While the U.S. economy was soft during the past year, there has been little impact on the growth of passive components. The market for specific, value-added and application-specific components continues to perform well in the U.S., which has virtually offset the drop in passives' demand from the automotive and home appliance industries. According to Dennis Zogbi, president of the Paumanok Group, demand from the power segment for ac power line capacitors and industrial-grade resistors and inductors is up, primarily for applications related to wind energy, solar energy and power transmission and distribution applications.
Zogbi also sees increased demand for passive components in aerospace. “Aircraft manufacturing at Boeing is up strongly for the output of the 787 Dreamliner and demand for defense-related aircraft is also up sharply,” says Zogbi.
Not all the news for passives is good. Zogbi believes overall consumption of passive components in North America will be down for 2008. “However, small domestic manufacturers who specialize in production of value-added and application-specific components — such as high voltage and high frequency — will do reasonably well, not only from domestic customers but especially from overseas customer who are opting to purchase parts in the U.S. because of the weak dollar,” says Zogbi. He concedes that will translate into lower sales prices.
The heart of the passives' market is in China and Southeast Asia, which consumes 70 percent of all passive components. Demand is up in Asia more than 10 percent this year, largely due to the continuing movement to the production of consumer electronics with greater numbers of passive components.
As for technological developments in passives, look for smaller components that deliver high performance. Also, most new developments in passives will focus on the dual challenges of preserving battery life and increasing energy efficiency.