In recent years, there has been tremendous progress, technologically and in terms of demand, in electronic devices and systems. The technological progress has come on two main fronts—increased functionality on a single device unit and miniaturization of each unit. Both of these developments have increased the need for thermal management technology.
Management of the thermal properties of a system, and designing an optimal solution to cater to modern power dissipation, are the cornerstones of thermal management today. This study is about the market for components of electronic devices and systems that aid in the dissipation of excess thermal energy. “Thermal management” is the term used to describe the array of problem-solving design tools and material technologies that systems manufacturers apply to regulate the unwanted heat caused by the normal functioning of an electronic system.
The trend line of the thermal management industry follows the development of technology in the semiconductor, microprocessor, and computer industries. For every advance in the performance of these systems, there is a corresponding increase in the operating heat generated by the system.
To simply say, however, that the demand for thermal management products has increased as the requirements of applications increased does not do justice to the unique character of this industry. It would probably be more accurate to state that the development of thermal management as an industry is the result of a synergy of solutions constantly engineered to manage excess heat in today’s electronic systems.
Products in this report have been grouped into four segment areas: hardware, software, interfaces, and substrates. The hardware segment includes several product subsegments. Heat sinks, fans and blowers, fan sinks, heat pipes, and cold plates were chosen for the hardware segment because they are established technologies and represent revenue markets of significant size.
The software segment consists of electronic design software that models and analyzes the thermal characteristics of the design of an electronic system. Specific types of thermal management software examined in this study include computational fluid design (CFD), computational heat transfer (CHT), power management, circuit design, and other EDA (Electronic Design Automation).
While the interface product line primarily attaches the heat sink to the system, several other product subsegments in this technology are being applied to dissipate heat in applications where there is no room for a conventional heat sink. The categories of interfaces covered in this segment are thermal grease, thermal compounds, thermal pads, adhesive films and tapes, and epoxy.
Finally, the report looks at substrates. The report focuses the analysis of the substrate market on two emerging package- and component-level products: thermally enhanced packages and heat spreaders.
STUDY GOAL AND OBJECTIVES
The goal of this report is to provide an up-to-date analysis of recent developments and current trends in the global thermal management marketplace. The identification of significant drivers of revenue growth in specific product categories is an additional aim. The objective of this kind of systematic research is to quantify the projected impact of the forces — from within and from outside — at work on this industry today.
REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY
The development of the thermal management industry is one of the most interesting aspects of the rapid innovation taking place in the high-tech industry. As pressure continues to achieve higher levels of device integration while reducing cost, size, and complexity, the issue of managing heat and power dissipation has become very significant. Meanwhile, economic and market forces are fueling the overall growth of the market. These trends make it pertinent to comment on current market and technological trends in thermal management, as well as to assess potential breakthroughs in the near- to mid-term future.
This report is intended especially for suppliers participating in the thermal management market, which have a vital interest in specific thermal management technology product and market segments. The report should also be of interest to companies in the electronic materials, software, or other industries that have an interest in the potential of their product in a thermal management application. In addition, because of this report’s business focus, it should be useful to executives and business managers as an up-to-the-minute guide to current conditions and trends that are expected to be significant in tomorrow’s market.
SCOPE OF REPORT
The scope of this report is broad, and covers several product areas. The individual materials, hardware, and software product segments are presented in terms of market size and revenue trends. The revenue forecasts are explained in terms of the key market issue for a specific product segment, and are projected for 5 years from 2010 to 2015. The application sections features forecasts for the most important applications by product.
The technology discussion concentrates on trends that will develop more significantly during the forecast period. The report also includes a discussion on the competitive aspects of each product segment, along with several successful suppliers’ strategies in the market. A current industry directory, a survey of recent U.S. thermal management patents and patent applications pending, and profiles of a selection of the leading thermal management suppliers are also included.
The findings and conclusions of this report are based on information gathered from a variety of sources. The primary sources of information were Internet searches and industry association data, and interviews conducted with thermal management component suppliers, custom engineering companies, and manufacturers of representative applications. In addition, other secondary sources were consulted for the report, including industry journals and publications, product literature, white papers and technical journals, and financial reports for industry suppliers.
The base-year for analysis and projection is 2009. With 2009 as a baseline, market projections were developed for 2010 and 2015. These projections are based on a combination of a consensus among primary contacts combined with our understanding of key market drivers and their impact from a historical and analytical perspective. The analytical methodologies used to generate the market estimates are described in detail in the market analysis.
All dollar projections presented in this report are in 2009 constant dollars.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
This report is an update of earlier reports by Ravi Krishan and Andrew McWilliams. Mr. Krishan has had extensive professional and research experience in high technology, with a special focus on the semiconductor industry. He has worked as a High-Tech Strategy Consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and as an analyst with several market research firms, including BCC.
Mr. McWilliams, the author responsible for this update, is a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm, 43rd Parallel LLC. Mr. McWilliams is also the author of several other Business Communications Co. reports related to semiconductors and electronic products, including IFT061A Enabling Technologies for High-performance Computing; SMC065A Analog and Mixed Signal Devices; IFT054A Data Storage Media: Materials, Technologies, Markets; IFT049A Digital Image Sensing, Storage and Transfer; SMC048A Semiconductor Microlithography: Materials and Markets; SMC064A Semiconductor/Microelectronics Cleaning; and IFT066A Printed Electronics: The Global Market.
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The information developed in this report is intended to be as reliable as possible at the time of publication and of a professional nature. This information does not constitute managerial, legal, or accounting advice; nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide, laboratory manual, or an endorsement of any product, as much of the information is speculative in nature. The author assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage that might result from reliance on the reported information or its use.