Electronics trends for 2017


Chip Market Brightens in 2017. The semiconductor industry may yet have been flat in 2016, but expects it is expected that the electronics industry rebounds in 2017, probably in the first half. Wall Streeter predicts return to 5% growth. Total IC business growth is expected to be around five percents for few years to come.There seems to several promises to this direction, especially in memory business. Chips Execs See Maturing Industry article says that pessimism about immediate revenue and R&D growth is a sign of a maturing industry.

Thanks to both rising prices and volume sales, the memory sector is expected to lead overall semiconductor sales growth. Sales of memory chips will increase 10% next year to a new record high of $85.3 billion, according to the latest report from IC Insights. NAND flash will grow almost as fast at 10% next year. The average annual growth rate for the memory market is forecast to be 7.3% from 2016-2021. Every year we need 5.6% more bits than previous year, and the unit prices are increasing on both DRAM and Flash.

There will be also other growth sectors. The data center will be the fastest growth segment next year, rising 10%, followed by automotive at 9% and communications at 7%Consumer and industrial markets growing at about 4% in line with the overall industry. PCs will be the big drag on 2017, declining 2%.

China Dominates Planned Chip Fabs as more than 40% of front end semiconductor fabs scheduled to begin operation between 2017 and 2020 are in China, a clear indication that China’s long-stated ambition to build a significant domestic semiconductor industry is taking shape.

Trump Win Could Mean Big Questions for Manufacturing as while Trump vowed to keep American manufacturing jobs, he offered little in the way of stated policy other than the promise to punish companies that sent manufacturing job outside the US. Questions about trade also could directly affect US manufacturing. How that plays out is a big unknown.

Europe will try to advance chip manufacturing, but not much results in 2017 as currently  there is almost no leading-edge digital chip manufacturing left in Europe as the local companies have embraced outsourcing of digital semiconductor manufacturing to foundries. The European Commission intends to reconvene a high-level group of European CEOs and executives to exchange views on Europe’s 10/100/20 nanoelectronics and chip manufacturing project and make adjustments as necessary for a wave of European Union investment supposedly starting in 2020. The two most advanced wafer fab locations left in Europe in terms of deep sub-micron miniaturization belong to Intel in Leixlip, Ireland and Globalfoundries in Dresden, Germany.

Smaller geometries are to be taken into use and researched in 2017. Several chipmakers ramp up their 10nm finFET processes, with 7nm just around the corner. As TSMC, GF/Samsung Battle at 7nm the net result is in the course of 18 months chip designers will see at least three variants of 7nm — separate immersion variants from TSMC and Globalfoundries and the EUV version from GF/Samsung. Intel has yet to detail its 7nm node.

At the same time R&D has begun for 5nm and beyond, but Uncertainty Grows For 5nm, 3nm as costs are skyrocketing. Both 5nm and 3nm present a multitude of unknowns and challenges. To put this in perspective, there are roughly two silicon atoms in 1nm of line width in a chip. Etching Technology Advances as atomic layer etch (ALE) moves to the forefront of chip-making technology—finally. TSMC recently announced plans to build a new fab in Taiwan at a cost of $15.7 billion targeted for TSMC’s 5nm and 3nm processes, which are due out in 2020 and 2022.

Moore’s Law continues to slow as process complexities and costs escalate at each node. Moore’s Law is dead, just not in the way everyone thinks. SiFive believes open source hardware is the way forward for the semiconductor industry.  Technological advances keep allowing chips to scale, but the economics are another story – particularly for smaller companies that can’t afford chips in the volumes. The solution, according to San Francisco-based startup, SiFive, is open-source hardware, specifically an architecture developed by the company’s founders called RISC-V (pronounced “risk-five”). Done right SiFive, which was awarded Startup of the Year at the 2016 Creativity in Electronics (ACE) Awards, believes that RISC-V will do for the hardware industry what Linux has done for software. For example 5th RISC-V Workshop Points to Growing Interest in the RISC-V Platform.

