LONDON, Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Digital power technology has entered its second decade and is now used in a growing number of applications. In addition to traditional areas like computers and communications, digital power is also impacting a broad range of non-traditional applications like hybrid electric vehicles, smart grids and microgrids, smart buildings and alternative energy sources including solar and wind power.
Although digital power is now firmly established, most of the applications presented in this report are still relatively new to digital power management and control. As a result, the digital market will continue to see significant growth rates and new product introductions across all areas over the next several years. Comprised of dc-dc converter modules, external ac-dc power supplies and embedded ac-dc power supplies, the combined dollar market for digital power supplies is projected to grow to over $11.7 billion by 2020.
The Darnell Group has identified a number of emerging areas of opportunity where digital power management is projected to make inroads and provide control functions preferable to traditional analog power conversion. Among them are Software-Defined Power Architectures (SDPAs), the Smart Grid, Microgrids, Data Centers and the development of 5G Technology. Based on these opportunities, Darnell has identified the current "best" markets for digital power and presents them in the report.
The Darnell Group projects the emerging area of SDPAs to be the defining aspect of the second decade of this important area of power electronics technology. SDPAs are projected to be enabled by the continued advancement in digital electronics, as well as by advancements in A/D and D/A conversion, power conversion and power management technologies. The concept will continue to evolve and expand as enabled by future generations of the related technologies.
The emerging smart grid and microgrids are additional areas where digital power technology is projected to play a significant role. Advanced hardware, intelligent inverters, digital controllers, and compatible communications will act as the enabling technology mix to maximize economic and operational benefits of both systems. This includes adding two-way digital communication technology to devices associated with the grid. Each device on the network can be given sensors to gather data plus two-way digital communication between the device in the field and the utility's network operations center.
Another area most likely to benefit from the adoption of digital power management/control are data centers, primarily because of the tremendous amount of electricity they consume. This is an opportunity for digital power as the most recent advances in power supplies designed to improve efficiencies implement digital-control technologies.
For the same reason, efficiency, the development of digital management and control is expected to play a large role in the development of advanced (5G) technology over the next several years. As 5G devices adopt new material designs and incorporate new cognitive, media/entertainment features, the need to further lower power consumption by using digital technology will become more even more critical.
Digital Power is projected to continue making a substantial impact in the dc-dc converter module market over the forecast period, as its adoption is one of the most important factors in improving efficiency, reducing power consumption and managing growing power complexity in electronic systems. One of the major advantages of using digital control within either a dc-dc converter or POL regulator is the ability to integrate both the control and monitoring functions and the communications interface alongside the core logic.
Although it will maintain a smaller unit market than either of the other ac-dc markets, the dc-dc market will record the highest rate of digital penetration throughout the forecast period. The communications and computer segments will continue to make up over 85.0% of dc-dc unit market and over 68.0% of the dc-dc dollar market over the forecast period. It is also projected to grow at over three and a half times as fast as the overall dc-dc converter module unit market.
The driving force for digitally controlled external ac-dc power supplies continues to come from standards/ regulations mandating stricter power supply requirements. With heavy emphasis on increased energy efficiency, manufacturers have the flexibility to offer power adapters that can communicate changes in power requirements, such as higher or lower voltage, or to shut off completely when not in use. This is evident as manufacturers continue to focus on the energy efficiency requirements in their products.
Initially, external ac-dc power supplies are projected to be a much smaller revenue opportunity for digital power management than either embedded ac-dc or dc-dc power supplies. However growth in this market should be expedited by additional standards and developments over the next several years and due to the sheer size of overall of the external ac-dc power supply market, it is an attractive opportunity for digital power supply manufacturers and as a result will maintain the largest unit market over the forecast period.
The acceptance of digital power management and control in embedded ac-dc power supplies is evident in the substantial number of recent industry announcements describing new solutions enabled by the expansion of digital power technology. Fueled by growing markets in a number of applications including solid state lighting, computers, communications and the emerging smart grid industry, the embedded ac-dc market is projected to have the largest dollar market in this report.
One of the more interesting developments since the last edition of this report is the relationship between the digital external power supply market and the embedded power supply market. Due to a number of factors, especially the mover towards 5G technology, by 2018 digital penetration of the external ac-dc power supply market is projected to catch up to the embedded ac-dc power supply market and then exceed it slightly by the end of the forecast period.
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