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Murata Manufacturing: Ceramic Capacitors


Ceramic Capacitors

Ceramic capacitors are essential parts of modern-day electric appliances. With the recent diversification of electric appliance functions, electronic circuits that can be operated at a lower voltage with higher current are increasingly in demand. Inside such circuits, capacitors store electricity, raise and lower voltage, and pass only alternate current by blocking direct current as required. In today’s world, it is difficult to find appliances that do not use capacitors. On average, 230 to 300 capacitors are used in a mobile phone, 650 to 700 in a personal computer, and approximately 1,000 in a liquid crystal television. Combined, the total number of capacitors used in a standard household can be more than 5,000; they are an integral part of daily life.

There are many types of capacitors, differing in structure and shapes. Among them, ceramic capacitors are stable even under overload conditions, sturdy and long lasting, and easy to miniaturize. Consequently, ceramic capacitors are the most commonly used and indeed account for 80% of total capacitor production recently.

Murata Manufacturing is the leading manufacturer of ceramic capacitors in the world, accounting for a quarter of global sales of this type of component.

Here, Murata Manufacturing’s ceramic capacitors are showcased alongside the company’s unique manufacturing strength.

History of Murata Manufacturing

Murata Manufacturing is a specialist manufacturer of electronic components.

The electronic components produced by Murata Manufacturing are essential to the manufacture of home appliances and mobile phones, sectors in which oversea companies have large market shares.

Murata Manufactuing was established in Kyoto in 1944, and initially concentrated on the manufacturing of ceramic products. Its founder and first president, Akira Murata, succeeded in developing a titanium capacitor. This titanium capacitor became the prototype for the ceramic capacitor that is, today, the company’s core product; this titanium capacitor is therefore regarded as springboard that inspired dramatic progress. 

From around 1955, an exponential rise in global demand for televisions and transistor radios led to an explosion in requirements for ceramic capacitors, which are a vital part of many electronic components. At the same time, Murata Manufacturing made the decision to establish its research division as an independent company, Omiya Technology Research Laboratory Company. This was in order to allow researchers to equip themselves with the very latest research equipment and to lay the groundwork for independent and innovative research and development. From this period onwards, the spirit of groundbreaking research and development has been at the very core of corporate philosophy.

Murata Manufacturing began to produce outstanding new technologies and products, including PTC thermistors, mechanical filters, and lead zirconate titanate. It expanded its domestic bases and worked its way up from a small company based in Kyoto to a powerful national corporate presence. The company experienced extended growth as national and international demand for electronic components continued to rise.

From 1959 onwards, Murata Manufacturing turned its attention to expansion overseas, much earlier than many Japanese companies. Its strategic moves to establish itself overseas doubtless helped it to achieve its present day status as a top class international electronic component manufacturer.

Murata Manufacturing’s core products, its ceramic capacitors, currently account for one-fourth of global market share. In addition to these core products, the company also produces and sells a diverse range of other electronic components, including surface wave filters, ceramic resonators, and piezoelectric sensors, all of which enjoy overwhelming worldwide market share. “Murata” is a world-class brand.

Murata Manufacturing’s Ceramic Capacitors

Murata Manufacturing started producing ceramic capacitors in 1947. Sustained growth has lead to  the total number of capacitors sold by the company to exceed 4 trillion in 2011. Murata Manufacturing trades with electronics companies around the world. The company’s multilayer ceramic capacitors are a widely used in daily appliances and automotive products, as well as in space technology instruments, such as satellites. Moreover, as the only manufacturer certified by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Murata Manufacturing provides ceramic capacitors for spacecraft such as the Hayabusa asteroid probe, as well as for relay stations of submarine optical cables.

