Gas discharge tubes were first introduced in the 1940s as defense related components and then introduced as surge protection devices for the telecommunications industry in the 1960s to remedy the drawbacks of carbon block arresters. In the 1990’s the boom in telecommunications equipment equated to increased demand for gas discharge tubes increased worldwide, primarily for residential station class protector lines for cable television (coaxial) connections.
Between 2003 and 2011 there was a worldwide resurgence in interest in gas tubes; and this interest continues to grow because of the inherent low capacitance and low inductance gas tubes offer. These attributes are important because the GDT does not impart unwanted signals, which is important for efficient transmissions of large amounts of information over coax or twisted pair lines. The use of gas discharge tubes will become more important as residences and business worldwide receive increasingly larger amounts of data- especially combined video, sound and number data over the next ten years. Based upon this promise of growth, Paumanok Publications, Inc. has released a new market research report entitled “Gas Discharge Tube Arresters: World Markets, Technologies & Opportunities: 2011-2016.” To capitalize on the growing market for gas discharge tube arresters in sensitive telecommunications and power equipment, the Paumanok study recommends that GDT vendors vertically integrate their gas tube arrester components into molded protectors and connectors to increase profitability.
Surge Protectors and Connectors (Vertical Integration of GDT Technology):
Gas tube arresters are enabling circuit protection technology. Therefore, in addition to being sold as individual components for printed circuit board mounting (surface mount arresters or two and three terminal across the line arresters), gas tube arresters are also sold to manufacturers of surge protectors and coaxial cable connectors, who in turn, house the gas tube into an advanced surge protector device or connector that can be more readily mounted by the customer. The three-terminal gas tube arrester is the basic starting point for vertical integration. Molded protector solutions include the 3-point and 5 point plastic molded plug-in protectors which will contain gas discharge tube arresters and PTC thermistors for a combination of overvoltage and overcurrent protection of overhead and underground power lines. Another market for vertical integration is the station class protector Station class protectors are usually employed at the point of demarcation at the service entrance to customer residences or businesses. Another market for vertical integration of the gas tube arrester components are in N-PE Arresters (DIN Rail- In TT and TN-C-S systems the N-PE arrester, or DIN Rail arrester, is installed between the neutral and the protective ground line where the device is exposed to the maximum of the lightning surge currents from all exposed lines. Another vertical product play for GDT arresters is mounting in coaxial cable connectors, which in turn are usually consumed in outside plant applications such as antennas and transmitters where exposure to frequency lighting strikes is part of the application environment.
Other Growth Markets for GDT Arrester Components: 2011-2016
The new market study on gas discharge tube arrester components also identifies the value and volume of global consumption for these specialty circuit protection components and forecasts consumption to 2016. The study also analyzes the product offering from 15 major vendors of gas tube arresters in surface mount, two and three terminal configurations. The study addresses demand by breakdown voltage, by form factor, by configuration and by case size; and also breaks down component application by vendor.
The study forecasts that the global markets for gas tube arresters will continue to grow in demand between 2012 and 2016 primarily because of their low capacitance and inductance which will become more importance for the transmission of video signals.
Additionally there will be growth primarily as a result of increased demand for infrastructure equipment consumed in emerging economies, primarily the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Demand for gas tube arresters consumed in consumer electronics will also increase as a result of the added value of low capacitance contained in the gas tube arrester, and we expect it to become a preferred product for applications in flat panel television sets, cable set top boxes and game consoles. Other markets will rebound more slowly, especially those tied to new home sales (such as large home appliances and alarm systems).