Components Direct is a leading source for authorized end-of-life and excess electronic components. The products are guaranteed grade A factory sealed direct from the manufacturer and inventoried in a ESD 20.20 certified and ISO 9001 certified state-of-the art-facility. Components Direct is headquartered in Milpitas, CA with locations in the US and Asia.
It has a leading cloud-based platform for excess and obsolete (E&O) inventory. In 2012, Avnet and Components Direct entered in a strategic relationship. Components Direct is the exclusive channel for Avnet’s factory authorized excess and end-of-life components.
Compared to leading industry giants, such as Element14 and RS Components, Components Direct, currently, doesn’t have a detailed menu showcasing listed products, at least not on the home page, as yet. One hopes that’ll make an appearance soon.
Speaking on the mission of Components Direct, Anne Ting, executive VP, Marketing said: “Components Direct is the premier authorized distributor for excess and end-of-life electronic components. We are the only company working directly with manufacturers and their franchised distributors to offer 100 percent guaranteed traceable E&O components as well as technology services to combat counterfeit components and other gray market activity.
“For our supplier partners, we enable them to put excess product back into the control of an authorized source, as opposed to the gray market. For buyers, we provide them with a secure, authorized one-stop shop for excess, obsolete and unsold factory components.”
Combating gray market
How important is it to combat the gray market? Why will this endeavor stop/lessen gray market activity?
According to Ting, the gray market is a serious and growing problem. As early as 2008, a study by KPMG and the Alliance for Gray Market and Counterfeit Abatement (AGMA) stated that as much as $58 billion of technology products were passing through the gray market, and the problem has only gotten worse.
The gray market is rampant throughout all industries, with everyone from engineers, to procurement professionals and consumers impacted negatively when the products they purchase are advertised as new and authentic, but in reality could be used, refurbished or even worse, counterfeit.
In fact, a 2012 study by market research firm IHS found that over 12 million counterfeit electronics and semiconductor components
have entered the distribution chain since 2007, with 57 percent of all counterfeit parts obsolete or end-of-life components. Many of these parts make their way into mission-critical industries, such as defense and aerospace, where a malfunctioning counterfeit part can mean the difference between life and death.
While provisions in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act have enabled the government and trade groups to make some progress towards regulating the supply chain to ensure that components are only sourced directly from the manufacturers or their franchised distributors, the problem has not abated. The Act empowers the federal government to hold contractors financially responsible for replacing counterfeit products.
This, together with other changes, puts more responsibility on suppliers of electronic component to have risk mitigation procedures in place. The issue is become more topical and the industry must act in order to comply with the new legislation.
Components Direct takes this problem seriously, and provides supplier insights and tools to help combat gray market activity. In a recent study we conducted for a leading semiconductor supplier of both analog and digital devices, we discovered that over 124 million units of their product were floating in the gray market across 6,500 plus part numbers.
Over 70 percent of the products were found in Asia, and 20 percent also appeared in both North America and EMEA. The product age spanned many years with date codes of less than one year accounting for 22 percent of their gray market product. A further 5 percent had date codes over 11 years, demonstrating that whether you were an OEM looking for the newest product, or a military sub-contractor looking for obsolete components, no end customer is immune to the presence of unauthorized product.
Components Direct’s technology tools and services track gray market activity and provide suppliers with unprecedented visibility to their product leakage in the gray market by part number, region, data code etc. This data enables our suppliers to trace leakage in their supply chain and lessen potential unauthorized product from getting into the gray market.
Additionally, Components Direct provides suppliers and buyers with a secure, factory authorized channel for selling or purchasing 100 percent guaranteed traceable components. “We only sell products that come directly with manufacturers or their franchised distributors and all our products are inventoried in an ESD 20.20 and ISO 9001 certified facility,” said Ting.As an extension of the manufacturer, Components Direct provides the supply chain buyer with complete confidence and peace of mind that all products originate directly from the manufacturer and have been properly stored, handled and packaged. Sourcing from an authorized source like Components Direct eliminates the risks surrounding product quality, reliability and liability. Read more…
Today, Feb. 14th, has turned out to be a great day for me! I received an email early morning, which stated: PC’s Electronic Components Blog is featured on the list of 100 Top Resources for Electrical Engineers that we published on ElectricalEngineeringSchools.org, USA!
