07-09-2016 | | By Paul Whytock
The market for industrial semiconductors is predicted to boom and reach a value of €60billion by 2021 according to studies by analysts Semicast Research.
The company says Texas Instruments was the leading vendor of semiconductors to the industrial sector in 2015, ahead of Infineon Technologies. Intel overtook STMicroelectronics to become the third largest vendor following the acquisition of Altera with Renesas Electronics completing the top five.
This research company believes the industrial semiconductor market is particularly difficult to analyse because of the diverse number of industry applications it serves.
It includes traditional areas such as factory automation, motor drives, lighting, building automation, surveillance, test and measurement and power and energy, as well as medical and industrial transportation equipment such as agriculture, construction and mining.
Compared with a total semiconductor market of approximately €330billion, the industrial sector is estimated by Semicast Research to have accounted for about 12% of the overall semiconductor TAM in 2015 which, says the company, is a larger share than the automotive sector.
According to Semicast the industrial sector includes many obscure product categories, such as pressure measurement, proximity sensors and motion detectors, which offer none of the pizazz and desirability of must-have products like smart phones but which nonetheless are manufactured in substantial volumes of tens of millions of units per year and provide a durable and secure revenue source.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been the key focus area for the semiconductor industry for the last five years and it is Semicast’s view that Industrial IoT can be broadly described as intelligence and connectivity being added to ever smaller, distributed, remote industrial devices.
Industrial IoT is not viewed by Semicast as a growth application for industrial semiconductors itself. Instead this intelligence and connectivity is provided by the addition of sub-dollar 32bit microcontrollers coupled with short-range wireless communications ICs based on standards like 6LoWPAN, Bluetooth/BLE, LoRa, NFC, Sub-1/2.4 GHz, Wi-Fi and ZigBee.
Colin Barnden, principal analyst at Semicast Research commented: “These intelligent connected devices generate the little data which has never previously been captured to be processed locally or fed straight to the Cloud for big data analytics, thus creating the Industrial IoT of smart buildings, cities, factories, grid, medical, payment and security.”