Sensors are hot in 2017. These tiny, powerful solutions are creating the interface between the analog and the digital world. Data is everywhere, and sensors are at the very heart of that. While no one really knows what technology’s next “killer application” will be, we are confident that any killer app will rely on sensors.Appliance autonomy promises to make life simpler, but this field has still lots of to improve even after year 2017.

Interface ICs will continue to help simplify high-bandwidth designs while making them more robust and reliable. Application areas that will benefit include automotive, communications, and industrial. Both wired and wireless interface solutions have plenty of applications.

Analog’s status is rising as more sensors and actuators are added into electronic devices, pressure is growing to more seamlessly move data seamlessly back and forth between analog and digital circuitry. IoT pushes up demand for analog content and need for communication between these two worlds will continue to grow. Analog and digital always have fit rather uncomfortably together, and that discomfort has grown as SoCs are built using smaller feature sizes.  The demand for analog silicon has always existed in the embedded space, but the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) is increasing the demand for connected mixed-signal contentAt 28nm and 16/14nm, standard “analog” IP includes a fair amount of digital content.

It seems that hardware designer is a disappearing resource and software is the king in 2017. It is becoming less and less relevant in what format the device is used in many applications. Card computers are standard products and are found in many different card formats that can be used in very many applications. Embedded development is changing to more and more coding. More software designers that understand some hardware are needed, but it is not easy to leap to move to the hardware to software.

The power electronics market is moving at very fast pace. Besides traditional industrial, renewable, and traction sectors, new applications such as energy-storage systems, micro-grids, and dc chargers are emerging. As the automotive world moves to electric vehicles, this creates challenges for IGBT and SiC-MOSFET ICs, and their associated gate drivers. New packages for high-voltage IGBTs and high-voltage SiC-MOSFETs are introduced.

More custom power distribution  and higher voltages on data center computer systems in 2017. OpenRack and OpenCompute projects are increasing the distribution voltage inside the server itself.  This approach, plus transitioning to new materials such as gallium nitride in the power-conversion systems, can reduce overall power consumption by 20% and increase server densities by 30-40%.”

Power Modules and Reference Designs will be looked at in 2017 even more than earlier in power electronics. The semiconductor and packaging technologies used in power modules have advanced considerably, and the industry is developing modules today that are denser, less expensive, and easier to use. Designers want to rely on power modules to speed up designs and optimize space using smaller, easy-to-use power modules. Module manufacturers hope that  engineers will increasingly choose a module over a discrete design in many applications.

The bi-directional DC/DC converter has been around for a while, but new applications are quickly emerging which necessitate the use of this architecture in so many more systems. Battery back-up systems need bi-directional DC/DC converters. Applications today require better energy efficiency and such systems as green power with solar or wind generation, need storage so that when there is no wind or sun available the electricity flow is not interrupted.

Power supplies need to become more efficient. Both European Union’s (EU) Code of Conduct (CoC) Tier 1 and CoC Tier 2 efficiency standards are to be taken into use. The European Union’s CoC Tier 1 effectively harmonizes the EU with US DoE Level VI and became effective as a voluntary requirement from January 2014, two years ahead of Level VI. Its adoption as an EU Ecodesign rule is currently under review to become law with an implementation date of January 2017. The key difference between the CoC requirements and Level VI is the new 10% load measure, which imposes efficiency requirements under a low-load condition where historically most types of power supplies have been notoriously inefficient. CoC Tier 2 further tightens the no-load and active mode power consumption limits.

During 2016, wireless-power applications started to pick up across many fields in the semiconductor industry, and it will continue to do so. Wireless power will continue to gain traction with increased consumer demand.  Hewlett Packard, Dell, jjPlus, and Witricity have already announced products based on Airfuel standards. And, products based upon the Qi standard will continue to grow at a rapid pace.


Other prediction articles:

In Power & Analog 2017 Forecast: What Experts Are Saying article representatives from major players in the semiconductor industry share their predictions for 2017 regarding power modules, wireless power, data converters, wireless sensing, and more.

