High-temperature electronics offers the automotive industry enormous potential benefits in terms of efficiency, cost and emissions. According to the HITEN report released in 2000 by the High-temperature Electronics Network (HITEN), the world market for high-temperature electronics is expected to more than double, from $177m in 1998 to $377m in 2003, and keep growing to $887m by the year 2008.
The automotive industry and the oil/gas prospecting equipment industry are the two major fields of application for high-temperature electronics today. As its importance to the automotive industry keeps increasing, motor vehicles will account for two-thirds of the total HITEN market by 2008, according to the report.
In the automotive industry, applications for high-temperature electronics are driven by customer demands for greater safety, security and convenience as well as by legal and political requirements for more efficient and environmentally friendlier vehicles. The industry urgently needs electronic systems capable of working under harsh ambient conditions at temperatures up to 175°C or higher. But current standards for automotive electronic components specific a maximum ambient temperature of only 125°C.
With financial support from the European Commission, 12 European organisations in six countries have launched a research project known as PROCURE (program for development of passive components used in rough environments). PROCURE focuses on materials, processes, and prototypes of components for the next generation of electronic control units and system architectures operating in harsh environments. Extended service life as well as high-temperature operation at 150, 175 and even 225°C are the overriding design goals.
As well as research bodies, representatives of the automotive industry such as DaimlerChrysler and components manufacturers such as Epcos are involved in the project.
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