Supply of SMD diodes continues to climb
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  • Thinner and more-lightweight terminal applications fuel the release of components with a smaller footprint.

    Miniaturization stays on the agenda of diode suppliers, aligning the category with the trend in application electronics products. Companies therefore continue to emphasize SMD units to match the required footprint in compact and lightweight devices. They project the configuration’s local output share will rise to 60 percent in coming months, overtaking through-hole-mounted kinds.

    For some makers, SMD types will have an even greater ratio this year. Changzhou Guangda Electronics Co. Ltd and Shenzhen Luguang Electronic Technology Co. Ltd are increasing the portion by 10 percent to reach 90 and 70 percent, respectively.

    Besides boosting the category’s yield, suppliers look to enhance product performance by adopting a better alternative to mainstream silicon package. They are still waiting for breakthroughs from the Institute of Physics Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and the Shandong University. The research institutes are working on SiC structural design and manufacture, spurred by the market uptick for SiC semiconductor devices. The projected CAGR is nearly 32 percent in 2012-16, according to TechNavio.

    At present, only international players such as Infineon, STMicroelectronics and Rohm have released diodes based on the material. The input has a wider bandgap, and higher critical electric field and thermal conductivity. These attributes allow components to operate at elevated voltage and temperature levels, improving power and current density.

    Typical SMD diodes from China companies use SMA, SOD-123, SOD-323, SOD-523, SOT-23, SOT-323 and SOT-523. Changzhou Guangda utilizes mainly DO-41, DO-27, DO-15, SMA, SMB, SMC and SOD-123. Key players, including Jiangsu Changjiang, have developed models based on SOD-723, SOD-923 and SOT-723.

    Consumer electronics, computer and telecom products remain the major demand drivers for diodes. These sectors collectively represent more than 60 percent of sales in the local line. Rising requirements in the automotive electronics field will provide additional impetus in the next few years. Emerging new-energy and smart-grid industries are also expected to broaden the category’s market base.

    Manufacturers anticipate greater revenue. Shenzhen Luguang targets a 50 percent increase, and Changzhou Guangda 30 percent. The latter company is raising its monthly production capacity for SOD-123 Schottky diodes to 30 million units this year.

    Diodes generate less than 10 percent of China’s production value for discrete semiconductor components. The larger category will hit $24.7 billion, improving by 6 percent from 2013, according to the China Semiconductor Industry Association. In 2015, this will climb by 8 percent and reach $26.7 billion. In January to October 2013, the country’s turnout was 372.8 billion discrete semiconductor devices.

    China has about 200 makers of diodes. The suppliers are mainly found in the provinces of Guangdong and Jiangsu, which churn out about 60 percent of the country’s aggregate production for the line.

    Many international semiconductor suppliers have set up factories there. Renesas, Rohm, KEC and Panasonic are among them

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