Ryan Sanderson, IHS
2013 marked a year of recovery for many power electronic manufacturers following a weak end to 2012 and a global decline. Recovery, however, was slow in the majority of sectors as economic growth, particularly in Europe, remained unstable, keeping spending confidence low at both a consumer and business level. Demand for many industrial applications remained weak and as we head into 2014 there are no early signs of a rapid change. There are, however, a number of key markets which are predicted to provide substantial growth in the year ahead and beyond.
The total AC-DC and DC-DC power supply market for industrial applications declined in 2013 and is forecast to grow by just 1.4% in 2014. In contrast, the market for digital power supplies in industrial applications grew by 50% in 2013 and is predicted to grow by 40% in 2014 as strong adoption and transition to digital power solutions continue. This is projected to drive an additional $40 million in the market for digital power supplies in 2014. A similar market size for digital power ICs in industrial applications is forecast, though with a slightly higher projected annual growth of almost 60%. This includes digital power ICs used in both board level solutions and those used in digital power supplies.
The industrial battery market includes those used in stationary, automotive and motive applications. It was worth $38 billion in total in 2013 and is projected to almost double by 2017. The fastest growing sector is energy and infrastructure, forecast to grow by 50% in 2014 to be worth $2.5 billion. The majority of this growth is predicted to come from increased demand for energy storage, in particular that related to renewable energy and grid stabilization. The proportion of the industrial battery market accounted for by lead-acid batteries remains by far the largest. Growth of 60% is however forecast for lithium-ion batteries in 2014 and the market is projected to grow by a factor of four from 2013 to 2017. This is predicted to drive increased opportunities for battery management solution providers and IC manufacturers.
Wireless power is currently most often associated with the charging of consumer applications, such as mobile phones, typically by inductive technology. The technology can however potentially be used to power/charge any type of electronic device and is finding its way into some niche applications in the industrial sector. Specific applications include the replacement of mechanical slip rings in wind turbines and a number of medical applications which can help to reduce the risk of infection associated with intrusive procedures. The wireless power market is currently in its infancy but one which IHS predicts to grow rapidly to be worth $10 billion in 2023.
As we enter 2014 I wish you a Happy New Year and every success for the year ahead.