Benefiting from market demand for new energy vehicles and industrial control, power semiconductors will usher in blowouts

By ROHM Semiconductor


Benefiting from the large increase in market demand for new energy vehicles and industrial control, power semiconductor products such as MOSFETs and IGBTs continued to be out of stock and price hikes, driving the scale of China's power semiconductor market to increase by 12.76% in 2018, reaching RMB 259.1 billion.

According to the analysis from TrendForce, as a demand-driven industry, power semiconductors continue to rise in 2019. Although there are still adverse factors such as trade wars, they are less affected by demand than other IC products. It is estimated that the size of China's power semiconductor market will reach RMB 290.7 billion in 2019, an increase of 12.17% compared with 2018.

The eye-catching Chinese market reflects to a large extent the state of the global power semiconductor market: strong growth and overall improvement.

According to WSTS statistics, the global discrete device market reached US$23.1 billion in 2018, an increase of 7.4% from 2017. Benefiting from the emergence of emerging applications in the industrial, new energy automotive, communications and consumer electronics sectors, the power semiconductor market will continue to expand.

In the first quarter of 2019, power semiconductors still maintained a high degree of prosperity. Under the demand of new energy applications (electric vehicles, photovoltaics, wind power), inverter appliances, and Internet of Things devices, power semiconductors showed a good trend in the off-season. Chang Electronics' market market report for Q1 in 2019, the product delivery time of MOSFET and IGBT is still generally more than 30 weeks, and the price has been raised. In terms of high and low voltage MOSFETs and IGBTs, Infineon has the longest delivery period of 39 to 52 weeks, and the supply shortage is still severe.

It is estimated that by 2022, the global power semiconductor market will reach 42.6 billion US dollars. Infineon ranks first with a market share of 12%. With their technology and brand advantages, Occidental and Japanese manufacturers account for 70% of the global power semiconductor device market.

Below, we look at the hot situation of the global power semiconductor market from the application and new process technologies.

Automotive applications are the first traction

At the application level, cars are the biggest driver of the future development of power semiconductors.

In the past five years, global automobile production has increased from 82.13 million in 2012 to 97.04 million in 2017. According to China Information Industry Network, from 2018 to 2022, the annual average annual growth rate of global automobile sales is about 3.2. %, global car sales are expected to increase to 114 million units in 2022.

In the next few years, the sales growth of electric vehicles is expected to exceed 50%. According to EV sales statistics, global electric vehicle sales in 2017 exceeded 1.22 million units, an increase of 58% year-on-year. In 2018, the sales volume of electric vehicles increased significantly. From January to April, the global electric vehicle sales reached 435,500 units, an increase of 68.18% compared with the same period in 2017. The sales volume showed an accelerated growth trend.

Power semiconductors are mainly used in systems such as power control, lighting, fuel injection, and chassis safety.

Most of the new semiconductors used in new energy vehicles are power semiconductors. In traditional cars, power semiconductors are mainly used in startup, power generation, safety and other fields, accounting for 20% of the total number of traditional automotive semiconductors, and the value of bicycles is about 60 US dollars.

Since new energy vehicles generally use high-voltage circuits, when the battery outputs a high voltage, frequent voltage conversion is required. At this time, the amount of voltage conversion circuit (DC-DC) is greatly increased. In addition, a large number of DC-AC inverters and transformers are required. Demand for semiconductor devices such as IGBTs, MOSFETs, and diodes has also increased significantly. These have greatly increased the demand for power devices in automotive electronic systems.

According to McKinsey's statistics, the cost of semiconductors for pure electric vehicles is $704, which is double the $350 of conventional cars. The cost of power devices is as high as $387, or 55%. Compared with the new semiconductor cost of traditional electric vehicles, the cost of power devices is about 269 US dollars, accounting for 76% of the new cost.

Market structure

In today's power semiconductor market, mainland China and Taiwan are mainly concentrated in low-end power devices such as diodes and low-voltage MOSFETs; high-end devices such as IGBTs and medium-high voltage MOSFETs are mainly occupied by European and American manufacturers.