Key features of these ceramic capacitors are their ultra-compact size and high capacitance. In line with the company’s slogan “Thinner, Smaller, and More Precise,” Murata Manufacturing is currently producing multilayer ceramic capacitors thinner than 0.5 mm. In addition to their extreme compactness, these capacitors boast superior heat resistance while maintaining a long life without the need for maintenance, assuring higher reliability. Ceramic capacitors for solar panels, which were announced in August, 2011, can be compatible up to about 125°C, are not damaged by up to a 6 mm deflection in the host circuit board, and exhibit high resistance against heat stresses and mechanical shock. Integration of such miniaturized and high capacitance capacitors can lead to a reduction in the number of parts in devices, contributing to a significant cost reduction for electronics equipment manufacturers.

The reason why Murata Manufacturing is leading the world in capacitors is because the company conforms to the ‘basic guiding principle of quality control’ by which the company manages whole steps in manufacturing. The Murata’s special cutting-edge technologies are utilized throughout product design, material selection and procurement, and production as well as sales, and services. Products that are manufactured under this principle are necessarily uniform to exceptionally small tolerances, and it can be said that the unrivaled collective strength of Murata Manufacturing contributes to this fact.  Currently, it is even said that none of the machines around the world would work without Murata’s capacitors.

Commercialization of the World’s Thinnest Capacitors

Recently, a new generation of technologies by which passive components can be embedded inside circuit boards has been established, based on the advanced concept of circuit board integration. It is expected that the embedding of capacitors inside circuit boards, which were once mounted on circuit boards, may allow the downsizing and high-density integration of end products. Murata Manufacturing has been also striving to commercialize multilayer ceramic capacitors for embedding, and has developed and started mass-producing the world’s thinnest such capacitor, with a thickness of 220 μm and a size of 1.0 mm × 0.5 mm.

Additionally, in 2011, Murata Manufacturing succeeded in commercializing the world’s first 0402 size (0.4 mm × 0.2 mm) capacitor, the HiQ-type multilayer ceramic capacitor, which are used in high frequency module applications, and started its mass production in October 2011. This capacitor is just as small as a strawberry seed.

These capacitors are just two examples of Murata Manufacturing’s products, which typify the high technological competence the company possesses. Murata Manufacturing has been continuously commercializing cutting-edge capacitors with the highest possible quality and it is expected that they will continue to dominate the global market of electronic circuits.

Masterpieces of Murata Technology: Murata Seisaku-kun (Murata Boy) and Murata Seiko-chan (Murata Girl)

Here we showcase masterpiece products, in which outstanding electronic component technologies made by Murata Manufacturing are being integrated.

Murata Boy is a humanoid that is able to ride a bicycle without falling down. Its impressive bicycling skills include being able to move forward, make right and left turns, travel up and down inclines, and stop. Murata Boy is 50 cm tall and weighs 5 kg. ‘He’ was first showcased in 2005.

Murata Girl, which is an upgraded humanoid developed based on Murata Boy, is able to ride a unicycle. ‘She’ was first showcased in 2008. 

The biggest achievement of Murata Boy and Murata Girl is their ability to cycle while maintaining their balance without falling over. This ‘stay steady’ system is possible thanks to the gyro sensor located in the chest area of the robots. The gyro sensor detects any slanting of the robots along the left-right axis, and this information is used to maintain balance by rotating a disk weight to compensate for any slant detected.  

Multiple other cutting-edge technologies and components are used in these robots: for example, an ‘ultrasonic sensor’ is used to detect obstacles to avoid collision, and a ‘shock sensor’ is used to detect bumps and unevenness in the road.

In 2010, Murata Boy underwent modification to bring him more in line with the current emphasis on environmental friendliness in technology performance. The modified version, Murata Boy Type ECO, has a number of new features, including the incorporation of an electric double layer capacitor, which makes quick charging and discharging possible.

Jun 11, 2012 (Rewritten)
Oct 20, 2011

About the author
Hiromi Jitsukata is a reporter for JapanestNIPPON
( Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. )
Nominal capacitance 1.0 µF
Rated voltage 6.3 VDC
Operating temperature range −55℃ to +85℃
Temperature characteristics X5R characteristics (capacitance tolerance: ±15%)
GJM02 Series (World’s smallest HiQ-type capacitor: 0402 size)
Capacitance range 0.2 to 10 pF
Rated voltage 16 VDC