Multilayer ceramic capacitors, Polymer aluminum electrolytic capacitors, Silicon capacitors, High temperature film capacitors for automotive, etc.
Sales of multilayer ceramic capacitors increased for cellular phone base stations, driven by moves to introduce 5G systems, and from uses in car electronics, but declined year on year overall due to weakness in demand for wideranging uses, affected by moves to adjust production of electronics devices and inventory of electronic components.
Multilayer ceramic capacitors
- New demand for communication infrastructures driven by growing use of 5G and demand for small-size, largecapacity products for communication devices
- Increased demand for automotive uses driven by growing use of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and selfdriving vehicles, and the introduction of electric vehicles
- Responses to short-term demand fluctuations amid an uncertain market outlook
- Medium-term slowdown in the overall electronics market in case of a medium-to long-term slump in the global economy
Initiatives in the capacitor business
As demand for chip multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCC) continued to grow globally over a few years through fiscal 2018, Murata worked to expand production capacity, reviewed product portfolios and increased supply volumes.
Unfor tunately, net sales slumped due to uncertainty over the global economic outlook in fiscal 2019. The market recovery has proven to be weaker than we had expected in fiscal 2020 as consumption and production remain in the slump, affected by the spread of COVID-19. Accordingly, we expect net sales to remain at these levels for a short term. Still, there has been an increase in demand for MLCCs in some markets in the first half of fiscal 2020, against the backdrop of demand related to people working remotely or staying at home. Murata, which operates in diverse markets and has business with a broad range of customers, has been working to support supply to customers and put its production capacity to maximum utilization by adjusting product and customer mixes.
In the meantime, over the medium-term, we are expecting to see new demand for applications in communications infrastructure along with the spread of 5G, in addition to increased demand for compact large-capacity products for use in communications devices and highly reliable products for use in automobiles. We are allocating management resources to products that address such demand and developing new products, while also implementing initiatives to enhance productivity by promoting the use of smart factories. In addition, we will enhance our range of capacitors to address the diverse needs of our customers, add nonceramic products such as film capacitors, silicon capacitors to our portfolio, and offer new solutions with high reliability suitable for usage environments in the automotive and healthcare/medical markets.
Chip multilayer ceramic capacitors for consumer
The chip multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) is an electronic component with external electrodes electrically and mechanically bonded to a substrate, attached to repeatedly stacked internal electrodes and ceramic dielectrics such as titanium oxide and barium titanate. It is a highly reliable nonpolar capacitor with high withstanding voltage and insulation resistance, superior frequency and heatresisting characteristics, and long service life.
MLCCs are employed in mobile equipment and home appliances as well as IT devices and network infrastructure equipment, they can temporarily store and discharge electricity, absorb noise in signals, extract signals with certain frequencies, and block direct current and pass alternating current only. MLCCs are also used for applications for which high reliability is required, including automotive, medical, and aerospace equipment. In particular, 600 to 1,000 MLCCs are used in one high-end smart phone. Even low-end or midrange models use 300 to 600 MLCCs per unit.
Regarding MLCCs for consumer devices, to meet market demands particularly for those smaller in size, various products have been developed and have become highly competitive capacitors. Recently, the main product size has shifted from 1005M (1.0×0.5mm) to 0603M (0.6×0.3mm) and for wearable devices and small modules, consideration for adoption of 0201M (0.25×0.125mm), the smallest size commercialized in 2014, has been increasing. Since market needs are expected to grow further for smaller components and high-density mounting, Murata will continue to improve its ceramic material pulverization and multilayer technology and propose new product design and easier-to-use solutions.
Chip multilayer ceramic capacitor for automotive
For MLCCs used in automotive application, stricter regulations have been set than those of consumer product MLCCs in the areas of product material selection, design standards, product performance, and process management to achieve higher reliability and longer product life, even though materials and processes are generally the same as those in consumer MLCCs.
MLCCs have been increasingly adopted for safety applications such as airbags and antilock braking systems (ABS), in addition to hybrid and electric vehicles. Moreover, components employed by many customers are becoming smaller and the main size is shifting to 1005M (1.0×0.5 mm) from 1608M(1.6×0.8 mm). Also, these satisfy requirements of temperature cycling tests and high-temperature and high-humidity load tests at 150°C, a step up from the previous guarantee of 125°C. Furthermore, more products meet requirements specific to invehicle applications regarding static electricity and surge tests (ISO7637-2). Recently, products that can be used in higher temperature environments are in demand.
To respond to tough market demands as stated above, Murata has developed more reliable materials, ensured product design margins, and established strict inspection standards for the production process to realize highly reliable products suited to use environments. In 2017, Murata succeeded in commercialization of lead-type resincoated MLCCs resistant to 200°C, and customers are considering adoption. Furthermore, various types of MLCCs according to the use environments have been commercialized, such as water-repellent products and MLCCs with metal terminals jointed.
Also in automotive MLCCs, Murata will continue to create new value for society by developing ceramic materials and improving process and inspection technologies toward creating smaller, more highly reliable, and higher-per formance components.
Moreover, there is a strong desire in the invehicle system market for the stable supply of Murata’s highly reliable components, and to respond to such expectations as the market leader, we are making a maximum equipment investment at domestic and overseas plants. Murata will continue to deliver products with safety and security by identifying customers’ product and supply needs as a continuously trusted company.
TOPICSMeasures to prevent COVID-19 in the capacitor business
Since the risk of COVID-19 infections has emerged, Murata has worked to implement infection prevention measures for employees as the top priority. Although there were confirmed cases of infection at some business sites, causing concern for many people including local residents, we prioritized safety of employees and suspended operation for a few days, thoroughly sanitizing the facilities and implementing infection prevention measures.
Because our main plants are located in Japan, China, the Philippines and Singapore, infection risks differ from country to country and the governments of these countries have different policies against infection, we have adopted a policy to allow the management of each local operation to make judgment and take measures they believe are optimum in accordance with changing situations. We have also worked to maintain favorable relations with the local community by donating face masks and hazmat suits via local governments.
On the other hand, as capacitors are components used in wide-ranging electronic devices, Murata takes it as our responsibility to prevent disruption in supply of products as much as possible for society and our customers. We aim to conduct production activities while seeking to strike the right balance and taking the required precautions against the risk of infection while operating our facilities to meet our commitments to our customers and our employees.
We temporarily experienced restrictions on purchase of materials and components and shipment of our products due to an impact on logistic networks but have maintained or restarted production activities with help from partner companies and collaborating with them.
We aim to continue to take measures to reduce infection risk for everyone involved in Murata’s capacitor business, prioritize safety, and continue to provide necessary support to customers, while at the same time doing all we can to prevent disruption to production activities.