- The company says it is getting a lot of enquiries for SiC SMT components from designer teams in India, whereas it has already started exporting the same
- SiC (and GaN after being launched) appear to be a repetition of history for CDIL as there was a time when it was exporting almost 60% of what it was making in India.
Continental Device India Private Limited’s (CDIL) President, Pankaj Gulati, believes the company will introduce SMT Components made from Gallium Nitride (GaN) within two years. He spoke exclusively to Electronics For You and Electronics B2B after officially announcing the company’s foray into Silicon Carbide (SiC) SMT components.
“Two years is the maximum I am saying, we will foray into GaN sooner than that,” Gulati said. He added that GaN, compared to Silicon, can conduct electrons more efficiently. It can also withstand higher electric fields and exceed the performance capability of silicon in speed, temperature, and power handling.
According to him, GaN suits power conversion and RF applications “the best”. A report by Grand View Research highlighted the GaN semiconductor market to be worth $2.17 billion in 2022. The same is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 25.4% from 2023 to 2030. The same research had pegged the global SiC semiconductor devices at $1.52 billion in 2021.
In the words of Gulati, “SiC can go to higher currents and voltages when compared to silicon. SiC components can be made in smaller sizes. It can switch faster to save energy.”
Export Vs Local Market: History Repeating Itself
The government policies enabling assembly and population of boards in India have been a key driver for CDIL setting up SiC SMT components and exploring GaN in the country.
“When I was President of ELCINA, I remember how the government policies helped push board assembly and population in the country. The next step for us as a company was to Make SMT components in India so that companies can source them from within India,” he said.
For CDIL, anyone and everyone in the electronics manufacturing domain is a collaboration opportunity. However, for its recently announced SiC components, it is looking to work with players in the electric vehicle and inverter ecosystems.
Gulati explained, “Whether electronics manufacturing service (EMS) is an external or an internal line, we make it for everyone in the domain.”
SiC (and GaN after being launched) appear to be a repetition of history for CDIL as there was a time when it was exporting almost 60% of what it was making in India. Gulati explained that it was only after 2010 that orders from India started surpassing export demand.
“For SiC, most of our sales come from the USA, China, Australia, and Europe. I think it will take time to see a rise in demand for SiC from India,” he said. The company is selling these SiC components in the international market after white-labelling them for other companies, who it says already have big markets.
This is probably because SiC components are dearer than silicon components. However, given SiC’s advantages in EV power electronics, inverters and other energy segments, Gulati says the demand will pick up soon.
Gulati shared, “We recently advertised about our SiC components at an event, and the enquiries from the EV vertical for the same have not stopped flowing in since then.” The interest received has been from designer teams and not manufacturing teams. Gulati adds that designers are keen on making products and solutions the best, whereas the manufacturing teams have to ensure the cost is not too high.
Three New Lines In Next 18 Months
The company has spent close to Rs 27-28 in setting up this new SMA and SMB line, and most of this equipment has been spent on procuring machines and equipment. Notably, this investment has been made under the government of India’s SPECS scheme (Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors).
Under the next expansion, which might occur in the next six months, CDIL will duplicate this new line and a few new machines. This next expansion phase will also see an investment of about Rs 30 crore.
“We have been running these new machines for over two months. When we are sure these have stabilised, we will order the new ones for the new line,” Gulati explained.
Once the same is done, the company says its production capability will double for SiC components of what it is today. CDIL also aims to start setting up a line for the focused production of Solar Short Key Diode, which Gulati said “nobody does in India.” The company wants to set up three new lines within 12 to 18 months.
“If not now, then when? There is a conducive government atmosphere and a conducive industry atmosphere. While we are not in a hurry, we will not stop taking calculated risks,” Gulati explained.
In the expansion process, the company will hire more professionals. Currently, its shop floor includes about 40 engineers, 120 diploma holders, and 200 machine operators. Gulati added that CDIL now also looks beyond Punjab to set up new facilities.