In the field of power semiconductors for new energy vehicles, European and American manufacturers are three-legged. European manufacturers mainly include Infineon, STMicroelectronics, Bosch, NXP, etc.; US manufacturers mainly include Texas Instruments, ON Semiconductor, Vishay Semiconductor, etc.; Japanese manufacturers mainly include Toshiba, Mitsubishi Electric, Renesas, Roma Semiconductor Wait.

semiconductor

From the ranking of automotive power semiconductor manufacturers, data from strategy analytics shows that Infineon ranks first with 25.6% market share, STMicroelectronics ranks second with 13.4%, and Bosch 9.2% ranks third, NXP 8.8 % ranked fourth, followed by Texas Instruments, with a market share of 8.2%.

As the power semiconductor industry leader, Infineon recently acquired Cypress, which is the automotive semiconductor market, which makes Infineon stronger in the automotive semiconductor market.

In China, thanks to the policy of domestic substitution and the situation of out-of-stock price increase, many Chinese local power semiconductor manufacturers achieved remarkable results in 2018 and expanded their layout. Among them, BYD Microelectronics has a rapid rise in the automotive IGBT market due to its advantages in terminal, and has achieved a market share of more than 20% in the IGBT market for the Chinese vehicle. It has become the top three IGBT supplier in China. In addition, MOSFET manufacturers Huawei Electronics and Yangjie Technology's revenue increased significantly, and gradually introduced into the IGBT market.

Silan Microelectronics' 2018 financial report shows that the annual revenue was 3.026 billion yuan, an increase of 10.36% over the same period of 2017; the net profit attributable to shareholders of listed companies was 170 million yuan. Although this overall financial report has been questioned by the industry, the performance of its power semiconductors is indeed impressive. Its power device products revenue was 1.475 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 28.65%. Among Silan's micropower devices, low-voltage MOSFETs, super-junction MOSFETs, IGBTs, IGBT high-power modules (PIMs), and fast recovery tubes have grown rapidly. Most of these products can be used in cars.

In addition, the performance of Taiwan's shares in the power semiconductor market is stable. In the first quarter of 2019, the proportion of high-end products and high-margin products of the company's power semiconductors increased, and the revenue and net profit of the semiconductor sector increased compared with the same period of last year.

In terms of Sino-foreign cooperation, China's domestic market is also a frequent action.

In March 2018, SAIC and Infineon established a joint venture, SAIC Infineon Semiconductor, with SAIC holding 51% and Infineon holding 49%.

It is reported that SAIC Infineon Semiconductor focuses on IGBT module packaging business, aiming to serve SAIC and other domestic new energy auto manufacturers. The first phase of the project will invest 1.6 billion yuan, and it is expected to achieve 1 million sets of annual production capacity in the next 2-3 years.

In addition, not long ago, Wingtech has acquired the controlling stake in Anshi Semiconductor, which originated from NXP's standard products business and has a deep accumulation in the field of automotive power semiconductor devices. It has two fabs (6 inches, 8 Inch) and three-seat testing and testing plant, with sales of more than 1.3 billion US dollars in 2017, more than 50% of the company's products are used in the automotive field. According to the plan, Anshi Semiconductor is expected to expand its production in mainland China in the future. This can be said to be China. The development of the local automotive power semiconductor industry has taken a shot in the arm.

Strong IGBT growth

Power semiconductors are the second largest core component of electric vehicles, second only to batteries. The power generation and transmission process of new energy electric vehicles is quite different from that of gasoline engines, and frequent voltage conversion and DC-AC conversion are required. Coupled with the high demand for endurance mileage of pure electric vehicles, the demand for power management is more refined, and the demand for power discrete devices such as IGBTs, MOSFETs, and diodes is much higher than that of conventional vehicles. As an emerging power device, IGBT will explode under the driving of automobile demand.

With the popularity of new energy vehicles, IGBTs have received extensive attention as important power devices. IGBT modules play a vital role in electric vehicles and are the core components of electric vehicles and charging piles. Statistics show that IGBT modules account for nearly 10% of the cost of electric vehicles, accounting for about 20% of the cost of charging piles.

