Overview of emerging power management opportunities

September 19, 2010

First, I must thank my friends, Lou Hutter, SVP and GM, Analog Foundry Business Unit, and Aabid Husain, VP of sales and marketing, from Dongbu HiTek Semiconductor, for sharing the presentations made during an EE Times virtual conference on emerging power management opportunities held on Sept. 16.

The conference participants were:
* Stephan Ohr, panel moderator and research director, Analog and Power Semiconductors, Gartner Inc.
* John Pigott, Freescale fellow, and analog IC guru and designer, Freescale Semiconductor.
* Ralf J. Muenster, director strategy and business development, National Semiconductor.
* Wayne Chen, VP for Technology and Operations, Triune Systems.
*  Lou N. Hutter, SVP and GM, Analog Foundry Business Unit, Dongbu HiTek Semiconductor.

Gartner’s Ohr started by indicating Gartner’s position on power management products. The standard analog ICs were a $15.2 billion market globally in 2009. Voltage regulators made up $7,394 billion, amplifiers $2,675 billion, data converters $2,567 billion, other analog $1,331 billion, and interface ICs $1,198 billion, respectively.

Voltage regulators – power management ICs accounted for 48.8 percent of the analog market. Voltage regulators continue to show strongest growth, growing at a CAGR of 11.1 percent for the period 2009-2014.

Power management ICs forecast
The global revenue forecast for power management ICs by market segment is as follows:

Military and aerospace:
This is likely to grow at a CAGR of 3.2 percent during 2009-14.
Industrial/medical: This is likely to grow from $1,118 million in 2009 to $1,779 million in 2014, at a CAGR of 9.7 percent.
Automotive: This is likely to grow from $415 million in 2009 to $622 million in 2014, at a CAGR of 8.4 percent.
Communications: This is likely to grow from $529 million in 2009 to $988 million in 2014, at a CAGR of 13.3 percent.
Wireless: This is likely to grow from $1,353 million in 2009 to $2,149 million in 2014, at a CAGR of 9.7 percent.
Storage: This is likely to grow at a CAGR of 13.3 percent during 2009-14.
Computing: This is likely to grow from $2,114 million in 2009 to $4,013 million in 2014, at a CAGR of 13.7 percent.
Consumer: This is likely to grow from $1,627 million in 2009 to $2,564 million in 2014, at a CAGR of 9.5 percent.

Server and wired communications remain the biggest drivers.

Emergence of BCD technology
Lou Hutter from Dongbu HiTek discussed the technology considerations for emerging power management markets. He focused on the emergence of BCD (Bipolar/CMOS/DMOS) technology.

There are multiple benefits of BCD technology. These include integration of bipolar, CMOS, and DMOS components. It enables the integration of logic, analog control, and power on same die. It also enables high-and low-voltage, and high-and low-power functions on same die. BCD further enables reduced chip count, and improves reliability through fewer package interconnects. It also enables reduced BOM costs.

Emerging markets, such as automotive, solar and energy harvesting, stand to benefit from BCD. Dongbu is offering the 0.18um platform, which boasts of IP portability and more. Dongbu is offering the BD180LV-30V power process (Epi), to be followed by the BD180LV-30V power process (Non-Epi) in 3Q10, the BD180X 40-60V power process in 4Q10, and finally, the HP180 precision analog in 2Q11.

Hutter explained the BD180LV-30V Optimized Power and BD180X – 60V Optimized Power processes. Optional modules in Dongbu Hitek’s BCD technology include Schottky Diode, thick Cu, PLDMOS, NVM, low power CMOS, low noise CMOS, respectively.

Active power management for solar, EVs
Muenster of National Semiconductor, discussed the active power management for solar systems and electric vehicles. According to him, BRIC is set to beat rich nations in energy use by 2030. Energy megatrend will shape the next decade. The energy triangle comprises energy generation, energy storage and energy conservation.

National’s vision in solar includes increasing energy efficiency. Innovation in power electronics can now improve energy output of solar arrays. Muenster also gave an example of how SolarMagic technology works. SolarMagic power optimizer maximizes the effectiveness of solar panels under variable light conditions.

Energy storage is required for high penetration of alternative energy sources. The number of HEVs, PHEVs and EVs produced is likely to double by 2013. The semiconductor content in EVs is also expected to be 10X.

Innovative IC technologies provide solutions to the challenges of increased global energy demand and environmental protection.

Semicon needs for HEV battery management
John Pigott of Freescale touched upon the semiconductor requirements for HEV battery management. He also presented an overview of tthe HV battery management requirements hierarchy.

Pigott highlighted Freescale AMPD automotive. The key proposition is integration (SoC and SIP) with a foundation of mixed-signal power technologies and extensive automotive know-how.

nanoSmart ultra low-power analog
Chen from Triune Systems, highlighted the nanoSmart – the ultra low-power analog. The company focuses on green solutions in low power.

Enormous energy is lost every second due to power management in electronic systems. Also, an estimated 5-15 percent of global household power consumption is standby power loss. Innovation is necessary in this space.

The key is to create a near lossless power system that can efficiently manage and store small levels of energy scavenged from the environment over time, and then deliver a reliable energy source, when needed.

He added that Triune’s nanoSmart technology, patent pending, is currently sampling and is under evaluation with customers.

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