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Intersil looks to 48V opportunities after takeover

Interviews |
By Nick Flaherty


In one of Intersil’s first interviews after the takeover announcement , Senior Marketing Manager Jonpaul S. Jandu and Strategic Marketing Manager Edward J. Kohler provided some insight into Intersil’s positioning taking into account the takeover effects. Intersil sees synergetic effects for power management products that support Renesas’ microcontrollers in automotive infotainment environments, Jandu explained. “We see nice synergies in the first place in the Japanese” market, he said, making references to the procurement strategies of Japanese carmakers who tend to prefer local Japanese semiconductor sources for their designs. As a part of Renesas, Intersil certainly would have easier access to that market.

In more general terms, Jandu described Intersil’s future product strategy. “We’ll align our product line with Renesas, but we won’t ignore opportunities for other vendor’s microcontrollers,” he said.

The market that has been created by the introduction of the 48V technology as a second voltage level for passenger cars also offers promising opportunities, Jandu explained. This is not a result of the Renesas takeover offer; instead Intersil has made significant investments into the development of such products already in the recent past. Jandu sees demand for power management ICs for the 48V level growing in North America. “48V emerged as a European phenomenon, but it is currently spreading across the world,” he said. The reasons for this rising acceptance are obvious: The 48V technology offers “tangible improvements in CO2 emission without negatively impacting the driving experience,” he said. The 48V technology in the first place is an enabler for downsizing of internal combustion engines, since it makes it possible to develop electric turbochargers for small engines. Other application fields for the 48V level are air conditioning, stop-start systems (because the starter motor can get a different design with faster reaction time) and other electric actuators in the car such as pumps or power steering. Besides support chips for microcontrollers, Intersil is manufacturing devices for battery management.

Another area of opportunities for Intersil – and again independently from Renesas – is rear-view vision systems including display drivers, LED drivers and video decoding (where Intersil claims a market share of more than 50%). The market for such systems has received a major growth impulse from the US legislation: By 2018, all new vehicles sold in the US must be equipped with a rear-view camera system; the rear view’s camera must appear on the center display in less than 2 seconds after the driver engaged the reverse gear. All in all, the company saw a double-digit growth in this field, almost twice the growth speed of the market average.

For both areas, Intersil’s product pipeline is well-filled; within the weeks and months to come, automotive electronics designers can expect several product roll-outs, said Jandu. However, he declined to provide any details – for the time being.

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