IGBTs are widely used in automotive motor control systems. Currently, dozens of IGBTs are required for automotive motor control systems. Taking Tesla as an example, Tesla's three-phase AC asynchronous motor uses 28 IGBTs per phase. A total of 84 IGBTs are used. In addition to the IGBTs in other parts of the motor, Tesla uses a total of 96 IGBTs. The two motors also add 36 of the front motors). According to the price of 4~5 USD/piece, the value of the dual-motor IGBT is about 650 US dollars.

The use of semiconductor components in automobiles has doubled, while power semiconductors consume a large amount of silicon. Under normal circumstances, an 8-inch silicon wafer can only cut 70 to 80 IGBT chips. At present, electric vehicles are still in the early stage of industrialization with low penetration rate, and there is a large room for growth in demand for automotive semiconductors, which will drive the wafer industry into a long-term and sustained supply and demand tension.

For example, in a pure electric vehicle, a tesla model x car needs to use 84 IGBTs. In this way, basically one car will consume a piece of silicon. The power semiconductors used in hybrid vehicles are relatively small. Taking the BMW i3 as an example, the power semiconductor wafer consumption of a single car is about 1/4.

Let's take a look at the vehicle power module (currently the mainstream is IGBT), which determines the key performance of the vehicle's electric drive system, and accounts for more than 40% of the cost of the motor inverter. It is the core component.

IGBTs account for about one-third of the cost of motor drives, while motor drives account for about 15-20% of the cost of a complete vehicle. That is, IGBTs account for 5 to 7% of the cost of a complete vehicle. In 2018, if China's new energy vehicle sales are calculated at 1.25 million units, an average of about $450 IGBTs per vehicle will be consumed. All vehicles will consume about 560 million US dollars of IGBTs.

At the technical level, IGBT chips have undergone a series of iterative processes, ranging from PT to NPT to FS upgrades, which have thinned the chip, reduced thermal resistance, and improved Tj; the introduction of IEGT, CSTBT and MPT, The Vce is continuously reduced and the power density is increased; the surface metal and passivation layer are optimized to meet the high reliability requirements of the vehicle.

IGBT

In addition to the technical aspects, IGBTs are also innovative in their structure, such as the emergence of RC-IGBTs and the integration of FWD and IGBTs. In addition, there are also integrated functions such as integrated current and temperature sensors.

New process technology drives power semiconductors to accelerate

The above talks about the important role of automotive applications in the development of power semiconductors. Let's look at the driving force of new technology.

Traditional power semiconductors use MOS technology, and the main components are MOSFETs and IGBTs. The emerging SiC and GaN, as well as the latest gallium oxide technology, are adding new impetus to the development of power semiconductors.

Many companies are developing SiC MOSFETs. Leading companies include Wolfspeed from Cree, SiCrystal in Germany, ROHM in Japan, and Nippon Steel. There are fewer players entering the GaN market and starting late.

The market for SiC's power electronics was officially formed in 2016, with a market size of between 210 million and 240 million US dollars. According to Yole, the size of the SiC market will rise to 550 million US dollars in 2021, and the compound annual growth rate during this period is expected to reach 19%.

At present, more than 30 companies worldwide have the ability to produce, design, manufacture and sell SiC and GaN related products in the power electronics field.

SiC in the low-voltage field, such as high-end white goods, electric vehicles, etc., due to cost factors, gradually lost competitiveness. But in high-voltage fields, such as high-speed trains, wind power, and smart grids, SiC has an irreplaceable advantage.

The global SiC industry pattern has shown the three pillars of the United States, Europe and Japan. Among them, the United States is the world's largest, and is in a leading position, accounting for 70% to 80% of global SiC production; Europe has a complete SiC substrate, epitaxy, device and application industry chain, and has a strong voice in the global power electronics market; Japan It is the absolute leader in device and module development.

Chinese market performance

We are accustomed to refer to SiC and GaN as third-generation semiconductor technologies. China's research work on SiC and GaN materials and devices is relatively late, and its level is lower compared with foreign countries, and its innovation capability is still insufficient.