Wow! This happens to be my sixth world title in a row!! The picture of the award badge is given alongside!!!
I am so very happy that my blog on electronic components has bagged an award! I had started my career writing about electronic components for Asian Sources Media, now Global Sources, in Hong Kong.
Back in those days – 1994-1995, there used to be some presence of electronic components made by local manufacturers, especially in Naraina Industrial Area, New Delhi. I still remember, very clearly, doing the rounds of Naraina, along with my friend, Dolly! Back then, most of the components were made for colour TV sets, and a few makers had just started making components for cellular phones.
Today, there are big-sized, very large representatives of electronic components in India.
I recall one of my earlier stories was on DIP switches. There used to be slide and rocker types of DIP switches. I wonder whether they are still used today! Maybe, they are, in some electronic devices! I also recall there used to be some demand for TV antennae at that time, as well as for cell phone antennae! How time has flown by since!!
May I take this opportunity and offer sincere thanks to all of my readers, well wishers, friends and acquaintances I have made over the years for their continuous love and support! Without you, no award is ever possible!
I’d like to conclude by taking the names of two gentlemen, who have spurred me on to write blogs on components, electronics and semiconductors, as well as telecom. They happen to be Alfred Cheng. country manager, Hong Kong, Global Sources, and Spenser Au, former publisher, CTG and now, CEO, Global Sources, Hong Kong, who made me work on the Telecom specs tables.
A word is also due for Raj Gopinath, my editor-in-chief at Asian Sources, and Daniel Tam, who replaced Spenser, back in 1999, as publisher of CTG. Special mention needs to be made of Claudius Chan, who I consider as a ‘guru’ of electronic components. Whatever I am today is largely due to my time spent at Global Sources! Thanks a lot, my dear friends!!
Alfred just sent me a mail saying: Hi Pradeep, How many more prizes would you like to win, my friend? I wish I could write as good as, maybe 50 percent as good as you do since we used to work together in the electronics industry. Thanks a lot, my friend!
You can visit this blog to read more news on the global electronic components industry. There are releases, articles and industry updates, from leading research and consulting houses, such as LEDInside, Frost & Sullivan, etc. Farnell has been a partner, providing updates on RoHS, REACH, WEEE, etc.
PC’s Electronic Components Blog was awarded as a Top Resource For Electrical Engineers 2013 on ElectricalEngineeringSchools.org ! Thanks a lot, dear friends!
Bangalore based AqTronics Technologies Pvt Ltd is an innovator in the distribution and marketing of semiconductors, passives, interconnects, electro-mechanical, IT and enterprise products. It is a focused demand creation distributor for India markets.
He said: “We would like to bring the latest technologies to India and provide an exemplary standard of quality service through superior product marketing, outstanding technical solution support, in-depth inventory, professional selling procedures and the most reliable operational systems in distribution.”
AqTronics to distribute Mouser’s components in India
AqTronics recently entered into an agreement with Mouser Electronics Inc., a leading global distributor of electronic components.
Under the agreement, AqTronics will distribute Mouser’s electronics components in India. All of Mouser’s components are available through AqTronics through INR (Indian Rupees) and USD (US dollars) with Modvat refund.
Mouser Electronics is one of the fastest growing global catalog and web based distributors in the electronics industry. The company is focused on the rapid introduction of newest products, leading edge technologies, and world class customer service.
It is specially focused on design engineers and buyers demanding small to medium quantities of the latest products. Hence, Mouser provides customer-focused distribution.
Mouser is also an authorized distributor for over 390 industry leading manufacturers. With a new catalog every six months, it ensures that the newest products are added and the end-of-life products removed from the print catalog. Mouser’s website features over a million products for easy purchase in USD, INR and with Modvat refund through AqTronics.
USP of AqTronics-Mouser relationship
Ranga Prasad says: “AqTronics’ focus is demand creation distribution. This calls for supporting customers on the complete product development life cycle (PDLC).”
Mouser Electronics will help AqTronics will support customers for — functional engineering, embedded development tool selection, bread board to engineering BOM, prototyping with small quantities, and NPI or pilot production – broken pack (Non MoQ, non MoV).
