18 5 月, 2024

Manufacturing

Processing Machinery

PMIC chips in short supply

8 min read

The PMIC market has become a hot topic recently.

First of all, in 2021, China’s domestic display panel PMIC chip market will be close to 700 million US dollars. At the same time, Chipone’s PMIC will become the domestic product with the largest market share in domestic display panel PMIC chips. This is the first time that Chipone’s market share in this market has surpassed that of Richtek.

At the same time, due to the booming PMIC market, Qualcomm and MediaTek are looking for PMIC chips to shift from 8-inch wafers to 12-inch wafers.

While the market is booming, related domestic manufacturers are also driven by such a market to perform better in 2021. Shengbang Micro’s operating income increased by 87.07% year-on-year, Chipmate Micro’s total operating income increased by 75.44% year-on-year, Jingfeng Mingyuan’s revenue increased by 108.75%, Shanghai Belling’s revenue increased by 51.95%, Si Related companies such as Ruipu’s revenue increased by 134.06% performed well.

Why did the PMIC chip explode?

PMIC (power management chip) is a chip with a wide range of applications, including industrial and network equipment, including smartphones, tablets, solid-state drives, network and wireless IoT devices, and application-specific power management ICs for a wide range of automotive, consumer electronics, industrial and networking applications, including automotive TFT displays and ultrabooks, notebooks and tablets.

As a key device for managing the power supply of electronic equipment, PMIC can integrate multiple functions to more effectively use space and manage system power. Functions that PMICs can implement typically include voltage converters and regulators, battery chargers, battery fuel gauges, LED drivers, real-time clocks, power sequencers, and power control.

It is precisely because of the basic role of PMIC in electronic equipment that although PMIC is inconspicuous, it is one of the largest market segments for analog chips. Almost all devices that work with electricity need such chips, from household appliances to mobile computers, from communication base stations to smart cars. That’s why PMICs are so hot.

China’s PMIC manufacturers are showing initial results

The PMIC track has broad prospects and relatively low entry barriers. PMIC emphasizes reliability and stability, and has a long cycle after mass production. These characteristics make PMIC a track for domestic manufacturers to compete.

Shengbang micro power management analog chips include LDO, microprocessor power monitoring circuit, DC/DC buck converter, DC/DC boost converter, DC/DC boost converter, backlight and flash LED driver, AMOLED Power chip, PMU, OVP and load switch, battery charge and discharge management chip, battery protection chip, motor driver chip, MOSFET driver chip, etc.

Among the power management products of Shanghai Belling, a car-spec LDO and a LED driver chip will be sold in batches in 2021, and there are also many power products that have received the intentional demand of automotive electronics customers. It is expected that they will be sold in succession in 2022 . The number of Shanghai Belling’s industrial-grade and automotive-grade power management chip products continues to increase, further increasing its market share in industrial control, communication, and automotive electronics power management chips. In 2021, sales of 650 million yuan will be achieved, a year-on-year increase of 10.29%, and the gross profit rate will reach 42.49%.

Three Power’s power management chips are mainly used in the field of new energy vehicles (automobiles, inverters, power modules, power facilities), information and communication fields (base stations, optical networks, repeaters, servers, routers, gateways, wireless terminals) , industrial control field (inverter, unmanned aerial vehicle, motor drive, robot, programmable logic control), medical health (oximeter, blood pressure meter, infrared thermometer, ECG and patient monitor) and instrumentation field ( Test and measurement equipment, multimeters, oscilloscopes, heat meters, gas meters, water meters). The revenue in 2021 will be 1.33 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 141.32%.

Jingfeng Mingyuan’s products mainly include LED lighting driver chips, built-in AC/DC power management chips, external AC/DC power management chips and DC/DC power management chips. In 2021, its revenue will be 2.302 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 108.8%. 75%.

Mingwei Electronics has launched driver ICs and intelligent lighting and power management products suitable for Mini and Micro display trends. In 2021, the sales revenue of power management chips AC/DC driver chips will increase from 12.03 million yuan in the previous year to 22.44 million yuan. An increase of 86.52% over the same period of the previous year; the sales revenue of DC/DC driver chips increased from 2.75 million yuan in the previous year to 4.58 million yuan, an increase of 66.85% over the same period of the previous year.

As mentioned at the beginning, in 2021, domestic PMIC manufacturers will usher in an upward performance. This also drives the performance of domestic wafer foundries in 2021. Hua Hong’s financial report shows that revenue from analog and power management will increase by 84.7% in 2021; the prosperity of power management has also continued to the first quarter of 2022. Hua Hong said that this quarter’s sales revenue from the United States was 58.1 million US dollars, a year-on-year increase 105.1%, mainly due to the increased demand for other power management products.

PMICs can be divided into low-power PMICs and high-performance PMICs. Low-power PMICs are mainly used in wearable devices, sensors and Internet of Things devices, and such devices have higher requirements on chip size. High-performance PMICs maximize performance-per-watt while increasing system efficiency on compute-intensive platforms such as systems-on-chip (SoCs), FPGAs, and application processors.

