The IGBT supply chain is experiencing an acute shortage due to several converging variables. Lead-times have reached 50 weeks; companies are scrambling to find suppliers who can meet their deadlines and one official from the IGBT manufacturing giant Infineon said that the global chip shortage “will get worse for a while."
IGBTs are used in a wide range of products, such as medical devices, industrial systems and consumer electronics. Demand for IGBTs has been especially high recently, mostly due to the crucial role they play in electric vehicle production. As governments across the world have pushed for further reliance on EVs, IGBT sales are expected to exceed $12.5 billion by 2032.
This increase in demand has come at an unfortunate time for companies, as many of their primary options are unavailable.
Three major manufacturers have hit production roadblocks:
- Infineon As of early August, Infineon, the largest IGBT manufacturer in the market, scrapped 2 months’ worth of IGBT supply due to a flawed batch. The manufacturer was originally making them to fulfill Hyundai’s order for their much anticipated IONIQ 5 electric vehicle. This has set Infineon back by about 4 months: the average time that it takes to manufacture and assemble new IGBTs. Lead-times for Infineon are expected to creep higher than the 50-week industry average.
- Semikron: In the same week, IGBT manufacturer Semikron released a statement announcing that they were a victim of a cybersecurity hack. This has left their entire operation on hold and is yet another blow to the already sensitive IGBT supply chain.
- Onsemi: The manufacturer is experiencing twice as much demand as they can currently book, so they are prioritizing their top tier clients. This has caused companies from an array of industries to look elsewhere.
These microchips are also the most critical component in solar inverters, which are an essential part of the budding photovoltaic industry. PV companies in China have cumulatively invested 120 billion yuan ($12.72 billion) in expansion projects for just the second half of this year alone. However, a Chinese firm forecasted that the country’s photovoltaic capacity will fall short of expected growth rates specifically due to the global IGBT shortage.
IGBT demand has overwhelmed the market and with blows coming to the supply chain in rapid succession, more customers may want to look at alternative suppliers.