Components distribution and India advantage
Estimating the global components distribution market, according to Mouser, the semiconductor markets globally are estimated to be $1.2 trillion.
The Indian market share in percentage terms is said to be lesser than 2 percent of the world TAM (total available market). According to the companies, this calls for tremendous growth opportunities for components distribution in the Indian market.
Naturally, the India advantage comes into play!
India, with the second largest population in the world, and a huge talent pool of engineers, is a promising market. Especially, in the R&D activities, there are a lot of technology companies in major cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, etc.
Mouser will focus and continue to put an effort into developing this market. Mouser is very excited about the growth in the Indian market and the opportunity to bring its world class product line card to the region.
AqTronics’ strategies to tap Indian market with Mouser
AqTronics and Mouser have aggressive plans for the Indian market.
According to Ranga Prasad: “Mouser will re-inforce resources in India by increasing its presence through partners, e-marketing through the Internet, e-magazines and appropriate search engines. Mouser’s focus is on bringing the ‘newest parts for the newest designs’, and ensuring that the engineering community is best served with all of the latest parts.
“To support this, AqTronics, and also Mouser, will update their website daily with new parts and components from over 390 major manufacturers. There will also also be a fully updated catalog in India every six months.”
Warehouse in pipeline
Entering India in the electronic components space also calls for having a dedicated warehouse at some point of time. Since customer support is one of Mouser’s strength, the company is serious in its approach toward India, and will provide its best services for after sales support.
Putting appropriate resource to support customers is Mouser’s belief. Therefore, it will not neglect the needs of adding a warehouse wherever and whenever required. It also partners with FEDEX for international operations and has a three-day shipping from Texas, USA, to its customer base in the region.
Companies represented by AqTronics
AqTronics represents the following companies:
Mouser Electronics: Catalogue sales distribution.
Digi International: Leaders in device networking and M2M.
SST: Serial/parallel Flash, NAN drive (solid-state drive), 8051 microcontrollers.
ISSI: Synchronous SRAM, DDR-II, asynchronous SRAM, DRAM, automotive and industrial versions.
Fujistu: Thermal printers, interface boards, touch panels, Bluetooth modules.
Upek: Capacitive type -– large area, swipe sensors, controllers, RSA tokens.
Ember: Zigbee chipsets.
ORing: Ethernet switches.
Sarantel: GPS Geo Helix antennae.
iWatt: AC/DC ICs, DC/DC ICs, Advance power solutions
Tysso: Magnetic swipe readers, keyboards, bar code readers/scanners, POS systems.
Everlight: LED lighting solutions.
MPS: Monolithic power systems — regulators, low drop regulators, battery, chargers/protection, transformer based power supplies.
Narda Batteries: Batteries for telecom, UPS, power, solar energy, emergency lighting and power systems, mobile communications, radio, railways.
Taking on competition
India is also home to leading electronic components and distributors, such as Farnell. Contending with such stiff competition is key on the agenda.
Ranga Prasad adds: “In addition to the strategies mentioned earlier, we would like to re-inforce and strengthen our relationships with the universities’ research teams, and ensure that the engineers are aware of Mouser’s services and support when they are still in the universities.
“Mouser’s focus is driven by ensuring that the latest components are always available. Its stock profile is focused on electronic components, and not on other peripheral ranges.”
Today, the challenge is all about abstraction and putting automation around it. Productivity is automation and abstraction. Tom Feist, senior marketing director, Design Methodology Marketing, Xilinx said that the company’s strategy has been about All Programmable abstractions. He was speaking at the ongoing 13th Global Electronics Summit being held in Santa Cruz, USA.
Today’s hardware design abstractions include accelerated time to integration, abstracting hardware. For IP abstractions, Xilinx has introduced the IP integrator. It enables IP re-use and time to integration. The Vivado uses multiple plug-and-play IP. Vivado IP integrator is co-optimized for platforms and for silicon, respectively.
Vivado IP integrator has features such as correct-by-construction and automated IP systems. Vivado high-level synthesis allows C/C++ abstractions. Xilinx introduced the OpenCV library, accelerating smarter vision. It supports frame-level processing library for PS. It also supports pixel processing interfaces and basic functions for analytics.
