Mass production of the world’s smallest auto parts

Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd., a large Japanese electronic components company, is working on the miniaturization of auto parts. Recently, it has begun mass production of the world’s smallest small and large-capacity chip multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCC) for automotive applications. In June, it began mass production of the world’s smallest ferrite beads for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). With the advancement of autonomous driving and electrification, auto parts are becoming denser, and Murata intends to seize the demand in this field by miniaturizing parts.
Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. started mass production of the smallest size 1 mm × 0.5 mm × 0.4 mm chip multilayer ceramic capacitors for automotive applications in April. The electrostatic capacity showing the storage capacity is 1μF (microfarad), and the volume under the same capacity is about 60% less than the previous minimum size. In terms of dimensions of 1.6 mm × 0.8 mm × 1.25 mm, mass production of new products with capacitance increased to 10 μF (about 10 times the original) has begun. It is reported that the electrostatic capacity of these products is within the capacity range of general vehicles.
Chip multilayer ceramic capacitors are electronic components that keep the voltage in the circuit constant or remove noise through charging and discharging. Calculated by the amount of shipments, Murata has a global market share of 40%, making it the largest manufacturer. In addition to electronic devices such as smart phones and personal computers, chip multilayer ceramic capacitors are also used in automotive control devices and advanced driving assistance systems. With the development of automotive electronics and automation, the use of such parts continues to increase, and each passenger car needs to use about 1,000 to 5,000.
Murata plans to start mass production of small and large-capacity chip multilayer ceramic capacitors for smartphones and other devices in 2020. The size is the world’s smallest 0.25 mm × 0.125 mm, and the capacity is increased to 10 times. Chip multilayer ceramic capacitors are miniaturized by firing clay-like raw materials into flakes. Murata has achieved miniaturization with a capacity that cannot be achieved by other companies by improving the technology of fine-grained raw materials. Car-mounted chip multilayer ceramic capacitors will also use this technology to achieve miniaturization.
Ferrite beads are electronic components that convert noise in the circuit into heat and remove it, thereby keeping the current in the circuit stable. Murata has developed the world’s smallest size of 1.6 mm × 0.8 mm, and mass production will begin in June. The previous minimum size was 2.0 mm × 1.25 mm, but this time through adjustment of the internal structure, the miniaturization was successfully achieved. It is reported that the dedicated area on the substrate can be reduced by 50%.
Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. developed the world’s smallest ferrite bead by changing the internal structure
With the introduction of driving assistance systems and automatic driving systems in automobiles, the number of cases where high-performance processors are equipped to process information sent by sensors and cameras has increased. To provide stable power supply for these vehicle components, capacitors and ferrite beads are essential. With the increase in the number of parts and components, the demand for high safety and miniaturization of components is also increasing.
At present, with the decrease in car sales, etc., the market for automotive electronic components is also declining. Murata expects that in fiscal year 2020 (to March 2021), vehicle sales will decrease by 20% from the previous year, and sales of automotive parts will decrease by 15%. However, the miniaturization of parts will continue in the future. Although Murata has not announced sales targets for new products, etc., it is expected that “automotive parts manufacturers that manufacture driving assistance systems and control devices are expected to expand their adoption.”