Looking Ahead to 2017 article tells on to what SIA is focused on working with. “U.S. semiconductor technology should be viewed as a strategic national asset, and the Administration should take a holistic approach in adopting policies to strengthen this vital sector,” the letter says

Hot technologies: Looking ahead to 2017 article collection has EDN and EE Times editors explore some of the hot technologies in 2017 that will shape next year’s technology trends and beyond.



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Week In Review: Manufacturing
    Chip M&A candidates; Bitcoin phones; smart speaker wars.

    Christopher Rolland, an analyst at Susquehanna International, expects to see more merger and acquisition activity in the IC industry heading into 2018. “M&A activity slowed in 2017, but the year is going out with a bang!” Rolland said in a recent research note. Towards the end of 2017, for example, Broadcom made a bid for Qualcomm, while Marvell announced intent to buy Cavium.

    In 2017, about 10% of all semiconductor companies were acquired, according to the analyst. In comparison, 20% to 25% of all U.S. semiconductor companies were acquired in the 2015 and 2016 timeframe, he said.

    What about 2018? “We assert many attractive candidates remain, and with the help of our Accretion Index, we highlight several attractive takeout candidates for 2018, including Lattice, IDT, MaxLinear, and Microsemi, whose mantra remains ‘you’re buying till you get bought,’ ” he said, noting that Knowles and MACOM are potential takeover targets.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Semtech TS13102
    Neo-Iso™ Solid State Relay with Enhanced Diagnostics

    The TS13102 is a galvanically isolated 60V power switch device with bi-directional blocking. The device includes a single integrated 290m? high voltage switch allowing high efficiency switching of power loads or other high current applications. The single-pin CLK input pin controls the state of the switch through sequence options which control the way the device switches, including immediate on/off, zero-volt switch-on, zero-current switch-off, dither modes, as well as latching and non-latching behavior.


    The TS13102 includes several protection features.
    Each switch has an integrated over-current shut-
    down to prevent device damage during short-circuit
    or other unusually high load conditions. If an over-current
    event is detected for a time, the switch is
    latched off until the CLK turn on sequence is given.

    A Poll State command may be sent to the device when
    no change of operation is desired, but the state o
    f the Status Values is
    needed by the microcontroller. In non-latched oper
    ation, this command will also serve to recharge the
    Watchdog Timer.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Global Semiconductor Sales Increase 21.5 Percent Year-to-Year in November
    Worldwide market notches highest-ever monthly sales of $37.7 billion; sales increase 1.6 percent compared to October

    The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), representing U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, design, and research, today announced worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $37.7 billion for the month of November 2017, an increase of 21.5 percent compared to the November 2016 total of $31.0 billion and 1.6 percent more than the October 2017 total of $37.1 billion. All major regional markets posted both year-to-year and month-to-month sales increases in November, with the Americas market leading the way. All monthly sales numbers are compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization and represent a three-month moving average.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Reflection On 2017: Design And EDA

    Second of two parts: Progress on 2017 predictions was slow and steady, apart from one big miss in the standards area.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Chip Sales Grew 22% in 2017, Gartner Says

    Semiconductor sales grew by 22 percent to reach a record $419.7 billion — with memory chips leading the way — according to a preliminary estimate by market research firm Gartner.

    Gartner (Stamford, Conn.) estimates that increased sales of memory chips due to shortages of NAND flash and DRAM accounted for about two-thirds of overall chip market growth in 2017. Memory also become the single largest semiconductor products category last year, according to the firm.

    The estimated total sales for the year of $419.7 billion — while preliminary — is more aggressive than the latest forecast issued by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization last month.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Chip Sales Grew 22% in 2017, Gartner Says

    Semiconductor sales grew by 22 percent to reach a record $419.7 billion — with memory chips leading the way — according to a preliminary estimate by market research firm Gartner.

    Gartner (Stamford, Conn.) estimates that increased sales of memory chips due to shortages of NAND flash and DRAM accounted for about two-thirds of overall chip market growth in 2017. Memory also become the single largest semiconductor products category last year, according to the firm.

