IGBT growth: the supply chain is reshaping in anticipation

19th August 2021
Kiera Sowery

The IGBT market, strongly driven by EV/HEVs, will reach $8.4bn by 2026. “With high growth expected for IGBTs, driven mainly by e-mobility, the supply chain is adapting its strategy and investing massively”, asserted Ana Villamor, PhD. Technology & Market Analyst, Power Electronics and Compound Semiconductors at Yole. She added: “IGBT is key for numerous power electronics applications. Strongly pushed by EV/HEVs adoption, at Yole, we announce a 7.5% CAGR from 2020 to 2026 to reach $8.4bn at the end of the period”.

In addition to EV/HEVs, discrete IGBTs and IGBT power modules can be found in applications like industrial motor drives, wind turbines, photovoltaic installations, trains, UPS , EV charging infrastructure and home appliances. In 2020, the largest IGBT market segments were industrial applications and home appliances. They were closely followed by EV/HEVs, which represented a market of $509m in 2020 and which will grow with an impressive 23% CAGR between 2020 and 2026. This is due to the transition from ICE vehicles to EV/HEVs, which is being strongly driven by governments’ targets for CO2 emissions reductions. This transition is further accelerating, due to President Biden’s action plans for the US as well as the recent EU climate initiative in which all new cars registered in Europe from 2035 will be zero-emission. Therefore, the EV/HEV segment share will more than double by 2026.

“Charging infrastructure is also impacted by government decisions as the deployment of chargers is crucial for the expansion of electric vehicle uptake,” explained Abdoulaye Ly, Technology & Market Analyst, Electronic Power Systems at Yole. “Although charging infrastructure is still a small market for IGBTs, it is expected to increase by more than 300% in the coming five years.”

The recently released IGBT Market & Technology Trends report from Yole, contributes to the understanding of the overall ecosystem, its latest innovations and the strategy of leading power electronics companies. Including market trends and forecasts, supply chain, technology trends, technical insights, and market segmentations, take away and outlook. This study delivers an impressive overview of the power electronics industry with a special focus on IGBT market segment.

The main IGBT manufacturers are spread all over the world, with historical big players in Europe, USA and Japan. The largest IGBT manufacturers including Infineon Technologies, Littelfuse, and Fuji Electric offer both discrete IGBTs and IGBT power modules. Large IDMs vertically integrated into systems offer basically IGBT modules. It includes Danfoss, Mitsubishi Electric, and CRRC. Most companies positioned with their products on the lower-voltage range offer also discrete IGBTs.To target the largest IGBT market, all manufacturers offer 600 – 1,200V components, with a new range of products (from 800 to 1,000V). Some manufacturers including Mitsubishi Electric, Toshiba, onsemi, are looking for differentiation from competitors by offering IGBT devices with 'intermediary' nominal voltage levels, such as 1,300V, 1,350V, 2,000V. 

Yole collaborates with its partner System Plus Consulting all year long, to get an accurate and comprehensive vision of the power electronics industry and identify latest innovations. System Plus Consulting also proposes valuable reports related to the IGBT industry. For example, the reverse engineering and costing company released a dedicated analysis focused on silicon IGBT: Si IGBT Comparison 2021. This report is an impressive overview of the key IGBT technologies and includes a detailed comparison of those solutions. It highlights the main differences and common points in device design and manufacturing processes.

Many IGBT players are vertically integrated, especially in device manufacturing and packaging. The growing demand for IGBTs is pushing mergers and acquisitions. The whole supply chain is being reshaped especially with players trying to find the best possible position in the market.

“Companies like Infineon Technologies, Fuji Electric, Mitsubishi Electric, Hitachi, onsemi and Toshiba have been in the IGBT business for many years already, with many products commercialised,” commented Milan Rosina, PhD. Principal Analyst at Yole. He added: “However, it is important to watch the growth of Chinese IGBT manufacturers, which are catching up fast in development, production and in capacity.”

In addition, as 200mm fab capacity for power devices is relatively full, manufacturing on 300mm wafers enables higher device production capacity to meet the needs of the growing IGBT market. It is not surprising that to increase production volumes over next ten years all major players are investing in IGBT manufacturing capacity expansions, as the transition to 300mm wafers enables better cost structures to face growing competition with Chinese manufacturers. However, there are several Chinese players that are also expanding to 300mm by enlarging their own factories like HHGrace and CanSemi, or by acquisitions of foreign companies.

So, what is the status of the IGBT industry today? What could we expect for the future, especially with the EV/HEV boost? What are the technical trends? Who are the companies to watch, and what innovative technologies are they working on? How will the impressive investments decided by the IGBT companies impact this industry and its supply chain? Today analysts present the status of the IGBT industry.

All year long, Yole and System Plus Consulting publish numerous power electronics and compound semiconductor reports. Yole has also developed a dedicated compound semiconductor monitor to get a deep understanding of the market evolution and follow the strategy of leading industrials, quarter by quarter.

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