Mathworks has model based abstraction. The automatic C and HDL code generation is supported from the same algorithmic level.
Hardware/software partitioning is supported for Zynq-7000 AP SoCs. There are comprehensive video, motor control and signal processing IP libraries. There are automated workflows targeting Xilinx platforms.
Xilinx is also working with National Instruments. The automated C and HDL code generation is from the same graphical syntax in the LabVIEW IDE. It automatically generates a hardware implementation to meet requirements, abstracting Xilinx tool flow. There is a comprehensive software, hardware and I/O platform for creating control and monitoring systems.
Abstraction evolution has evolved to system level abstraction. It is abstracting all hardware through an increasing layer of automation.
All Programmable realization empowers software and systems engineers. There is a common compilation environment for heterogenous systems. It consumes C, C++ or OpenCL and libraries with user directives. There is automated flow — the user determines the program modules that run on various components.
The Vivado Design Suite 2013 abstractions with IP based design, C, C++, SystemC and OpenCV is new. Mathworks and National Instruments system level design abstractions with new levels of automation is emerging. Xilinx’s vision has been to empower the software and systems engineers by extending abstractions and automation.
The insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) is a three-terminal power semiconductor device. The main trends impacting IGBT include the power stack trend, revolution of Chinese IGBT, growth of IGBT use in consumer applications, and competition from SiC and GaN based devices, respectively.
According to Alexander Avron, Yole Developpement, current density of the IGBT has been multiplied by 3.5 in 20 years. IGBT technology is now very mature, using trenches and thin wafer. Wafer size for IGBT production is still growing and Infineon is currently the leader.
Infineon expects a cost advantage of 20-30 percent by increasing the wafer size from 8- to 12-inches. For Infineon, the 12-inch production line is for MOSFETSs, and they will probably produce IGBT 600V on thin wafer. Fairchild and IR prefer to remain at 8-inch.
A new generation release is always a low voltage product (600-900V). Main improvements have been in losses reduction. In the IGBT supply chain, vertically integrated companies are Japanese only, besides a few, like ABB. Only a few companies, like Danfoss, take advantage of doing module and inverter for motor drives. In a cost-driven market, there is not much competitive advantage in developing own module.
Trends impacting IGBT
Power stack trend - The need for more modularity and higher performance made components makers (active and passive) to join and create consortiums or JVs. It is trending toward more integration.
Revolution of the Chinese IGBT - First Chinese companies are starting to manufacture IGBTs using standard technology and low cost, perfect for a local market. Asian players are becoming a greater part of the IGBT market. While they do not make a lot of devices as yet, it is expected that they will quickly gain market shares in low cost local businesses.
Some new entrants include CSMC, Hua-Hong NEC, PSMC, BYD, Grace Semiconductor, Alpha & Omega Semiconductor, etc. Many Chinese companies are very close to or already able to manufacture their own IGBTs. This will grow and create a Chinese IGBT.
Growth of IGBT use in consumer applications - IGBTs are becoming more part of the consumer lifestyle. Renewable energies and EV/HEV are good examples. Pioneers of HV IGBT have the best market shares. Margin for HV IGBT modules is high. It is first in the EV/HEV and renewables markets. New markets are targeted by all players.
The ASP evolution of consumer markets has dropped down very fast as compared to the industrial markets. Also, DLB or direct lead bonding is a specific technology from Mitsubishi Electric to produce epoxy molded power modules for hybrid and electric cars. Mass production is targeted for 2013.
Competition from SiC and GaN - Next generation devices are becoming available. They will displace IGBT, but not at all the levels and in all the applications. Characteristics of GaN-based inverters are: they primarily target medium voltage apps (200-600V range). SiC diodes are already in production, mainly coupled with IGBT. Penetration of SiCs in wind turbines will happen later than expected.
As for the 2006-2020 power devices market forecast, Yole expects a more stable growth by 2020. There was an unanticipated slowdown in 2012. The market share in 2011 was Mitsubishi 27 percent, Infineon 23 percent, Fuji Electric 11 percent, etc. The IGBT market share was Infineon 35 percent, Mitsubishi 32 percent, Hitachi 12 percent, ABB 9 percent, respectively.
