Showa Denko (SDK) has re-expanded its capacity to produce high-quality-grade silicon carbide (SiC) epitaxial wafers for power devices, which have already been marketed under the trade name of “High-Grade Epi” (HGE), in addition to currently conducted expansion work of HGE production facilities.
After the initial expansion work which is scheduled to be finished in this April, SDK’s capacity to produce HGE will be increased from current 3,000 wafers per month to 5,000 wafers per month. After the re-expansion work which is to be finished in September 2018, that capacity will be increased to 7,000 wafers per month.
When compared with the mainstream silicon-based semiconductors, SiC-based power devices can operate under high-temperature, high-voltage, and high-current conditions, while substantially conserving energy. These features enable device manufacturers to produce smaller, lighter, and more energy-efficient next-generation power control modules.
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 EVs, in parallel with rapid expansion of the EV market.
SDK’s SiC epitaxial wafer business has been achieving growth rate higher than that of the market because manufacturers of power devices appreciate the lowest incidence of crystal defects and the highest homogeneity of wafers in the world which SDK’s HGE achieved.
SDK decided this time to conduct re-expansion of its HGE production facilities since the initially expanded HGE production facilities are expected to reach full capacity operation by the middle of 2018.
SDK expects to continue responding to the growing demands of the market through establishment of stable supply system of HGE.