Nonetheless Sawamura said: "The silicon-carbide market has not started yet. Perhaps it will in 2020. This is one of the reasons Rohm enjoys sponsoring the Venturi Formula-E racing team which is tremendous place to trial novel technologies. The only commercial automotive company to make use of SiC is Tesla, according to Christian Andre, president of Rohm Semiconductor GmbH and chairman of SiCrystal AG.
"Today the main market for silicon-carbide is industrial converters for solar cells, drivers for auxiliary drives," said Sawamura. "And mainly diodes but we are seeing the introduction of transistor drives.
With the emphasis on automotive and industrial Rohm is also investing in its European Development Center in Willich, Germany run by Michael Davis (see Rohm's European Design Center in growth phase ). "We are now under construction with a power laboratory for SiC, IGBTs and MOSFET designs. It is a place to build systems and develop ICs. To offer solutions for customers. Customers' engineers can work in the lab." However Sawamura would not quantify the development in terms of a headcount. "It is just starting and it will ramp up depending on the market," he said.
Sawamura added that Rohm's range of expertise in analog and mixed-signal, in sensors, in power, in MEMS meant that it was well placed to participate in the Internet of Things. The company can provide both wireless transceivers and low-power microcontrollers through its Lapis Semiconductor subsidiary.
So in this era of consolidation does Rohm have funds for more acquisitions? According to the company's latest financial results – interim results for the first six months of