Yole estimates that at least 15 companies – foundries, fab lights and fabs — are working on IGBT development in China.
I don’t really know who has added me there, or where they are getting all of their information. All I can humbly say is: thanks a lot, very sincerely, to Wikipedia!
Wikipedia has said I’ve been staying at my Delhi residence since 1984! Well, that’s the year my father, late, Pramode Ranjan Chakraborty, bought this house. Later, in 1986, he, along with my mother, late Mrs Bina Chakraborty, moved to this house.
Why this huge gap in our buying the house and moving in? Well, not many folks know that my parents met with a near fatal accident on Jan. 27, 1986 in the early hours of the day at New Delhi. They were going home by an auto-rickshaw to our home at Greater Kailash-II, New Delhi, when an Ambassador car rammed into their auto-rickshaw full on!
That’s also the day my life changed completely! I was still a student, playing cricket with friends, when my aunt called us from Delhi. We rushed to Delhi, to find our parents badly injured! I personally had to say goodbye to cricket, and turned attention to finding work to somehow run the family! I finally moved to Delhi in Nov. 1987, and that’s where my so-called ‘professional’ life started!
It has been a great ride ever since! All the hard work done seems to have paid off. First, I must mention Gratian Vas, who took me in at Holy Faith International back in 1988. My first brush with electronics was at SBP Consultants & Engineers a year later, followed by Electronics For You. However, it was at DiSyCom magazine, under Arun Bhattacharjee, where I learned the ropes.
Later, I was hired by late Ms Rashmi Bhushan to write for electronic components magazine published by Asian Sources Media. That’s when my life changed significantly! Not only did Asian Sources Media, now, Global Sources, hire me as the full-time telecom editor and take me to Hong Kong, it gave me first-hand view of China and how it grew in the world of electronics! It has been a fascinating journey ever since!
Thereafter, it was at Reed Elsevier, in Singapore, where I had the late Ian Shelley, Michael Tan, Paul Beh and Swee Heng Tan for company. Everywhere, I learned a lot! That’s what I continue to do even today!
The world can give me as many awards and folks can call me anything, but I shall always remain, yours truly!
PMC-Sierra Inc. has launched the PM5440 DIGI 120G, said to be the industry’s only single-chip OTN processor supporting 10G, 40G and 100G speeds for OTN transport.
Elaborating, Kevin So, senior product line manager, PMC, said: “PMC is the first to integrate support for 12x10G, 3x40G or 1x100G in a single piece of silicon to address OTN transport (point-to-point), OTN aggregation (multiplexing) and OTN switching deployments. For example, with DIGI 120G, an OEM can design a line card on a P-OTP that supports 12x10G supporting per port configurable multi-service like OC-192/STM-64, 10GE, OTU2 or Fiber Channel.”
Using the same chip and same software investment, they can also design a 3x40G card supporting 40GE, OC-768/STM-256 or OTU3. Another card can be designed to support 100GE or OTU4. An OEM can design 10+ cards across multiple platforms leveraging a single R&D investment using DIGI 120G. This also translates into the lowest cost of ownership for the OEMs, while achieving a time to market advantage.
How does OTN allow for flexible aggregation and switching from 1G to 100G? For that matter, what can this device do?
OTN is a defined as a carrier grade protocol to transparently carry and switch and aggregate multi-service traffic including 1GE all the way to 100GE over a WDM. The protocol is an ITU-T standard, and supports ODU0 (which is 1G) to ODU4 (which is 100G). In addition, OTN defines something called ODUflex, which is a flexible container that can be adjusted up and down from 1G to 100G in increments of 1G.
PMC’s DIGI 120G supports all these OTN container rates and enable the ability to multiplex and switch traffic between them. In addition, DIGI 120G provides the ability to scale ODUflex to carry packet traffic ranging from 1G to 100G without service interruption. DIGI 120G is a single chip solution that uniquely enables the transponders, muxponders and line cards on ROADMs and P-OTPs.
What are the innovations done by the PM5440 DIGI 120G? What if there is some new chip coming out?