Taking the example of PMICs required by FPGAs, FPGA vendors typically work with power management IC (PMIC) chipmakers to develop power subsystem designs that provide the required power rails for their FPGAs. If using FPGAs from multiple vendors, it may not be possible to use the same PMIC to power FPGAs of different brands. For domestic manufacturers, the products of most manufacturers are still concentrated in relatively low-end PMIC products. Facing the new application field of PMIC, there is still a certain distance from the big manufacturers.

PMIC Technology Improvement Direction

Technology

With the continuous evolution of Moore’s Law, the process nodes of integrated circuit devices are shrinking towards advanced 10nm and 7nm, and the microstructure of devices has an increasing impact on the performance of digital chips such as speed, reliability, and power consumption. In order to ensure the normal operation of the ever-evolving digital chips, the corresponding analog chips are constantly updated and iterated. The structure of integrated circuit devices continues to change iteratively with the advancement of technology nodes. In the future, new process node technologies may appear to make the line width of devices continue to shrink to 3nm and below, and analog devices will also continue to be updated and evolved accordingly. .

At present, the manufacturing technology mainly adopted by PMIC is BCD (BIPOLAR-CMOS-DMOS). BCD is a power integrated circuit manufacturing technology. ST invented this technology in the mid-eighties. The BCD process is a technology that can simultaneously integrate BJT, CMOS and DMOS devices into a single chip.

Compared with the traditional BJT process, the BCD process has significant advantages in power applications, allowing circuit designers to freely choose between high-precision analog BJT devices, highly integrated CMOS devices, and DMOS devices as power output stages . The integrated BCD process can greatly reduce power consumption, improve system performance, increase reliability and reduce cost.

The BCD process technology has developed from the first generation of 4um BCD process to the latest 65nm BCD process, the line width size has been continuously reduced, and more advanced multiple metal interconnection technologies have been adopted; on the other hand, the BCD process is moving towards standardization and modularization. Development, its mixed process is composed of standard basic procedures, and designers can increase or decrease the corresponding process steps according to their own needs.

As PMIC will be used in a more complex and higher-voltage environment, PMIC needs BCD technology to develop mainly in three directions: high voltage, high power and high density, and ultimately improve the reliability and stability of analog integrated circuits.

advanced materials

In addition to the process, in order to further improve the performance of PMIC, the industry is still researching SOI materials. SOI is a semiconductor material based on single crystal silicon for integrated circuit manufacturing, which can replace the widely used bulk silicon (Bulk Silicon) material. The principle of SOI is to add an insulator between silicon transistors, which can double the parasitic capacitance between the two. The advantage is that it is easier to increase the clock pulse and reduce current leakage to become a power-saving IC. Part of the photomask can also be omitted in the process to save costs, so it has its advantages in both process and circuit.

SOI can prevent the loss of electrons and improve the shortcomings of some original bulk wafer devices. Integrated circuits produced with SOI have the characteristics of high speed and low power consumption, so SOI technology is widely used in the manufacture of large-scale integrated circuits. In various application fields of analog integrated circuits. In addition to the characteristics of fast speed and low power consumption, SOI has excellent electrical isolation performance and has become an ideal choice for some analog RF chips; the feature of no Latch-up solves the reliability of many high-voltage analog signal processing circuits and high-voltage power supply chips. problem.

SOI technology has greatly expanded the application field in analog integrated circuits. Driven by the market, the production process of SOI has also been continuously improved, the performance has gradually stabilized, and the cost has continued to decrease. At present, the main SOI 17 production processes include oxygen injection isolation (SIMOX), bonding and thinning (BESOI), intelligent stripping (Smart-Cut), epitaxial layer transfer (ELTRAN), etc.

Functional integration

In addition, the future trend of PMIC will definitely develop towards higher performance and high efficiency. It not only includes this simple function of voltage conversion, but also integrates some other functions. Taking Maxim MAX20069C as an example, this IC integrates a buck-boost converter, a boost converter, two gate driver power supplies and a boost/SEPIC converter that can power one to four LED strings in the display backlight.

A new impetus for PMICs

According to statistics from CINNO Research, in 2021, the purchase scale of power management chips by panel companies in mainland China will reach nearly 700 million US dollars. In the future, with the continuous release of the production capacity of China’s G10.5/11 high-generation line and the launch of several new panel production lines such as China Star Optoelectronics’ t9, the demand for power management chips by mainland China’s local panel factories will continue to grow.

Chipone’s ability to win the first place in the PMIC market of the domestic display industry is due to Chipone’s complete layout around the new display industry in recent years, including display driver chips, power management chips, LED display driver chips, and timing control chips. , fingerprint identification chips, touch chips, silicon-based OLED chips and other full-category display chips.

For domestic manufacturers, the design for PMIC needs to be more forward-looking, so as to have the opportunity to seize opportunities when opportunities come like Chipone North. According to the forecast of the international market research organization TMR, the global power management chip market size will reach 56.5 billion US dollars by 2026, and the compound annual growth rate will reach 10.7% between 2018 and 2026.

In the future, automotive electronics, industrial applications, and big data processing centers will become new drivers of PMIC growth. For domestic PMIC manufacturers, the future is bright.