Rohm growing production to meet SiC demand

The firm needs to meet commitments for two major OEM EV powertrain deals

Rohm growing production to meet SiC demand
Rohm has signed a deal to provide Vitesco with SiC devices

Japanese electronic parts manufacturer Rohm has been increasing its production capacity for silicon carbide (SiC) devices over the last few months to meet "fast growing" demand further down the supply chain.

In June Rohm signed a deal to provide German power train manufacturer Vitesco Technologies with SiC power semiconductors from 2024 to 2030. The deal is worth $1bn over this time period, according to Rohm.

“We have made every effort to ensure the stable supply of our products to customers by improving productivity and increasing our production capacity to cope with fast-growing demand for SiC...devices,” says Rohm.

Vitesco Technologies says its advanced inverters with integrated Rohm SiC chips will be used in the EV powertrains of "two major customers".

SiC devices enable the design of more efficient inverters which can help improve EV efficiency and range. And SiC is seen as one of the few ongoing issues still affecting the automotive supply chain.

"Silicon carbide, I think, is going to continue to probably be a problem on the inverter module side for a while," Volvo Cars CEO Jim Rowan said at his firm's Q3 results last week. "Everybody is looking for those same components."

Rohm also manufactures transistors, diodes and power devices for EVs, as well as integrated circuits for EV power trains, power management systems and light-emitting diode (LED) applications.

The firm saw a slight slowdown in downstream supply chain demand during the half, but is confident in the long-term outlook.

“The automotive market saw a slowdown in growth during the period, mainly due to inventory adjustments of automotive-related parts, despite the ongoing recovery in global automobile production volume on the back of various incentive policies provided by governments around the world to promote the adoption of EVs,” the firm says.

The automotive sector is responsible for around 42pc of Rohm’s sales. The firm does not break down how much EVs contribute within that segment.

Despite the cited slower growth, sales in the automotive sector did not actually fall, with the consumer equipment and computer market primarily responsible for reduced sales of ¥239,319mn yen ($1.58mn) in the first half of its financial year, down by almost 8pc year-on-year. 

Rohm says it is proceeding with the development of new products for the automotive market where it expects growth in the mid- to long-term.

"The automotive market is expected to see a steady growth on the back of an increase in global automobile production volume and the surge toward further electrification of vehicles," says the firm.

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