Over Five Billion Digital Controller ICs Sold; Market is Adolescent

May 11, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

Digital power conversion is entering its third generation, and sales of digital controller ICs have achieved a significant milestone with cumulative shipments exceeding five billion units by 2010. As a result of the introduction of the new third-generation controller ICs, the digital landscape will be recast in 2009.

Darnell’s just-released, third-edition analysis of "Digital Power Electronics: Market Trends, Power Architectures and Commercial Adoption" details the numerous product, pricing and application trends that are driving this market into the next stage of accelerating growth. Darnell has been following digital power even before the first generation. Now that digital power is entering its third-generation, Darnell has released its third-edition analysis. Digital Power is now a teenager.

"The digital power market is being driven by a growing number of factors including: enabling new power architectures through digital control techniques; the migration of digital control into nearly all application segments; the adoption of digital control in high-volume and cost-sensitive consumer devices; the realization of adaptive control techniques in cost-effective controllers; the shift from predictive to proactive real-time power systems diagnostics with digital power; and neural-based digital controller chips that will result in power supplies that can ’learn’ and improve their performance over time," stated Linnea Brush, senior research analyst with Darnell.

What does this mean for power supply and digital controller IC companies? First, the digital power management and control market is not only alive, it is just entering its adolescence. Its biggest growth spurts are immediately ahead, and maturity is still years away. "This is always an exciting time for any market, since the groundwork has already been established and companies don’t have to ’make a case’ for the technology anymore. Even though the major players are established, the way is now opened for companies to differentiate themselves in specific application segments and product lines," Brush concluded.

Digital power management and control is on the cusp of widespread implementation, and despite a slower economy, the technology developments are not only likely to continue, but are likely to enable the very efficiencies and cost-effectiveness that customers are looking for. The next couple of years should see the emergence of an even more-established market for digital control products.

Like switch-mode regulation, digital control is not a limited technology. It has applications in embedded and external ac-dc power supplies, isolated and non-isolated dc-dc converters, telecom rectifiers, and lighting ballasts. Most importantly, digital has penetrated nearly all application segments, from high-performance computing to high-volume consumer products.

Darnell Group’s third-edition report on "Digital Power Electronics: Market Trends, Power Architectures and Commercial Adoption" is offered in PDF format and is available for immediate delivery. Details are on line here .