Digital power ICs entering growth phase, researcher saysMUNICH, Germany The market for digital power management devices is facing rapid differentiation with high growth at the same time, says market research company Darnell group.
In the years between 2009 and 2014, sales of digital power management chips will grow at an average speed of 19.8 percent annually. By 2014, the sales volume will have been swollen to 12.3 billion units, up from just over 5 billion units in 2009. This adds up to a total growth of almost 150 percent over five years.
According to Darnell Senior Analyst Linnea Brush, the market has started to differentiate already in 2005, and the speed of differentiation is going to drastically increase over the years to come. While earlier the differentiation took place between IC types, in the years ahead the market will alter the mix more quickly to form a very diversified market, embracing the spectrum from internal ac-dc and embedded ac-dc power supplies to dc-dc modules, embedded dc-dc converters, telecom rectifiers, external dc-dc converters, lighting ballasts and inverters.
The current 'pervasive emphasis on energy efficiency', as Brush puts it, is about to push digital power management from its current home base in high-performance applications to mainstream markets and applications. "Digital control is now implemented in just about all application segments, from catalog power supplies to medical, solid-state lighting and consumer devices," she said.
However, despite the fact that advanced power management approaches such as adaptive controllers, parameter estimation and other sophisticated control algorithms are cheaply and easily to implement, it remains unclear when digital power management really will become the mainstream technology. Before this can happen, ingredients such as availability, standardization, longevity and others have to be added to the picture. And there is a perception problem in the engineers' head: They still seem to believe that 'digital' is associated with additional costs compared to bread-and-butter analog technologies. Against the background of these soft factors, Brush can predict the start of the 'mainstream' phase for digital power technologies only in a relatively wide range: Sometime between 2015 and 2018 this will be the case, she says.