The demand for Multi-Layer Ceramic Capacitor (MLCC), a core component of electronic devices, is increasing significantly with the advancement of IT devices. In recent years, automotive MLCC is drawing attention as the "new staple of the industry" as it is expected to drive the growth of the overall MLCC market.
ㅣMLCC, advanced technology in the thickness of hair
The MLCC stores electricity and reliably supplies electricity as needed by active components such as semiconductors (AP and IC) so that chips can operate seamlessly. It is like a dam that traps water and lets it flow only as much as needed. The MLCC supplies a constant current to prevent damage to parts such as semiconductors, so it is installed in most products with electronic circuits, such as TVs, smartphones, home appliances, and automobiles.
The size of MLCC products varies from 0.4mm*0.2mm (a strand of hair is about 0.3mm thick), which is thinner than human hair and invisible to the naked eye, to 5.7mm*5.0mm. Around 1,000 MLCCs are used in a latest smartphone, 10,000 in an automobile, and as many as 30,000 in a luxury car.
ㅣMLCC requires the most difficult tech skill at the micro-level
The MLCC is one of the smallest electronic components, but it is a high-tech product containing 500 to 600 dielectric and electrode layers. If you fill a 300ml wine glass with MLCCs, it will be worth more than several hundred million won.
The core technology of MLCC manufacturing is how to stack many dielectrics in a small space. This is because the more layers you stack, the more electricity you can store. In other words, material technology that makes the dielectric sheet thin and small and manufacturing technology to stack layers uniformly are essential. The technology with the highest entry barrier at the nanotechnology stage is semiconductors, but at the microtechnology stage, the MLCC business has the highest entry barrier.
ㅣ“10,000 MLCCs per vehicle” The automotive MLCC market is growing in size
Because automotive MLCCs are closely related to human life, they require high levels of reliability and durability. To meet the harsh test environment of automobiles, it is essential to develop materials that can withstand high temperatures and high voltages, and to develop microstructure design technology that enhances vibration and moisture resistance.
With a higher technological barrier than IT products, the automotive MLCC market is currently supplier-oriented. As vehicle convenience features improve, demand for MLCCs is projected to continue to grow, such as an increase in the number of electronic control units (ECU) installed for the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS).
As the number of ECUs per vehicle has increased from 30 to more than 100 recently, the MLCC requirement per vehicle is expected to increase by more than 10,000 MLCCs per vehicle. Furthermore, as data processing and power consumption rise with the development of autonomous driving capabilities, high-performance MLCCs are required in large quantities.
According to Morgan Stanley's research, the global MLCC market is forecast to grow to $15.75 billion (about KRW 18.83 trillion) by 2025, and the annual MLCC production is expected to surge to 5.13 trillion.
ㅣSamsung Electro-Mechanics aims to be one of the top two global automotive MLCC manufacturers with core raw material technology
Today, Samsung Electro-Mechanics is focusing on increasing the proportion of industrial and automotive MLCCs. We started the MLCC business in 1986 and began producing industrial and automotive MLCCs in 2016. We have been actively nurturing the automotive MLCC business by establishing a dedicated manufacturing line for automotive MLCCs in Busan. In 2020, we developed MLCCs for automotive powertrains and ABS, which require high technical skills, and established a full lineup of automotive MLCCs as part of our focus on the automotive MLCC market.
Currently, very few companies can develop and internalize core raw materials for MLCC technologies. Samsung Electro-Mechanics aims to become the No. 2 in the automotive MLCC sector by 2022 by developing and manufacturing core raw materials for MLCC, strengthening technological competitiveness, and expanding the business in the automotive MLCC market with in-house facilities and enhanced production capacity.