    The estimated total sales for the year of $419.7 billion

    As expected, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics — the top memory chip vendor — rose to No. 1 in overall semiconductor sales for the first time, displacing Intel, which had held the top spot in sales every year since 1992.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Gartner Says Worldwide Semiconductor Revenue Grew 22.2 Percent in 2017; Samsung Takes Over No. 1 Position

    Worldwide semiconductor revenue totalled $419.7 billion in 2017, a 22.2 percent increase from 2016, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. Undersupply helped drive 64 percent revenue growth in the memory market, which accounted for 31 percent of total semiconductor revenue in 2017.

    “The largest memory supplier, Samsung Electronics, gained the most market share and took the No. 1 position from Intel — the first time Intel has been toppled since 1992,” saidAndrew Norwood, research vice president at Gartner. “Memory accounted for more than two-thirds of all semiconductor revenue growth in 2017, and became the largest semiconductor category.”

    The key driver behind the booming memory revenue was higher prices due to a supply shortage. NAND flash prices increased year over year for the first time ever, up 17 percent, while DRAM prices rose 44 percent.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    2017: A Good Year for ATE
    Test equipment sales were up, and so were the share prices of ATE stocks.

    The rising revenue enjoyed by automatic test equipment vendors in 2017 translated into soaring stock prices for some publicly held companies.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 25% for 2017.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EDA, IP Sales Up 8%
    All geographies show growth, including Japan; hiring increases across the industry.

    The EDA sector continues to exhibit solid growth, increasing 8% to $2.2262 billion in Q3, up from $2.0937 billion in the same period in 2016, according to the most recent stats from the ESD Alliance Market Statistics Service. The four-quarter moving average was up 11.5%, year over year.

    While all of the numbers were up, two areas showed extraordinary growth. One involved Japan, which showed a 9.7 increase in Q3 2017, compared with the same period 8in 2016. CAE grew 15.2% in that period, while PCB/MCM was up 16.2% and IP was up 6%. Only IC physical design and verification and services revenue showed a decrease in that country.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Forecasters See Slowdown Ahead
    2018 looks good, 2019-2020 looks flat

    The mood of semiconductor executives was upbeat at their annual gathering in this coastal town socked in with fog. The weather was an appropriate backdrop for the cautious optimism market watchers recommended here.

    Semiconductors should have another good year in 2018, but growth is slowing. Further out, a downturn may be coming for the industry and the broader economy — but just when and why is still not clear, speakers said at the Industry Strategy Symposium here.

    Gartner predicts after last year’s 22.2-percent revenue surge, the chip market will settle down to a still better-than-average 7.5-percent growth this year. It predicted the chip market will cool off in 2019 and 2020 with two basically flat years.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Home> Tools & Learning> Products> Product Brief
    EDN Hot 100 products of 2017

    It’s time to recognize the year’s top products, with EDN’s annual Hot 100 products!

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Terrific Year, Terrific Outlook
    But there’s work to do to keep the good times rolling.

    2017 was a terrific year. Chip revenues closed at nearly $440B, an impressive 22 percent year-over-year growth. The equipment industry surpassed revenue levels last reached in the year 2000. Semiconductor equipment posted sales of nearly $56B and semiconductor materials $48B in 2017. For semiconductor equipment, this was a giant 36 percent year-over-year growth. Samsung, alone, invested $26B in semiconductor CapEx in 2017 – an incredible single year spend in an incredible year.

    MEMS and sensors gained new growth in telecom and medical markets, adding to existing demand from automotive, industrial and consumer segments. MEMS is forecast to be a $19B industry in 2018.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ANSI/VITA 48.8 Urges More Convection Cooling for VPX-Based Systems

    The newly ratified ANSI/VITA 48.8 standard looks to reduce the dependence on conduction cooling for 3U and 6U circuit cards with VPX connectors.

    It’s not news that cooling and thermal management are never-ending issues for systems and their power supplies. Ironically, though, the emergence of smaller components with more processing capability while operating at much lower power has had the counterintuitive effect of actually increasing thermal density, with designers expected to pack even more functionality into ever-smaller spaces.

