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 as 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.
SCOPE OF STUDY
This report contains:
- Descriptions of various thermal management products including hardware such as heat sinks, fans, blowers, fan sinks, heat pipes and cold plates, software such as computational fluid design, computational heat transfer, power management and circuit design, interfaces such as thermal grease, thermal compounds, thermal pads, adhesive films, tapes and epoxies, and substrates such as thermally enhanced packages and heat spreaders
- The current global market status for thermal management technologies, with trends and forecasts for growth over the next 5 years
- Discussion of the competitive aspects of each product segment
- A survey of recent U.S. thermal management patents and patent applications
- Profiles of leading thermal management suppliers.
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 2007. With 2007 as a baseline, market projections were developed for 2008 to 2013. These projections are based on a combination of a consensus among the primary contacts combined with our understanding of the 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 2007 constant dollars.
This report is an update of an earlier (2006) report by Ravi Krishnan and Andrew McWilliams. Mr. Krishnan 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, who is 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 BCC Research reports related to semiconductors and electronic products, including reports Enabling Technologies for High-Performance Computing; Analog and Mixed Signal Devices; Data Storage Media: Materials, Technologies, Markets; Digital Image Sensing, Storage, and Transfer; and Semiconductor Microlithography: Materials and Markets.