The Market for Electronics Thermal Management Technologies

Published - Oct 2000| Analyst - Andrea Dace| Code - SMC024B
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Report Highlights

  • This new study estimates that the world market for this mix of products that dissipate excess heat in electronic systems will grow from about $3.25 billion in 2000 to $6 billion by 2005, at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 13%.
  • The report's forecast of a 13% AAGR reflects the return of growth to the electronics markets. During its slow years, the thermal management industry had introduced many improvements in the thermal handling capability of products. There had also been the development of highly efficient, high-yield manufacturing methods - the adoption of which had been put on hold until recently.
  • The new materials and components that are now available for next-generation applications are already expanding the definition of efficiency in electronics. Once employed only as a means to prevent thermal failure, thermal management technology will be in demand throughout the forecast period, research indicates, because it can improve the performance of super-fast, high-power and high-temperature electronics systems.

INTRODUCTION

This study is about the market for those parts of electronic devices and systems that aid in the dissipation of excess thermal energy. Thermal management actually describes an 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 importance of thermal management, and the rate at which the market has grown, track closely the development of technology in the semiconductor, microprocessor and computer industries. The basic formula is this: For every advance that those industries introduce to improve the performance of their systems, there has been a corresponding increase in the operating heat generated by the system.

To simply say, however, that demand for thermal management products has increased as the thermal handling requirements of the applications have increased, does not do justice to the unique character of this industry. There are too many different technologies in this market for such an explanation. Rather, its growth is the result of an innovative sum of solutions that are constantly being engineered to manage excess heat in today's electronic systems.

The technologies described in this report as thermal management products can be grouped into four segment areas. These are software, hardware, interfaces and substrates. This report looks at the electronic design software that models and analyzes the thermal characteristics of the design of an electronic system. The hardware segment includes several product subsegments. The 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.

Also investigated for this report are interfaces. This technology functions primarily in the attachment of the heat sink to the system. Several of the product subsegments in this technology market, however, 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, this report looks at the category of 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

This report is new original research on the electronics thermal management market. It has been published as an update to an earlier report on thermal management that BCC, Inc. released in 1995. GB-185 Hot Markets: Thermal Management Technology for Electronics was very popular, and BCC had reason to believe that a new report on the market would be well received.

The current report is more than a mere update of the original, although the annual market information and forecasts pick up where the 1995 report left off. While continuous, this report contains a great deal of new information. The global aspects of the market are much more visible today than they were 5 years ago, so the scope of the 2000 report was changed to a world market study. Also, because there is more technical information available on the Internet, the current report has a information emphasis to make the best use of the reader's time. Finally, to bring something else to the report that is not readily available, the author has emphasized primary research and up-to-date information that could only have been obtained from interviews with suppliers about their perspective on the of the industry.

This resulting study proved that there were good reasons for doing the update of the original report. The industry has changed very much in several key instances. The new research revealed that many companies were no longer in , and that a series of consolidations had taken place since 1995. In the new report, the competitor information is current. In addition, when the thermal management patent analysis that was such a distinctive feature of the previous report was redone, it revealed how the number of U.S. patents in thermal management has increased yearly since 1996.

CONTRIBUTION OF THE STUDY AND FOR WHOM

The information presented here is for suppliers participating in the thermal management market with a vital interest in the market potential of a specific technology in one of the product segment markets. This study 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 focus, it should be of use to executives and managers as an up-to-the-minute guide to current conditions that are expected to be significant in tomorrow's market.

SCOPE AND FORMAT

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 the 5 years from 2000 to 2005. The application chapter features forecasts for the most important applications by product. The technology chapter 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 the U.S. thermal management patents from 1996 to 1999, and profiles of a selection of the leading thermal management suppliers are also included.

METHODOLOGY

The research for this report was conducted in a conventional manner. The primary sources of information were interviews conducted with a large group of thermal management component suppliers, custom engineering companies, and manufacturers of representative applications. In addition to the interviews, numerous secondary sources were consulted for the report. This secondary phase of research included a review of industry journals and publications on thermal management, a review of product literature, a review of electronically published material, and a review of the available financial reports for companies currently participating in the market. Additional sources included two reports from BCC, Inc.: GB-185 Hot Markets: Thermal Management Technology for Electronics, an earlier report on thermal management that the company published in 1995; and GB-235 Advanced Electronic Packaging, published in 1999.

BCC STATEMENT AND ANALYST'S CREDENTIALS

The author of this report is an engineering reporter and communications consultant with a background in both consumer and industrial research. She has written numerous technical market studies on various component and equipment industries. Her two most recent reports for BCC are GB-223 Power Management: IC Components, 1999; and GB-235 Advanced Electronic Packaging, 1999. She is also the contributing editor of BCC's monthly newsletter on the electronic materials industry, Electronic Materials Update.

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