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As Lead Times Grow for Power MOSFETS, New Entrant D3 Semi Seizes the Opening

New power MOSFET technology may get a running start in the market—thanks to supply chain woes.

When company founders launched D3 Semiconductor into the super-competitive power semiconductor market back in 2011, the goal was simple: Displace the 20-year-old Super Junction MOSFET by rethinking how to do high-voltage transistors in a new, more capable product with the endurance to stay on top for the next two decades.

Things have gone pretty much according to the company’s plans—from early investment to product development timelines to the market release of the +FET power MOSFET and the distribution agreement with Mouser announced in May.

But what they did not anticipate was that their timing would coincide so perfectly with severe supply-chain shortages of power MOSFETs.

“Typically the steady-state lead time for MOSFETS is on the order of 8 to 10 weeks,” says Scott Carson, D3’s VP of global sales and marketing. “Right now, we are hearing numbers ranging from 26 all the way up 40 weeks, which is going to be tough, especially for the non-Tier 1 players.”

 

Wally Klass (left), President and Managing Director D3 Asia Sdn bhd and Director Global Business Development, D3 Semiconductor Scott Carson (right), Vice President Global Sales & Marketing, D3 Semiconductor

Lead times are cyclical in the semiconductor industry (see chart below), but demand today is unprecedented—and shows no signs of easing anytime soon. “Looking at our data in detail, it’s clear at we are looking at another 12-15 months of growth based on historic behaviors and current market trajectory,” says Carson.

Moreover, Carson said that word on the street is that a number of companies have reallocated their fab resources to supply consumer-type applications, which will have the impact of tightening supplies even further.

And that, Carson believes, creates opportunity for a young company coming out of the gate. “Our fab partners have given us good lead times and we have ample supply, which means we are able to fill orders more on the order of the traditional 8 to 10 weeks. Plus, we have redundancy built into our supply chain—two sources for everything—so that we have backup supplies for our customers and will not have to throttle back allocations for all but the Tier 1 players.”

By being able to get orders filled quicker than the competition, D3 hopes potential customers will have the extra impetus to be more open-minded about making the shift to a new product designed to accelerate new product development cycles and provide end-product differentiation.

The company started sampling in Q217 and estimates that it will have high-volume production quantities available starting in late September.

Currently, D3 sees most of the initial uptake in China; sales and marketing efforts here are led by Wally Klass, president and managing director D3 Asia Sdn bhd and director, global business development. The company is also focusing efforts on heavy consumer and industrial-type applications, including power supplies for high-end consumer and commercial spaces like refrigeration.

Carson said that that at this point the current sales funnel far exceeds the company’s business plan. “If we have absolutely unconstrained supply in 2018,” he says, “we expect to beat our forecast by 50 to 60%.”

Sources: Semiconductor Industry Association Global Billings Report 4Aug-2017 EPS News Power Semiconductors: Lead Times Continue to Stretch-Gina Roos

 

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