Japanese power electronics firm ROHM Semiconductor is teaming up with Sanden Huayu Automotive Air-Conditioning Co., a China-based automotive air conditioner manufacturer, to create a joint technical laboratory focused on automotive applications.

 

Sanden Huayu President Wang Jun (right) and ROHM Semiconductor (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. Chairman Raita Fujimura (left) exchange gifts at the opening ceremony. Image  courtesy of ROHM
Sanden Huayu President Wang Jun (right) and ROHM Semiconductor (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. Chairman Raita Fujimura (left) exchange gifts at the opening ceremony. Image  courtesy of ROHM
 

The new lab, located at Sanden Huayu’s headquarters in Shanghai, was unveiled in an opening ceremony on March 18. It will be equipped with tools used to evaluate automotive air-conditioning systems and devices. According to the announcement, the companies will also focus on developing Intelligent Power Modules (IPMs) that combine driver ICs with peripheral components. 

Sanden Huayu Automotive Air-Conditioning, a joint venture of Huayu Automotive Systems Co, Ltd., and Sanden Corporation, is a leading supplier of air conditioning compressors, with advanced technology products and services serving more than 40 fields. The company has 368 research and development, manufacturing and service facilities in mainland China, as well as 95 manufacturing and R&D centers in other countries worldwide. 

First partnering in 2018, ROHM and Sanden Huayu developed and mass-produced a lineup of electric compressors equipped with ROHM’s IGBT (insulated-gate bipolar transistor) devices and peripheral components. 

“ROHM has been developing advanced power devices in a range of fields, from silicon power devices (IGBTs, MOSFETs) to SiC power devices, and boasts a proven track record of providing power solutions that combine peripheral components such as driver ICs,” ROHM Senior Corporate Officer Kazuhide Ino stated in the announcement. “Through this joint lab, we will strengthen our collaborative partnership and contribute to technical innovation in the automotive sector by providing power solutions that meet both customer needs and market trends.”

According to a recent report from Global Market Insights, the automotive AC compressor market is expected to surpass $10 billion in value by 2026. Key industry players are investing in new technology, joint ventures and acquisitions to expand their presence worldwide, and part of that investment includes acquiring advanced technology to meet the demand for electric AC compressors. 

To meet heightened demand, ROHM released an expansive lineup of automotive power electronics products, including discretes, passives, integrated circuits and SiC power modules. 

The company also recently opened a new Shanghai-based SiC power device factory in partnership with United Automotive Electronic Systems Co., a leading auto parts manufacturer in China. Like the new joint lab with Sanden Huayu, the facility also contains evaluation equipment for automotive applications, such as onboard chargers and DC/DC converters. 

 

ROHM’s market strategies for March 2021 and beyond. Image courtesy of Financial results presentation, page 22
ROHM’s market strategies for March 2021 and beyond. Image courtesy of Financial results presentation, page 22
 

Further expansion into the automotive market is a crucial strategy for ROHM this year, as described in a recent investor presentation. The company plans to expand auto products and sales across its air conditioner electric compressors, power control units, chargers, autonomous units, LED lighting and meter panels.


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