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Global IGBT Shortage: Cause & Future Outlook

Jul 05, 2023      View: 788

Introduction

While the semiconductor industry is busy addressing inventory issues, IGBT stands out. With soaring demand, the "heart of power devices," IGBT, is not only experiencing skyrocketing prices but also facing an unprecedented supply shortage. According to reports, the IGBT supply shortage is expected to persist until mid-2024. As a result, domestic manufacturers are actively seeking new capacity expansions.

 

IGBT boasts excellent performance in high frequency, high voltage, high current, and easy switching. Its role in accelerating electric vehicles has enabled them to surpass their fuel-powered counterparts. Since last year, the supply of IGBT has remained tight, with no signs of easing. Despite domestic manufacturers' urgent efforts to increase production, the construction cycle for new production lines generally takes two years or more. It is projected that the IGBT supply shortage will be challenging to resolve before 2025.

 

Why Will IGBTs Be Shortage? (Cause)

Generally speaking, the shortage of IGBTS can be attributed to many factors, including demand, supply, and other uncertainties. Taking these factors into account, the IGBT shortage is expected to persist as the industry expands capacity and addresses supply chain challenges to meet rising demand. Let's take a closer look at the main reasons why this shortage is inevitable.

 

Increased Demand: Due to the continued development of industries such as electric vehicles, renewable energy systems, industrial automation, and consumer electronics, the demand for IGBTs has increased accordingly, resulting in a shortage of IGBT supplies.

Supply Chain Disruption: The semiconductor industry has been facing ongoing disruptions in the global supply chain. Factors such as natural disasters, geopolitical tensions, trade restrictions and the COVID-19 pandemic create manufacturing and logistics challenges. These disruptions have caused delays, reduced capacity and restricted raw material supplies, impacting the overall supply of IGBTs.

Limited Capacity: The production capacity of IGBTs is limited, and it takes time and a lot of investment to expand the manufacturing capacity. Setting up new production lines, purchasing specialized equipment and training technicians all require significant resources and time. The lead time to ramp up production can be years, leading to a shortage of supplies.

Complex Manufacturing Process: The manufacturing process of IGBTs is very complex and requires precision and strict quality control measures. Any disruption or issue in the manufacturing process could result in lost yields and reduce the overall supply of IGBTs.

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Will the IGBT Shortage Persist? (Future Outlook)

Impact of Tesla

Tesla’s announcement to cut silicon carbide use in electric vehicles by 75% may increase demand for alternative solutions such as IGBTs. Many automakers are cooperating with companies such as Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric to develop new solutions, which may further increase the application of silicon-based IGBTs.

 

The impact of electric vehicles on IGBT

Electric vehicles usually use hundreds of IGBTs, 7 to 10 times more than traditional fuel vehicles. Therefore, the widespread adoption of electric vehicles further increases the demand for IGBTs.

 

Domestic manufacturers

Domestic manufacturers such as Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric and BYD have observed strong demand for IGBTs, and many important customers have signed three-year contracts to ensure supply. These companies urgently need to increase IGBT capacity to meet market demand, and some automakers are also cooperating with these companies to develop new solutions, which may increase the demand for silicon-based IGBTs.

 

International Competition Situation

European, American and Japanese manufacturers have strong financial strength, leading technology and rich industry experience in the global power semiconductor market, occupying most of the market share. In contrast, domestic manufacturers have a relatively low market share in the global market, and the localization rate is less than 20%. However, the update iteration of IGBT products is relatively slow, which provides opportunities for local manufacturers to catch up in technology.

 

Chinese manufacturers

From 2021 to 2023, the expansion of IGBT production will be led by Chinese manufacturers. They will take advantage of this opportunity to successfully enter the downstream customer market and gradually increase production capacity and market share by providing low prices, timely customer service and a stable supply chain.

The imbalance between domestic supply and demand may continue until 2025, because the current new production capacity is still unable to meet downstream demand. However, the situation is expected to gradually improve as Chinese manufacturers increase capacity and market share.

 

Final Words

Overall, the reasons for the shortage of IGBTs are mainly related to the supply, demand, manufacturing process, capacity and so on. Domestic manufacturers are trying to improve their market positions by increasing production capacity, offering competitive prices and services, and catching up in technology. While the current supply-demand imbalance may persist, it is expected to improve in the coming years as Chinese manufacturers work hard.

 

IGBTs Distributors

If you are looking for IGBTs, you need to overcome the current IGBT shortage. To ensure product quality, it is recommended that you purchase from a reputable IGBT distributor.

This is where our strength at Nevsemi Electronics lies. We are proud of our solid reputation established in the industry as a reliable IGBT distributor. We source quality IGBT products from top manufacturers to ensure you are getting high quality IGBT products.

If you are interested in purchasing IGBT wholesale in China, you can click here to send an inquiry or contact us, we will do our best to meet your needs and ensure timely delivery.

 

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