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SiC fabs continue to ramp


SiC power device to reach $5.33 billion by 2026, according to TrendForce

According to TrendForce, the SiC power device market is expected to reach $5.33 billion by 2026, with its mainstream applications still highly reliant on electric vehicles and renewable energy sources.

Recently, the widely-publicised SiC market has seen new developments involving companies such as Mitsubishi Electric, Mersen, and Ascen Power.

According to recent reports from Nikkei, Mitsubishi Electric plans to commence construction of a new 8-inch SiC fab in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, in April 2024, with operations scheduled to start in April 2026.

The new fab, spanning six floors with a total floor area of around 42,000 m2, will primarily handle front-end processes for 8-inch SiC wafers. Mitsubishi plans to gradually increase capacity, aiming to increase SiC production capacity by five times by the fiscal year 2026 (compared to fiscal year 2022).

In May 2023, Mitsubishi signed a MOU with Coherent to supply 8-inch n-type 4HSiC wafers for the new factory. Both parties are committed to expanding the production scale of 8-inch SiC devices.

Ascen Power accelerates ramp up

Recently, Shao Yonghua, the plant manager of Ascen Power’s fab, announced that the company plans to produce 240,000 pieces of 6-inch automotive-grade SiC chips annually by the end of this year. The reserved 8-inch production line is next to the 6-inch line and will have the capability to produce 240,000 pieces of 8-inch automotive-grade SiC chips annually once completed.

Ascent Power’s SiC chip manufacturing project is a major project under Guangdong’s 'Strengthening Chip Technology Project' with a total investment of around $1 billion (CNY 7.5B) , covering an area of 150 acres.

In November 2022, the project’s clean room was officially put into use, achieving a monthly production capacity of 10,000 pieces. Its automotive-grade and industrial-grade chips have been successfully mass-produced and sampled, and these chips are about to complete the automotive verification. Up to now, Ascen Power has signed agreements with more than 40 customers and achieved tape-out, covering most SiC chip design companies nationwide.

Mersen to rev up SiC wafer production

On March 12, European graphite materials and SiC wafer supplier Mersen announced that it has received investment from the French government for capacity expansion of its SiC wafer project. The subsidy amount may exceed €12 million, sourced from the 'France 2023 Plan'—a significant joint interest project in microelectronics and communication technology in Europe.

Mersen intends to advance the research and industrial production of p-SiC wafers with this investment. p-SiC is a low-resistivity polycrystalline SiC wafer that can be combined with single-crystal SiC active layers, enabling SiC device manufacturers to improve production yield and transistor performance.

Mersen expects to invest €85 million between 2023 and 2025, employ 80 to 100 staff, promote capacity construction at the Gennevilliers plant in France, and accomplish a potential manufacturing capacity of 400,000 wafers (150mm) by 2027.

Additionally, Mersen will supply SiC wafers to Soitec. In November 2021, two sides entered into a strategic partnership to jointly develop polycrystalline SiC wafers with extremely low resistivity for SiC power electronic components based on Soitec SmartSiC technology, leveraging their respective expertise in substrates and materials.

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