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Apple Supplier Murata is building out Production of key Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors to Keep Up with demand for 5G iPhones

1 cover MLCC's


Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. is a Japanese manufacturer that is the world’s largest maker of ceramic capacitors of electronic components for Apple and other handset makers. The demand for Apple's 5G iPhone 12 is so high that its pressuring Murata to cancel holidays for plant workers in order to keep up.


More specifically, Murata is the global leader in MLCC, or multilayer ceramic capacitors, used to regulate electric flow in circuit boards. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of them are attached to electronics ranging from smartphones to automobiles. Murata's MLCC is reported to have 10 times higher capacitance than parts with the same footprint.


One source described Murata's MLCCs as being as small as a grain of sand (as shown in our cover graphic) giving customers valuable space to stuff bigger batteries or more advanced electronics in space-constrained devices.


The tiny component is produced by grinding down the ceramic powder that serves as the raw material and crushing it into a thick paste. Murata said it had improved the powder so the paste can be pressed into ultrathin sheets. That means more sheets can be stacked, boosting how much electricity can be stashed in the device without increasing its area. The part comes with capacitance of 0.1μF and measures only 0.25 mm by 0.125 mm.


In Bloomberg's report posted late yesterday they noted that the president of the Kyoto-based company said that "The industry had 300 million units of 5G smartphones during the current fiscal year, and I expect that to increase to at least 500 million in the next fiscal year. We will continue making capital expenditure to keep up with the growing demand."


President Norio Nakajima stated back in a December interview that Murata’s factories wouldn't be taking a holiday break in order to catch up with mounting orders, adding "the situation is most severe with our cutting-edge capacitors for smartphone use."


Ace Research Institute’s Hideki Yasuda doesn’t expect demand from Apple and its ilk to drop at any point in this calendar year, fueled by stronger-than-anticipated consumer appetite for 5G phones. Handsets set to be released this year are also going to be compatible with a wider set of frequencies, expanding the need for Murata-made components to adjust electricity flow. For more on this, read the full Bloomberg report.


On December 31st we reported that a Wedbush analyst wrote to clients stating that Apple's Asian supply-chain checks had exceeded even their 'Bull' case scenario for the iPhone 12. In that light, it shouldn't be surprising that the strength of Apple's 5G iPhones sales are placing pressure on all of their suppliers to keep the momentum rolling.


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