IHS iSuppli Teardown Reveals High Level of Semiconductor Content in Midrange GE Washing Machine
Jul 06, 2012
Illustrating the trend toward increased electronics content in consumer electronics appliances, the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis of a General Electric washing machine has revealed a relatively high degree of semiconductor usage that allows it to reduce energy consumption.
The GE GFWN1100LWW washing
machine carries a bill of materials (BOM) of $36.13 for its electronics, according to a physical dissection conducted by IHS (NYSE: IHS). Out of this total, $13.84 - or 38 percent - was accounted for by semiconductors, higher than the global average.
A significant component of the higher cost was the usage of a 16-bit microcontroller (MCU) from Renesas Electronics Corp., an additional component that is used to implement intelligent motor control for power savings.
"The GFWN1100LWW washing machine employs intelligent motor control to help reduce power consumption and achieve the coveted Energy Star designation," noted Kevin Keller, senior principal analyst, teardown analysis, for IHS. "While the use of the Renesas MCU drives up the electronics cost of the GE washing machine, it will more than pay for itself through power savings during the life of the product. Intelligent motor control through the use of MCUs is finding increased acceptance in appliances like washing machines, even in midrange models like the GFWN1100LWW. This use of chips to achieve better energy efficiency represents a growing trend in appliances that we will continue to monitor as IHS conducts more consumer appliance teardowns."
The table below presents a summary of the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis of the GE GFWN1100LWW washing machine. Please note that this teardown assessment accounts only for the electronic components and electronic manufacturing costs, and does not include additional expenses such as non-electronics, software, licensing, royalties or other expenditures.
Big Energy Savings from a Microcontroller
The semiconductor content of the GFWN1100LWW is more than twice the $5.52 average expected for all washing machines shipping in 2012, according to IHS data. The lower cost is driven by the large quantities of low-end washing machines shipped to developing regions, such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.
The Renesas MCU represents a portion of this additional cost, at $2.89, or about 8 percent of the total electronics BOM. However, the intelligent motor control implemented through the MCU could save as much as 60 percent of the energy consumption in an appliance like the GE washing machine.
The most expensive single electronic component is the hybrid IC module containing an array of insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) devices, which are power semiconductor devices used as switching for the washing machine's motor. Supplied by International Rectifier, the IGBT driver module carries a cost of $5.25, representing about 15 percent of the BOM.
Other major components contributing to the GFWN1100LWW's BOM include:
The printed circuit board (PCB), from Century Printed Circuits, costing $2.98
A relay, from TE Connectivity, at $2.82
An electrolytic capacitor from Chemi-Con, at $2.12
A digital signal controller from Freescale Semiconductor, at $1.53
The IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Appliance Program
With the announcement of the GFWN1100LWW analysis, the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service now includes white goods appliances. In the coming months, the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service will be examining more appliances, breaking down their costs, analyzing their components and identifying technology trends.
About the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service
Anyone can crack open an electronic product and identify components. However, only IHS can provide the level of expertise in electronic components and pricing to serve the teardown needs of top technology companies throughout the world.
The IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service is the most experienced in the industry and can draw upon a vast library of data and expertise that only a broad-line electronics market-research firm can provide.
The team leverages the knowledge of more than 300 experts in various fields, all of whom have extensive electronics industry backgrounds and far-reaching proficiency in equipment cost models, component pricing and component analysis.
IHS has been conducting teardowns for nine years, but the company's background in this area goes back much further, with members of the management team having established and participated in teardown programs at another research firm starting in the mid-1990s.
The IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis service has dissected nearly 1,000 electronic products, from mobile phones of every variety to personal computers, to set-top boxes, to video-game consoles, to high-definition televisions. The team engages in rigorous teardowns that enable a complete identification and accounting of all components found in electronic equipment.
The teardown team's extensive experience in dissecting electronic equipment allows it to make sophisticated observations regarding product design and component selection based on manufacturer, region of production, design approach and other factors.
Pricing for components found inside of equipment is determined by using the IHS iSuppli Component Price Tracker (CPT) service, which provides detailed information on costs for more than 350 components commonly found in electronic equipment, allowing IHS iSuppli to develop highly accurate BOM estimates.
Component prices are subject to significant changes over time due to manufacturing learning-curve processes, as well as inventory and supply-and-demand issues. The CPT provides forecasts and updates of pricing movements that have unparalleled accuracy.
The IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis team also consults with other in-house analysts covering various areas of the electronics industry in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of electronic equipment. The IHS iSuppli analyst team covers every segment of the worldwide electronics industry, offering industry-leading expertise in equipment, components and supply chains.