Although backward, China is also actively promoting. The state and local governments have successively launched policies and industrial support funds to develop the third-generation semiconductor industry: local policies were introduced in 2016, and 27 regions including Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Beijing, and Qinghai were introduced. Nearly 30 third-generation semiconductor related policies (excluding LEDs). On the one hand, many third-party semiconductors have been written into the “13th Five-Year Plan”. On the other hand, many local governments have targeted the support of SiC and GaN materials companies with certain advantages.

In terms of Chinese companies, Sanan Optoelectronics, which has accumulated a lot in the field of LED chips, has invested 33 billion yuan in research and development of third-generation semiconductor materials.

In addition to Sanan Optoelectronics, Yangjie Technology, National Technology, Hite High-tech and other listed companies have begun to lay out the third-generation semiconductor business.

Yang Jie Technology has revealed that its SiC chip technology has reached the domestic leading level. Hite High-tech began construction of a 6-inch second-generation/third-generation integrated circuit production line through its subsidiary, Haiwei Huaxin. CRRC Times Electric (China CRRC) is a domestic leader in high-power SiC devices. National technology has also begun to lay out this field. Its wholly-owned subsidiary, Shenzhen Qianhai National Corporation and Chengdu Bengbu Municipal People's Government signed the “Investment Agreement for Compound Semiconductor Eco-Industrial Park Project” to develop the third-generation semiconductor epitaxial wafer.

In addition, China Resources Huajing Microelectronics and Huahong Hongli are also representative companies for the development of third-generation semiconductor materials.

Gallium oxide

SiC and GaN are not the latest technologies. With a wider band gap than SiC and GaN, gallium oxide (Ga2O3) has entered the field of vision. This compound semiconductor has unique advantages in higher power applications. Therefore, research on gallium oxide has heated up in recent years.

In fact, gallium oxide is not a very new technology. Many years ago, companies and research institutes have studied their applications in the field of power semiconductors. However, in terms of practical applications, the past is not as widely used as SiC and GaN. The limelight of related research and development work was robbed by the latter two. With the development of application requirements becoming more and more clear, the performance requirements for high-power devices are getting higher and higher in the future, which makes people more deeply see the advantages and prospects of gallium oxide, and the corresponding research and development work has become more and more, and has become the United States. Research hotspots and competition priorities in countries such as Japan and Germany. China is still relatively lacking in this regard.

Gallium Oxide is a wide bandgap semiconductor with a forbidden band width of Eg=4.9eV, which has good electrical conductivity and luminescent properties. Therefore, it has broad application prospects in optoelectronic devices and is used as an insulating layer for Ga-based semiconductor materials. , as well as UV filters. These are the traditional applications of gallium oxide, and its future power, especially high-power applications, is more worth looking forward to.

Although gallium oxide has poor thermal conductivity, its forbidden band width (4.9 eV) exceeds that of silicon carbide (about 3.4 eV), gallium nitride (about 3.3 eV), and silicon (1.1 eV). Since the forbidden band width measures the energy required to bring an electron into a conducting state. Systems made of wide bandgap materials can be thinner and lighter than systems made of narrower bandgap materials, and can handle higher power, and it is expected to produce high-voltage and low-loss power components at low cost. In addition, wide band gaps allow operation at higher temperatures, reducing the need for bulky cooling systems.

Gallium oxide is an emerging power semiconductor material with a band gap greater than that of silicon, SiC and GaN, and its advantages in high power applications are becoming more apparent. However, gallium oxide does not replace SiC and GaN, and is more likely to play a role in extending the power and voltage range available for ultra-wide bandgap systems. Perhaps the most promising applications are high-voltage rectifiers in power conditioning and distribution systems, such as electric vehicles and photovoltaic solar systems.

Conclusion

From the perspective of global IC market conditions, power semiconductors have become the most promising category of global IC products in the next few years, and have received more and more attention from many countries. Under the two-wheel drive of automotive applications and new process technology, its strong development momentum and prospects are worth looking forward to.

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