Reducing line card power and bill-of-material by more than 50 percent, PMC’s DIGI 120G stands uniquely differentiated as:
* Industry’s only single-chip solution delivering 12x10G, 3x40G or 1x100G port densities.
* Industry’s highest number of 10G ports enabling 2x higher density 10G OTN line cards.
* Industry’s highest gain 40G/100G enhanced-FEC extending optical reach by 2x vs GFEC.
* Industry’s only 120G OTN solution with OIF’s OTN-over-Packet Fabric Protocol (OFP).
* First OTN processor to enable hitless packet traffic scaling with ITU-T’s G.hao/G.7044.
* Flexible per port client-mapping of OTN, Ethernet, Storage, IP/MPLS and SONET/SDH.
* Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE), 1588v2 Precision Time Protocol (PTP), and Ethernet Link OAM (802.3ah) delivering per port Carrier Ethernet performance.
To deliver these innovations, PMC integrated well over a billion transistors. The level of silicon integration is unprecedented – requiring engineering capabilities unmatched in the telecom industry. So added that PMC worked closely with tier-1 OEM customers from the start at the requirements phase in order to tailor the solution for their systems. As a result, the DIGI 120G is a key architectural element of their system.
By when does PMC sees enterprises ‘really’ going in for products with PM5440 DIGI 120G, to support Big Data? And, what happens if they still don’t?
So noted: “We have been working with our customers for the last few months developing their line cards using DIGI 120G. We are confident they will take their products using DIGI 120G to production in 2013.”
Does PMC actually see a reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM) revolution?
According to So, a couple of things are happening in the ROADM market. On the photonics side, products are now available to allow service providers to deploy very flexible wavelength switches that are color independent, direction independent, wavelength contention-free and support flexible ITU grid widths.
On the platform architecture side, we are seeing a move away from traditional muxponders and transponders line card architectures where the client ports are fixed to a specific optical uplink port (wavelength). Instead, OEMs want to de-couple the client ports from the uplink optical capacity for great flexibility and in order to achieve better bandwidth utilization especially as the industry starts deploying 100G wavelengths.
Services in the network, especially those from the metro network edge is still largely 1G or 10G rates. To achieve this flexibility, central fabrics are added to the ROADM platform to support OTN switching. PMC’s Metro OTN processor family, including our latest DIGI 120G, enable OEMs to build line cards that can switch OTN and packet simultaneously in these platform architectures.
Finaly, is the bandwidth of common modulation format for 100G and beyond too broad for ROADMs?
Kevin So concluded: “OTN, as a protocol, is designed to scale to beyond 100G. The standard bodies are already working on this now. ROADMs, as a hardware platform will scale, but new components and technologies will likely be needed to take them beyond 100G.”
SLIMbus is a multi-drop, time division multiplexed serial bus. It has one clock and one data line, with CMOS signalling and no analog PHY. It is targeted for low bandwidth connectivity between the AP/modem and audio/Bluetooth/haptic. SLIMbus was originally specified by the MIPI Alliance in 2007. Arasan’s total IP solution delivery demystifies the adoption of SLIMbus.
According to Ajay Jain, director, Mobile Connectivity Products, Arasan Chip Systems, the SLIMBus system overview includes a host component (e.g., apps processor), a device component (e.g., a broadband modem), and a SLIMbus device component (e.g., audio processor, Bluetooth modem). The logical implementation of SLIMbus system feature is realized through devices within SLIMbus IPs.
The AP/modem have software infrastructure and an active manager device that manages the SLIMbus. Any component can have a framer device activated to drive the SLIMbus CLK. Each component can have one or more generic devices to buffer and transmit/receive audio and other data.
The physical layer enables TDM. The data line NRZI is encoded. The active framer can drive clock gears 1 to 10 for power management. There is an interleaving of control and data on the SLIMbus frames.
As far as device evaluation and enumeration are concerned, each component initializes its devices in correct order under the direction of the interface device. The active framer drives the SLIMbus CLK and framing channels with default values. All components perform frames, superframes and message synchronization. All active devices report presence and characteristics with broadcast messages. Arasan provides the software stack to perform SLIMbus.
