electrical, semiconductor, fluidics, hydraulics, connectors… Therefore, developments can be complicated and final products can be expensive.

As a consequence, we have observed and analyzed in this report the two main trends coming from the power electronics industry, which actually depends on the players locations:

Japanese and Chinese players, especially from system makers tend to go downstream and master the manufacturing processes of each sub-system and component. In the case of Japanese companies, this tendency is mostly driven by cost reduction and absorption of intermediary margins, whereas Chinese companies want to access the technology and show some proof of quality

On the other hand, EU and US players are more diversified, and acquisition of new competencies (such as Mersen, Rogers or Power Integration) or high-end R&D and prototyping services (APEI, Primes, IMEC, GE Global Research) is getting more common.

Compnaies Cited in the Report

Ansaldo Breda Cornell Dubilier Eaton Kawasaki Taiyo Yuden

Who Should Buy This Report?

Silicon and compound semiconductor suppliers

Semiconductor equipment suppliers

Power device and module makers

Passive device manufacturers (resistors, capacitors) and connectivity solution providers (connectors and busbars)

Inverter makers and end system integrators

R&D laboratories for power electronics purposes



Glossary p.3

Structure of the report p.4

A two part report

Methodology, limitations and Yole’s proprietary tools

Top-down approach

Why such a report?

Executive summary p.9

Technology briefing p.33


Passive components

Application-oriented analysis p.42

PV inverters p.44

Market metrics (MW, units, revenues)

Technological trends for passives and semiconductors

Supply chain

EV/HEV p.64

Market metrics (units, revenues split by car technology)

Technological trends for passives and semiconductors

Power packaging

Supply chain

Wind turbines p.98

Market metrics (MW, units, revenues)

Technological trends for passives and semiconductors

Supply chain

Rail traction p.118

Market metrics (units, revenues split by train size)

Technological trends for passives and semiconductors

Supply chain

UPS p.139

Market metrics (units, revenues split by power range)

Technology trends for passives and semiconductors

Industrial motor drives p.151

Market metrics (units revenues, split by power range)

Technology trends for passives and semiconductors

Analysis and global market forecasts p.162

Compiled market forecasts p.164


Power modules (split by application and technology)





Market drivers and application specificities p.181

Inverter architecture trends p.188

Technical trends

Price density

Power density

Implementation of SiC and GaN materials in power electronics p.200

Passive components, packaging and connectivity evolution p.205

Supply chain p.226

Vertical integration


Global perspectives p.238

General conclusions p.243

To order this report:

Electronic Component and Semiconductor Industry : Inverter Technology Trends & Market Expectations

Market Research Report

Industry Analysis and Insights

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SOURCE Reportlinker

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