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Brighter market for digital power supplies, power ICs seen

Posted: 03 May 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:digital power supplies? power IC? server? LED lighting? IT infrastructure?

IHS has announced that the global markets for digital power supplies and digital power ICs are expected to rise from 2013-2017. The reason behind this is the increasing use of the devices in IT infrastructure and technology expansion into lighting and consumer-oriented applications such as PCs, appliances and cell phones, noted the market analytics company.

Global market revenue for digital power supplies will climb to $12.4 billion in 2017, more than three times the $3.7 billion predicted for 2013. Revenue this year will soar 37 per cent from $2.7 billion in 2012. Explosive growth in digital power ICs is also forecast with revenues increasing more than fivefold from 2013 to reach $2.6 billion in 2017, indicated IHS.

"The digital power market is currently one of the fastest-growing segments of the power management industry," said Jonathon Eykyn, power supply and energy storage analyst at IHS. "Early adopters of digital power components include information technology and communications infrastructure applications such as servers and telecommunications/data-communications equipment. But now digital power is also entering the consumer realm, as other sectors adopt digital power solutions."

Manufacturers at present mainly employ analogue power-management systems. However, they are migrating to digital technology because of its flexibility and programmability, which leads to increased performance and reliability. This will reduce hardware complexity, cutting the amount of time and effort to design systems and ultimately lowering the cost of electronic systems.

"Digital power can reduce the overall BoM cost by reducing the number of discrete components, reducing the overall footprint, increasing power density and providing the capability to monitor as well as optimise power levels and system requirements while in operation," Eykyn said. "All this can help accelerate time to market for a range of products."

The market for servers is the largest for digital power, accounting for an expected 33 per cent of market revenue in 2013. This segment will rise at a CAGR of 44.8 per cent from 2012-2017.

The fastest-growing application for digital power will be lighting, with the segment anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 146 per cent from 2012-2017. The increase will be driven by the rising usage of LED lighting solutions, which lend themselves to digital power control and monitoring.

Meanwhile, digital power in notebooks and tablets will rise at 99 and 82 per cent CAGR, respectively, during the same period. Major home appliances will surge by 76 per cent and cell phones will increase by 52 per cent.

One obstacle to even faster adoption of digital power supplies is their perceived expense.

A total of 27 per cent of manufacturers and designers surveyed by IHS indicated that cost is still the largest barrier in the market.

This highlights the lack of knowledge from some potential implementers regarding the overall cost savings that digital solutions can provide, and shows that there is still some way to go in educating designers at electronics manufacturers.

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