Time for solid polymer capacitors!

March 25, 2007

Well, aluminum electrolytic capacitors may sound boring to many… but the level of expertise that goes into producing one, rather, developing a new technology, is fascinating. However, components as a subject is quite tough, and not many are willing to write on it, or even keen on doing interviews. Even I struggle at times, to be honest.

Some of the leading makers in Hong Kong, which is also home to Man Yue, the seventh largest maker in the world, are actually quite good at aluminum electrolytic capacitors, and now, the solid polymer capacitors.

Man Yue has been working jointly with one of Mainland China’s most prestigious universities, the Tsinghua University, Beijing, to set up a research institute in Shenzhen focusing on chemical technology and material science.

Man Yue is offering conductive polymer aluminum solid capacitors under X-Con brand name. These are suitable for computer motherboards and other high-end circuit boards. X-Con conductive polymer aluminum solid capacitors are suitable for all LCD/PDP control panel, high-end video card, sound card, peripherals, electronic devices in cars, etc. Man Yue launched the X-Con series in 2006, in partnership with Tsinghua University.

The X-Con comes in three series – general-type, low ESR and surface-mount. Man Yue expects demand to pick up, mainly for motherboards, graphic cards, high-end circuit boards, etc.

The best thing about conductive polymer aluminum solid capacitors is that the electrolyte would not leak out as it is solid and there will be no explosions. The characteristics of the conductive polymer aluminum solid capacitors include very low ESR and very high ripple current.

I remember Stanley Wong, business development director, Man Yue, mentioning that plasma TV makers were thinking of switching from electrolytic to solid capacitors. Prices of conductive polymer aluminum solid capacitors are said to be about five to 10 times higher than electrolytic type aluminum capacitors.

Man Yue is also working on the R&D for high-end capacitors, which are useful for alternate energy applications, called super capacitors. Some friends of mine from Taiwan and Korea would be more than willing to add their observations on super capacitors, I’m sure.

Man Yue has ISO9001:2000 and ISO14001 certifications. It would be certified ISO/TS16949 by Q2-07. It has been RoHS compliant since Q2-2004. Wong said it had placed orders for ICPE-9000 machine, which was scheduled for delivery by end of 2006.

“This machine grinds the capacitor into powder and checks for banned substances,” he added. “We have the RoHS lab as well.” Man Yue has four XRF machines. It is planning to purchase the GCMS-QP2010 Plus, another high-end testing machine, which checks for banned substances. It will purchase the UVmini-1240 machine as well. Goodness me! So much of sophistication is required, which makes me believe that not all folks would be able to offer such products. Would be interesting to see.

According to Raymond Lee, sales manager, Fujicon, another leading maker from Hong Kong, most customers request for RoHS products. Fujicon produces PET (6P) aluminum electrolytic capacitors. Some specific Japanese customers request these products.

Lee said: “For the RoHS requirements, we call it 3P. PET meets the 6P standard. This is currently applicable in Japan. Soon, it would become the requested standard globally.”

According to him, PVC was not environment friendly. Lee added that soon, all toy products would also require 6P products. Fujicon can offer both 3P and 6P aluminum electrolytic capacitors. It assigns testing of product samples to companies such as SGS in Hong Kong.

Fujicon has developed a new series of V-chip capacitors for high voltage. Regarding the use of electrolyte, Lee said, there had been several developments to improve the electrolyte that would make capacitors safer, with lower ESR.

Fujicon is collaborating with some other aluminum electrolytic capacitors to produce solid polymer capacitors. Lee said these capacitors can function better, having characteristics such as very low ESR and impedance, at high frequency.

Ok, over to my friends for more on this subject.

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