The Market for Thermal Management Technologies

Published - May 2008| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - SMC024E
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for thermal management technologies increased from $6.2 billion in 2007 to an estimated $6.8 billion by the end of 2008. It should reach $11.1 billion by 2013, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3%.
  • Thermal management hardware accounts for more than 80% of the total thermal management market.
  • The largest end-markets for thermal management technologies in 2007 were the computer industry (57% of total revenues) and telecommunications (16%). By 2013, medical and office electronics should move into a tie for second place with telecommunications, each with a 12% market share.
     
     

INTRODUCTION

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.

METHODOLOGY

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.

ANALYST CREDENTIALS

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.

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Published - May-2006| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - SMC024D

Report Highlights

  • The world market for thermal management products will grow from about $4.1 billion in 2005 to $4.4 billion in 2006, and approach $6.7 billion by 2011.
  • By 2011, medical and office electronics should have moved into third place behind telecom applications, with a 16% market share, followed by consumer electronics with an 11% share.
  • The Asia-Pacific countries (except Japan) have the highest projected growth rate. By 2011, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to account for nearly a quarter of the market, pulling further ahead of Japan.
Published - Dec-2003| Analyst - Ravi Krishnan| Code - SMC024C

Report Highlights

  • The world market for thermal management products will rise from about $3.3 billion in 2003 to $5.9 billion by 2008, at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 12.1%.
  • Revenue growth slowed in 1990s with the downturn in the computer industry, and with suppliers experiencing severe commodity pricing pressures.
  • The current thermal management market has been rekindled with new design starts, and the emergence of new applications that require completely new cooling solutions.
  • The 2+ GHz desktop computer, prolific growth of handheld devices and integrated Internet connectivity, the demand for wireless base stations and large Internet infrastructure equipment all present new challenges.

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

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.

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