Technical Library

Latest Technology Trends in Capacitors and Circuit Products

NICHICON CORPORATION
NICHICON CORPORATION is aiming for net sales of 200 billion yen in fiscal 2019: 100 billion yen in capacitors and 100 billion yen in NECST (Nichicon Energy Control System Technology) circuit products. To this end, on November 21, 2013, we underwent a reorganization in which we established the Capacitor Business Headquarters and the NECST Business Headquarters, the latter in charge of circuit products. Here, we look at the latest technologies that each of these new headquarters is working on.

Latest Technology Trends in Capacitors

Nichicon’s Capacitor Business Headquarters handles aluminum electrolytic capacitors and film capacitors. In the capacitor field, advances in electronics technologies and power electronics technologies are spurring increasingly more efficient and compact equipment, which in turn is fueling the need for smaller capacitors with higher voltage, higher capacity, lower ESR*1, and higher heat resistance.
Here are the latest technology trends in chip-type aluminum electrolytic capacitors, conductive polymer aluminum solid electrolytic capacitors, and film capacitors.

1) CX Series of 135° Low-Temperature ESR Specification Chip-Type Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors (Photo 1)

As electronic components become increasingly prevalent in cars, manufacturers are placing ECUs*2 and driving and braking control units under the hood of the car. This is creating greater demand for capacitors that can withstand the extremely high temperatures around the car's engine and are also capable to work in cold climates. They also must demonstrate high reliability: they must have passed durability testing and maintain low-temperature ESR specifications. Nichicon’s CX Series responds to this demand with features that make it ideal for use in peripheral equipment operating in the extreme conditions of a car’s engine compartment. We recently expanded the CX Series lineup by adding a higher withstand voltage capacitor (up to 50 V).

CX Series of 135° low-temperature ESR specification chip-type aluminum electrolytic capacitors

Photo 1: CX Series of 135° low-temperature ESR specification chip-type aluminum electrolytic capacitors

2) CR Series of Conductive Polymer Aluminum Solid Electrolytic Capacitors (Photo 2)

Conductive polymer aluminum solid electrolytic capacitors have conventionally been widely used in information equipment such as computers. But their low ESR, stable temperature characteristics, and long life have also made them increasingly popular among manufacturers of automotive and industrial equipment. In response, Nichicon developed the CR Series of capacitors that are compact, high capacity, and guaranteed to operate for 4,000 hours at 125°C. The CR Series can be used in a greater variety of applications and contributes to smaller circuit boards because of the need for fewer mounted parts.

CR Series of conductive polymer aluminum solid electrolytic capacitors

Photo 2: CR Series of conductive polymer aluminum solid electrolytic capacitors

3) Film Capacitors

Products such as power conditioners used in wind and solar power generators are moving towards increasingly higher voltages and lower maintenance requirements, and this is creating strong demand for highly reliable DC-filtering capacitors. In response, Nichicon developed the ER Series of DC-filtering cylindrical film capacitors (photo 3). We created a thinner vapor-deposited film to achieve a 40% reduction in size (by volume) and a 30% reduction in weight to create the smallest such capacitor*3 in the industry.

ER Series of DC-filtering cylindrical film capacitors

Photo 3: ER Series of DC-filtering cylindrical film capacitors

  • *1 ESR: Equivalent series resistance
  • *2 ECU: Engine control unit
  • *3 As of September 2013; according to Nichicon Corporation

Latest Technology Trends in Circuit Products

Nichicon Corporation’s NECST Business Headquarters handles circuit products. The headquarters’ main focuses are on environment and energy businesses conducted under Nichicon’s NECST project, as well as power-supply-related business ventures in growth markets such as medical equipment. Here are the latest technology trends in the environment and energy fields as well as state-of-the-art technologies in power supplies for accelerators.

1) NECST Products that Help Realize Smart Grids

Based on the state-of-the-art technologies it has built up in developing power supplies for accelerators, Nichicon has brought to market high-precision electrical charging and discharging power sources for use in the production of lithium-ion batteries. And through the development of its momentary voltage sag compensator, it has also established technologies for high-speed electricity conversion between DC (direct current) storage batteries and AC (alternating current) power grids. Nichicon’s NECST products represent the direct application of such technologies.
Nichicon’s Home Power Station residential power storage system (photo 4) meets requirements for grid-connected systems that work in combination with solar power generation. It offers the safety of a lithium-ion battery and high-efficiency operation. As the first storage system to earn approval from JET (Japan Electrical Safety & Environment Technology Laboratories), it offers safety and economy for household use.
The V2H (vehicle-to-home) EVPower Station (photo 5) is the first such product to allow power to be supplied to a home from a lithium-ion battery of an EV (electric vehicle). It also charges up to twice as fast as a conventional 200-V household power source.
The memory of the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011—and the hardships faced by people living in emergency shelters during the extended blackouts—is still fresh in the minds of the Japanese people. With the lessons learned from this experience, the Japanese government has budgeted the funds to equip emergency shelters with independent power sources. Nichicon has developed such a product: a distributed power source for emergency shelters (photo 6), and we have shipped this product to numerous locations.

Home Power Station

Photo 4: Home Power Station

EV Power Station

Photo 5: EVPower Station

Distributed power source for emergency shelters

Photo 6: Distributed power source for emergency shelters

2) State-of-the-Art Technologies for Accelerator Power Supplies

Nichicon has spent the last 40 years developing advanced-function power supplies for state-of-the-art equipment such as accelerators, and the state-of-the-art technologies built up through these efforts are behind our NECST products. An accelerator causes electrons and protons to travel at speeds near the speed of light, and its applications include the study of the particles that make up matter, and the viewing of matter at the nano level by using the strong radiant light emitted by the accelerated electrons. Accelerators are used in fields such as semiconductors and medicine.
In Japan, there are more than 10 cancer-treatment facilities that use accelerators. These facilities are gaining attention for their ability to destroy cancer cells without the need to operate on the patient.
The technologies that Nichicon developed in this field have been instrumental in the NECST Business Headquarters’ rapid-fire succession of product development. This is illustrated in figure 1 below.

Illustration of Development of NECST Products

Figure 1: Illustration of Development of NECST Products

Conclusion

In its core businesses of aluminum electrolytic capacitors, film capacitors, and circuit products, Nichicon focuses on the fields of power electronics, environmental and energy, and medicine in developing products that provide new value. In the process, we have contributed to the realization of a brighter future by bringing the world closer to a low-carbon society where people live in peace of mind.

 

Author: NICHICON CORPORATION
From the Dempa Shimbun, Jan. 10, 2014

 
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