Batteries get most of the press, but power electronics (gadgets like inverters, onboard chargers and DC/DC converters) are critical components of all sorts of electrified vehicles as well as high-tech energy solutions. As the electromobility/clean energy sector grows, leading companies in the power electronics field could be poised for major growth.
Lux Research recently released a scorecard of the most prominent players in the power electronics patch. The market research firm rated 12 leading power electronics companies on both their innovation and business execution. For the former, Lux looked at things such as R&D spending, patent portfolios, acquisitions and new products. To assess the latter, it considered factors such as profitability and liquidity.
â€œKey players in the power electronics industry, including Infineon, ABB, Cree, and Rohm, are all looking to capture market share in individual end markets through technology innovation and differentiated market strategies,â€ write Luxâ€™s researchers. â€œSome of this critical innovation includes pushing the limits of siliconâ€™s performance to investing in new material flavors, such as gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC).â€
The best of the breed, according to Lux, is Infineon Technologies (IFNNY:OTCQX), a German semiconductor manufacturer that was spun off from Siemens in 1999.
Lux points out that Infineon has consistently maintained its market share in the face of constant competition, and has released innovative products in silicon (1200 V and 1700 V IGBT modules, 1700 V integrated power modules, 600 V CoolMOS, 650 V trenchtop IGBTs for automotive applications) and in new materials, including SiC and GaN.
Other strong companies in the world according to Lux are NXP, Microsemi, and Rohm. At the bottom of the sector are Renesas, ON Semiconductor and Japanese giant Panasonic, which Lux says has a narrow portfolio of power electronics products with little technology differentiation. Also getting the stinkeye from Lux is the venerable Fairchild Semiconductor, which â€œhas barely managed to stay alive.â€