Yoshida added, "We intend to gather such information from a broader industry constituency (that goes well beyond chip suppliers) in our open forum at PDEA."
True to the PDEA's founding spirit (with an emphasis on "users" of power devices), an executive from Toyota Technical Development Corp. has become the first chairman of PDEA, according to Yoshida.
Toyota Technical Development Corp. (TTDC) founded in 2006 is essentially a firm that serves as the engineering brains of Toyota Motors Corp.
TTDC provides vehicle design and development services to Toyota, while offering vehicle body, chassis, engine, drive train, hybrid vehicles, fuel cells, electronics, instrumentation systems, IT systems, communication systems, and intellectual property design services. At the PDEA, "We want leading power device users such as TTDC to speak up and share their wish list -- on materials, quality, and supply chain requirements," said Yoshida.
Life and death issues
For power devices and power modules able to meet the high-voltage, high-current requirements, there are no established "testing specifications," for example, Yoshida explained. "We need to put in place a testing procedure, and establish standards and specifications for the way we evaluate power devices, so that users don't have to face testing results that might wildly vary depending on testing equipment."
While these testing procedures are well established for devices used in the consumer electronics market, there is no equivalent for power devices used in vehicles or other high-voltage, high-current infrastructure equipment. "And that could result in... life and death issues," Yoshida cautioned.
The PDEA website makes clear Japanese industry's ambition to lead the global market with home-grown power devices. The PDEA's goal appears to become a third-party catalyst, to fill in the gap in the emerging power devices eco-system.
Although the power module market has been traditionally dominated by Toyota, which manufactures the module internally, there is near-universal involvement among other carmakers and tier-one suppliers in this market. Semiconductor companies are also part of the eco-system and they're moving up the value chain. Infineon, for example, already holds a sizeable market share in the power device pie.
In this light, the PDEA cannot afford to remain an association of Japanese members only. Yoshida agrees. He pointed out that Infineon representatives were invited as speakers in a recent power device seminar.
SiC vs. GaN
Another reason why the power device market is getting hot, with industry associations like PDEA playing a likely role, is that the industry stands at a crossroads -- in terms of its underlying technology for power devices.
As the automotive industry strives to cut the cost of power modules for HEVs and EVs, carmakers, for example, need to weigh two different types of power semiconductors -- SiC and GaN.
SiC Schottky diodes have been around for more than 10 years, with SiC metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFET), junction-gate field-effect transistors (JFET), and bipolar junction transistors (BJT) appearing in recent years. In contrast, GaN power semiconductors are just appearing in the market.
According to HIS's April report:
GaN is a wide bandgap material that offers similar performance benefits to SiC but has greater cost-reduction potential. This price/performance advantage is possible because GaN power devices can be grown on silicon substrates that are larger and lower in cost compared to SiC.
Richard Eden, senior market analyst for power semiconductor discretes and modules at IHS, said in a statement:
The key factor determining market growth will be how quickly GaN-on-silicon (Si) devices can achieve price parity and equivalent performance as silicon MOSFETs, insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBT) or rectifiers. IHS expects this will be achieved in 2019, driving the GaN power market to pass the $1 billion mark in 2022.