23 January 2018
SDK to expand high-grade SiC epi capacity further to 7000 wafers per month by September
© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.
Tokyo-based Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has decided to further expand its capacity for producing high-quality-grade silicon carbide (SiC) epitaxial wafers for power devices, which are already marketed under the trade name High-Grade Epi (HGE). This is in addition to an existing, ongoing expansion of the HGE production facilities announced last September.
After the initial expansion work (scheduled to be finished in April), SDK’s HGE production capacity will rise from 3000 wafers per month (equivalent, for 1200V-breakdown power devices) currently to 5000 wafers per month. After the further expansion (to be completed in September), capacity will rise to 7000 wafers per month.
Compared with the mainstream silicon-based devices, SiC-based power devices can operate under high-temperature, high-voltage and high-current conditions while conserving energy substantially. These features enable device makers to produce smaller, lighter and more energy-efficient next-generation power control modules. SDK says that, in addition to the traditional use as power sources, SiC-based power devices are now replacing conventional silicon-based power devices for on-board use, such as inverter modules for railcars, on-board battery chargers, and rapid charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) in parallel with the rapid expansion of the EV market.
SDK says that its SiC epiwafer business has been achieving above-market growth rates because power device makers appreciate that HGE achieves what it claims is the world’s lowest crystal defect density and highest wafer homogeneity. The firm has hence decided to expand HGE production facilities further since the initial HGE production expansion is expected to reach full-capacity operation by mid-2018.