[IC design] Chen Yongxue from Eyang: Next year, 5G mobile phones and base stations will greatly stimulate the demand for MLCC
From December 19 to 21, ELEXCON 2019 sponsored by Bowen Creative Exhibition (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. was held in Shenzhen, during which IEE EMBEDDED EXPO, IoT World China and EV&AUTOTRONICS China (EVAC) were also held. Four exhibitions, seven exhibition areas, more than 10 summit meetings and 600+ supply chain exhibitors jointly created a grand event of the electronic technology week from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
At the exhibition, the reporter visited the booth of Shenzhen Eyang Technology Development Co., Ltd. and interviewed Chen Yongxue, Director of Eyang Strategic Development Center in terms of the current situation and trend of the MLCC industry development. The specific content of the interview is as follows:
Reporter: Mr. Chen, would you please first introduce the key products on display at this exhibition?
Chen Yongxue: Eyang, founded in 2001, is an independent brand enterprise focusing on the field of multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCC). The key products displayed at this exhibition include ultra-miniature 01005 encapsulation capacitors, high-temperature X6/X7 series capacitors and high-capacitance series capacitors, as well as our newly developed RF high-power series products.
The size of 01005 is only 0.4*0.2*0.2mm, which is very suitable for 5G mobile phone, smart wearables, embedded chip and other industrial applications.
For high- capacitance series products, we have completed the technical development of 0201-2.2uF. At the same time, we are also actively preparing for the production capacity of large-size and high-capacitance products.
The working temperature of high-temperature X6 series ranges from - 55℃ to 105 ℃, and the working temperature of X7 ranges from – 55 ℃ to 125 ℃.With the continuous improvement of the processing speed of CPU, GPU and other main chips, more and more functions become available, and the working temperature of terminal products continues to rise. In this case, the reliability advantage of high-temperature products will be very obvious, greatly improving the high-temperature reliability of the whole equipment.
RF high-power UPC series products feature high Q value and low ESR, which are very suitable for use in 5G base station and other RF high-power scenarios.
Reporter: Is there great difficulty in high capacitance?
Chen Yongxue: High capacitance is difficult for sure. The core technology of MLCC is the thin layer of medium, in which the capacitance can be increased by the way of single layer thinning and multi-layer stacking. In a fixed size encapsulation, it is a great challenge for our material technology, design technology and the whole process to improve capacitance. After nearly 20 years of development, Eyang has a very deep technical accumulation in the field of thin layer technology.
Reporter: Currently, what is the approximate scale of MLCC? Now the company is also continuing to expand production. What scale do you expect it will reach next year or in the future?
Chen Yongxue: We have two production bases in South China and East China, with an annual production capacity of about 200 billion pieces. The company continues to be optimistic about MLCC. This year, we are also planning new production bases in South China and East China. The new production base in South China alone is 10 times the area of the existing factory in South China. In the next five years, the company is expected to invest 2 billion yuan to increase its production capacity by at least five times. On the basis of maintaining the advantages of miniaturization technology, the production of large-size products with high capacitance, large-size products with medium and high voltage will be expanded, while the industrial level and higher reliability requirements will be met, such as servers, base stations, vehicle-mounted electronics, etc.
Reporter: With the advent of 5G, does Eyang have any products or product strategies in this respect?
Chen Yongxue: With higher and higher integration of 5G product chips, more and more diversified functions, the working temperature of products will continue to rise. In order to achieve a good filtering effect and continuously improve the reliability of products, the ultra-miniature products such as 0201 and 01005, high-temperature products and high-capacitance products mentioned above are very suitable for these circuit application scenarios. We have developed corresponding products for application scenarios such as broadband transmission required by 5G optical modules, in-chip wiring and base station microwave high power.
Reporter: How do you promote this line of products? For MLCC or other similar products, do you have any promotion methods?
Chen Yongxue: Eyang has a professional strategic development and technical service team. First, we communicate with the most front-end chip solution manufacturers, optimize the capacitor selection, and directly write it into the reference design circuit; Second, from the early R&D and circuit design stage of the whole machine customers, we have started to deeply get involved in providing customers with the suggestions on optimizing the selection, helping customers to handle costdown actions. Reasonable design plays a key role in the later procurement cost and delivery.
Reporter: Do you have any technical cooperation in the industry?
Chen Yongxue: We have both domestic industry-university-research cooperation and technical exchanges with international experts. We have participated in the National 863 Program with domestic manufacturers to carry out project cooperation and development. We have also employed international senior process engineers and senior quality control engineers with many years of MLCC experience as consultants.
Reporter: What reserves do you have in terms of your own patents?
Chen Yongxue: Yes, we have many patents, including invention patents and utility model patents.
Reporter: What about materials?
Chen Yongxue: In terms of materials, we mainly adopt the mode of joint development with upstream suppliers, including international and domestic excellent material manufacturers. We will plan our own material development center in the new South China base.
Reporter: So what’s the proportion of your business in the industry?
Chen Yongxue: Because Eyang’s current advantage is miniaturized products, we are now mainly engaged in consumer terminal industries such as mobile phone, Netcom, module, etc., and these customers account for about 90% in our shipments.
Reporter: You just said that thinning will reach a peak. How far is your current technology from this peak?
Chen Yongxue: In fact, technical breakthrough is realized step by step, just like semiconductors, it was hard to imagine that it would reach 3 nanometers. I think it will take some time for the whole industry to work together. From raw materials to R&D and design, and then to equipment and technology, it is a process of continuous improvement and breakthrough in the whole industrial chain. MLCC is still promising, and we have a lot to do.
Reporter: For example, the existing encapsulation, like 0402, 0201, and even 01005, will they continue to be scaled down?
Chen Yongxue: Yes, we are already developing 008004 encapsulation products.
Reporter: When is this kind of product expected to be available?
Chen Yongxue: We expect to launch 008004 in 2021.
Reporter: How big is the global MLCC market? What approximate percentage does Eyang account for?
Chen Yongxue: The global demand for MLCC is more than 4 trillion pieces, and we account for about 5%.
Reporter: Do you think there will be any new incremental market for MLCC products in 2020? Or Do you think there are some good directions for it?
Chen Yongxue: 5G communication technology is a hot topic. Recently, single SOC chips of mobile phone chip solution providers have been released successively, and terminal manufacturers have released 5G mobile phones valued within 2,000 yuan. I think these will greatly accelerate the adoption of 5G mobile phones. Major operators and equipment manufacturers are also stepping up their efforts to occupy the 5G base station market. I think 5G mobile phones and base stations will be a very big growth point in the demand for MLCC next year.
Reporter: Since SG base stations are not available in many second and third-tier cities, plus some of its modules debugging and docking, there are still a lot of problems.
Chen Yongxue: Compared with 4G base stations, 5G base stations have weaker coverage. The number of base stations needed for networking is about 4-5 times that of 4G. There are more stringent requirements for various design indicators and performance, and system debugging and optimization may be more difficult than 4G. In the middle of this year, 5G commercial licenses have been issued to several major operators in China, and 5G infrastructure has been under large-scale construction. Mobile phone is a fast iterative product. As chip manufacturers and terminal manufacturers speed up access to the market, consumers will soon only buy mobile phones that support 5G.