LONDON – Infineon Technologies AG (Munich, Germany) was the leading vendor of semiconductors to the industrial sector in a market that was worth $32.3 billion in 2012, unchanged from 2011, according to Semicast Research (Waterlooville, England).
Infineon's lead over second-placed Texas Instruments was cut to just a few tenths of a percentage point. Both companies maintained a clear lead over the next largest vendors, STMicroelectronics and Renesas Electronics, with Analog Devices completing the top five.
Semicast's definition of the industrial sector includes medical electronics and heavy transport — plant machinery, heavy truck and bus – but excludes military and aerospace electronics and marine communications.
The industrial chip market, which enjoys long-term steady growth compared with some sectors, has been larger than the automotive chip market since 2008 and is continuing to rise in importance, Semicast said.
Industrial applications lean on analog ICs, microcontrollers and power semiconductors and these three product categories account for almost two-thirds of semiconductor revenues in the industrial sector.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.