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Dynamic trends sustain China transformers market

Posted: 30 Mar 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:China transformers market? transformer? R&D? consumer electronics? automotive?

Transformer suppliers from China are underscoring high frequency, power consumption and dissipation, and overall performance reliability to match the requirements of features-rich devices. Many are exploring more compact models to ride the miniaturization trend in the consumer electronics sector.

Although traditional configurations dominate output because of wide adoption, new types are emerging under efforts to broaden application and market base. These include planar, chip and thin-film variants, with the first leading the way.

The trend for smaller, more lightweight and low-profile components continues to gain steam amid similar developments in application products. In transformers, designs necessitate more than a physical modification to fit into high-density assemblies adopted in increasingly compact and features-rich electronics. There are also technical challenges to meet high frequency and low power consumption requirements in devices, the last addressing both safety and environmental protection concerns. For this reason, makers are exploring new materials and structures.

Also, for export-oriented companies, more intense R&D efforts will be conducted this year geared toward achieving low standby power dissipation. This is in compliance with the Directive 2005/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. The regulation details environment-friendly levels for standby and off-mode power consumption of electrical and electronic household and office equipment. For most of the latter type, the mandatory requirement is 1W by 2010 and 0.5W by 2013.

All these developments are expected to translate into 15 percent y-on-y growth in 2010 that will solidify the country's status as the world's largest transformer manufacturing base. A basic input in a range of electronic devices, the product is expected to deliver $5.6 billion in overall sales this year, with nearly $2 billion from exports. The total output is forecast to touch 5 billion units.

Even in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the sector held out, achieving an estimated $4.9 billion in revenue from 4.3 billion units made in 2009. Overseas shipments contributed $1.7 billion. Farther back in 2008 when the economic slowdown began, the industry posted a more than 15 percent increase, or a total of $4.3 billion in transactions with approximately $1.5 billion from abroad. The global market value was about $10 billion at the time, or almost 8 percent of the entire components segment.

The main industry drivers in 2008 were the power supply, consumer electronics, information technology, automotive and communications sectors. While these remained strong applications through 2009, rising requirements in energy-saving lamps, HDTVs, LCD monitors and portable devices are setting a new direction for the line.

Besides assured demand, makers in China continue to benefit from the segment's highly labor-intensive and customized manufacturing. Varying specifications and multiple-batch processing render it unsuitable for full automation.

This setup, however, was instrumental in the rapid and solid development of the local industry during the last decade. For one, the low manpower cost attracted many overseas enterprises to shift production activities to the country swelling the supplier pool further.

At present, there are more than 3,000 makers of transformers in China, according to the China Electronic Components Association. Half of them are foreign-invested operations, 30 percent local private and the rest state-owned. Only 35 percent of total output is exported, and the bulk absorbed domestically. The main overseas markets are Europe, North America and Southeast Asia. Since the financial crisis, makers have been boosting presence in the third destination. They are also looking to explore the Middle East, Russia and India.

Published with permission from Electronic Components. Read full article here.

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