    To accommodate this trend, a newly ratified industry standard encourages increased use of convection cooling and reduces the dependence on conduction cooling for designs using 3U and 6U circuit cards with VPX connectors. ANSI/VITA 48.8 is a mechanical form-factor standard that leverages air-flow-through (AFT) cooling, enabling designers to choose standard-compliant modules from a variety of vendors with the assurance they will be physically (and electrically) compatible.

    This specification defines a framework for the design of plug-in modules with AFT cooling while retaining the VPX connector layout. It’s the first open-standard AFT technology that can accommodate small-form-factor 3U VPX modules. These are attractive to military and aerospace applications because they’re particularly sensitive to SWaP-C (size, weight, power, and cost) constraints typified by helicopters and unmanned vehicles.

    Conduction vs. Convection

    Most conduction-cooling approaches remove heat via a physical path from the hot components, through the circuit card, through the card wedgelocks, through the chassis walls, and out to ambient air. In contrast, AFT cooling uses a heat exchanger integrated into the structural frame of each circuit card. Unlike the use of cooling air impinged directly on the components and circuit boards, the AFT plug-in module employs a finned heat-exchanger frame located within the central section of the assembly to top-cool the primary circuit-board components as well as mezzanine-board components.

    Formally known as ANSI/VITA 48.8-2017, “Mechanical Standard for Electronic VPX Plug-in Modules Using Air Flow Through Cooling” was developed and promoted by a working group sponsored by Lockheed Martin, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions, and Abaco, and chaired by Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

    ANSI and VITA Ratify ANSI/VITA 48.8 Air-Flow-Through Cooling Standard for VPX

    standard for e
    plug-in units provides
    lower weight, reduced
    cooling technology.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Advanced System Measures Battery Impedance While in Use

    As closed “black box” components, batteries are challenging energy-storage systems to fully assess. It’s obviously easy to measure their terminal voltage and input/output current, and to estimate their internal temperature based on external readings and appropriate thermal models. However, measuring their impedance is difficult, especially when the battery is in use. Yet that last factor is needed to fully judge their health and condition in active use or during a maintenance cycle.

    To address this issue, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has developed an impedance measurement box (IMB) that directly addresses the in-use characterization of this parameter (Fig. 1). (INL is a leading government laboratory in the U.S. for research, development, demonstration, and deployment related to nuclear and other types of energy.)

    In the IMB system, an input signal composed of a wideband set of to about 25 to 30 sine waves is injected into the battery. Typical frequencies are between 0.1 and 1650 Hz (the typical limit used for lithium-ion batteries), but can go higher depending on the battery specifics and test objectives.

    The battery’s response is captured and processed by a set of algorithms to provide results that characterize a single cell or cluster of cells

    IMB procedure takes about 10 to 15 seconds to directly measure the wideband impedance spectrum during battery operation, and with no significant impact on service life.

    The latest version of the IMB is a third-generation unit that can assess a 50-V system, needed for testing of large-scale battery assemblies that contain larger numbers of cells.

    This system determines the impedance of batteries in just a few seconds, while the batteries are charging or discharging in their normal operating modes.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Annual Semiconductor Sales Increase 21.6 Percent, Top $400 Billion for First Time
    Global industry posts highest-ever annual, quarterly, and monthly sales

    WASHINGTON—Feb. 5, 2018—The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), representing U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, design, and research, today announced the global semiconductor industry posted sales totaling $412.2 billion in 2017, the industry’s highest-ever annual sales and an increase of 21.6 percent compared to the 2016 total. Global sales for the month of December 2017 reached $38.0 billion, an increase of 22.5 percent over the December 2016 total and 0.8 percent more than the previous month’s total. Fourth-quarter sales of $114.0 billion were 22.5 percent higher than the total from the fourth quarter of 2016 and 5.7 percent more than the third quarter of 2017. Global sales during the fourth quarter of 2017 and during December 2017 were the industry’s highest-ever quarterly and monthly sales, respectively. All monthly sales numbers are compiled by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization and represent a three-month moving average.


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