In Indian semiconductor market, the share of power semiconductor ICs is slightly high compared to any other leading semiconductor-consuming regions. Power ICs such as switching regulators/controllers, linear regulators, and discrete power semiconductor devices lists more in the bill of materials of Indian electronics-hardware design and manufacturing companies compared to advanced SoC-class highly-integrated logic chips. One of the leading analog semiconductor vendor ST Microelectronics is the 3rd largest supplier of semiconductor chips in India. ST Microelectronics is solidly footed in Indian power semiconductor market. ST India's Sapna Mongia, Product Marketing Manager - India, Microcontroller, Analog and Power Division and Mohd Zeya, Technical Marketing Manager (APM) answers to the queries on ST's position in Indian semiconductor market.
Q1. How important is the power IC market for ST Microelectronics in India?
ST Micro: The power market has been always very strategic for our company in India. It's a business with an impressive growth where we invested a lot and where we'll continue to invest. The blend of innovation and manufacturing capacity together with our ability to control the complete supply chain have been two fundamental reasons for our success in this field.
ST's power devices are being used by all leading customers in India. ST is the preferred brand in the markets of industrial, consumer and automotive applications. ST Power portfolio includes Power MOSFETs, Power bipolar transistors, IGBT, TRIACs, SCR, Protection, Rectifiers, IPAD, Drivers (MOS/IGBT/ Lighting/PFC/ Motor), Integrated single switch power IC (Driver + power stage), CCCV converters, Automotive ignition devices (IGBT/SCR).
Q2. What is the level of preference shown by Indian customers for ST's power ICs?
ST Micro: We have leadership in most of the power product categories in India. In India, designers & procurement mainly consider ST as their key supplier and our power offerings as a 1st source has given the competitive edge. Our products bring a great value to their system in terms of increasing system efficiency, improving their standby consumption and moving to higher densities with smaller formfactors. We also provide the necessary support & tools to facilitate optimum implementation of ST products through easily available reference demoboards, online simulation softwares and an easy online access to information and local application experts. This has helped designers cut short their design cycles and allow them to release breakthrough applications through the help of ST advanced features.
Q3. Are there any particular product categories where ST is well known in India?
ST Micro: Our latest power product offerings like MDMeshV 650V Superjunction MOSFETSs, full resonant controllers and silicon carbide schottkys has definitely received world-wide appreciation, but at the same time is now gaining ground- spreading quickly to India power platforms. Some, like Viperplus even proved to be a big hit or an ovenight success due to its unparalleled performance. Some important product families being used extensively by our customers are the VIPERxx family (Power supply integrated chip) for the general power supply market and low voltage Power MOSFET catering the UPS/Inverter segment. In Power Bipolar, High Voltage devices fit for lighting ,deflection ,power supply and general purpose applications, our IGBT's are used for the inductive ignition in automotive applications. For all the products range mentioned above ST have the best brand image.
Q4. How does your product portfolio address opportunities created by the newly announced solar mission by Govt. of India?
ST Micro: ST is putting focus on the solar mission and is working internally to provide solutions for both solar inverters starting with the panel and the inverter section. For this, we are in touch with various govt. bodies and customers to be ready with our offering. The efficiency of the panel is the most important thing and we offer to market innovative distributed MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) solutions which could be used directly with the panel and gives better efficiency than the present solutions in the panel site. We could support customers on the centralize MPPT and grid connectivity algorithm. We also have products for LED based solar lamps and products /solutions for Metal Halide lamp. As there are two ways to look into the energy saving: One by increasing the efficiency of present power conversion solution it could be done by new regulations and secondly use of non-conventional energy. We offer products for both the categories.
We have 3KW inverter reference design with grid connectivity as well as the Centralized MPPT. It consists of a high frequency isolated input power section performing DC/DC conversion and an inverter section capable of delivering sinusoidal current at 50Hz to the grid. The system operates with input voltages in the range of 200V to 400V and is tied to the grid at 230Vrms, 50Hz, through an LCL filter. Other peculiar characteristics of the proposed converter are integration level, decoupled active and reactive power control and flexibility towards the source. A prototype has been realized and a fully digital control algorithm, including power management for grid-connected operation and MPPT algorithm, has been implemented on a dedicated control board, equipped with ST microcontroller.
Q5. Is Indian average customer still cost sensitive in selecting ICs for lighting and power electronics?
ST Micro: In general it will always be competitive, but things will change as the govt. regulation are changing and demand is on energy efficiency and environment friendly applications. Due to this, there is a demand for high end products and ST's most advanced lighting and power management solutions reflect ST's commitment to help customers reduce their environment footprint.
Q6. Any specific examples of Indian customers who have used ST's power ICs extensively and successfully?
ST Micro: We can't disclose our customers due to confidential issue, but all leading brands in India are using ST's power products.
Q7. ST looks to be early starter and more engaged in offering green semiconductor products. Now with every semiconductor vendor talking about green semiconductor products, is there any uniqueness and special strengths in ST's environment focus?
ST Micro: ST has committed itself to sustainable excellence, and this means a very serious intent to contribute in curbing environmental issues like global warming. ST has embarked to be green on its entire product portfolio but especially on power products where there is direct contribution and the effects are most significant. Being a broad supplier we are in a unique position to tackle the issue as a system and not only on a product level. As such we gladly take this responsibility to create global awareness by building evidences through our system references which maximize green implementation at all fronts like achieving >85% multipoint efficiency, 0.1W standby consumption, extended battery life. Such systems are only possible as the products designed to encompass these targets support them.