The SLIMbus allows a finite set of channel rate multipliers (data segments/superframes). If SLIMbus CLK frequency, it allows channel rate multiplier of audio data rate. Other transfer protocols may be preferred in certain cases, e.g., flow control required, pushed or pulled protocol. All transfer protocols are programmable through the Arasan software stack.
Each port-port connection needs to be mapped onto a SLIMbus data channel. There is two-channel audio on SLIMbus data channels 6 and 7. A subframe length of 32 slots is assumed. The SLIMbus is amazing, yet complex. There are a finite set of parameters. Arasan’s IPs have addressed the low-level complexities of implementation.
I had the pleasure of interacting many times with Norman CM Lui, CEO, Skymos back in 2006. Established 1983, Skymos Electronics Ltd is one of the foremost designers and manufacturers of chip components, specializing in multilayer chip inductors, ferrite chip beads, multilayer chip ceramic capacitors, chip resistors and resistor networks. It has been awarded ISO 9001 and 9002 approval.
It was among the few suppliers offering multilayer chip inductors, ferrite chip beads, chip resistors, low-temperature co-fired ceramic capacitors (LTCC), etc.
Back then, he spoke of the applications of MLCCs that were generally in Bluetooth, GPS, cable TV equipment, satellite, etc. For example, taxis plying with GPS would need high Q (quality) MLCCs. New applications include converged handsets, MP4 players, PS3, digital cameras and video cameras; flat-panel high-definition TVs; dual-core multiprocessors (for motherboards, notebooks, desktop PCs and scanners); and automotive electronics.
Lui said most suppliers were more concerned about the 3H – high capacitance, high voltage and high frequency – for MLCCs, as well as high Q (quality factor). The frequency of MLCCs had become much higher as the termination is done on the top, instead of the sides.
Various types of dielectric were being used for MLCCs – such as the BaTiO3, NP0/C0G, XSR/X7R and Y5V/Z5U, respectively. The X5R allowed more capacitance for MLCCs and dielectric constant (K) was higher. The NP0/C0G group supported capacitance ranging from 1pF to 1µF and up to 10nF.
As for the electrodes, Pd/Ag was being used and Ni was also being used currently. For Pd/Ag electrode, the termination was in Ag/Ni/Sn. For Ni electrode, termination was mainly in Cu/Ni/Sn. Skymos is currently focusing on the Pd/Ag electrodes for MLCCs.
One major development was the use of BME (base metal electrode). Lui said that moving from the current electrode to BME would require lot of investment of about $50 million. For using BME, suppliers would need to install all new equipment, especially for the furnace, which would be used to oxidize the Ni element.
Another development has been the improvement in capacitance. Using BME for 0402, suppliers can produce MLCCs with high capacitance, such as 2.2µF, 3.3µF/6.3V, etc. Earlier, capacitance was 0.47µF using Pd/Ag electrode. The BME could enable higher capacitance due to an increase in the number of active layers.
For instance, the dielectric was 8-10 microns when using Pd/Ag electrodes. Using BME, the dielectric became 2-3 microns. The corresponding values for 0603 type is 10µF/6.3V using BME, 47µF for 0805, and 220µF for 1206. MLCCs have replaced those applications that previously required tantalum capacitors.
Another development has been the advent of the MLCC array, which has more applications in the PC industry. This array can reduce the EMI. Skymos is offering this MLCC array. It also improves the high Q, voltage and capacitance.
On the issue of MLCCs vs. ultracapacitors, Lui said, suppliers could already reach up to 220µF capacitance via MLCC, which were replacing tantalum capacitors. The tantalum capacitors were now being used for applications requiring 220µF-330µF capacitance. As a result, all other types of capacitors were dropping in demand, as compared to MLCCs. Ultracapacitors were intended to replace the Ni battery. However, there has also been a shift to oxide batteries.
The supplier’s R&D strategy includes focusing on 3H and possibly, BME. It also reduced the insulation loss and noise by grounding. The MLCC combined a capacitor and a filter. I hope Skymos has produced 20KV MLCCs. It was already offering 10KV MLCCs.
Most of this data actually appeared in Global Sources Electronics Components magazine in 2006!