TOKIN Bolsters Plant Automation, Boosts Sensor Yield

TOKIN Corporation has been pursuing production activities in China with high added values. In recent years, TOKIN Electronics (Xiamen) Corporation, TOKIN’s production base in Xiamen, has substantially strengthened its production system for sensors, in addition to electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) products, which are the company’s main products. The company has been aggressively promoting automation and labor-saving measures to improve productivity. It has also been endeavoring to improve quality further in tandem with the increase in the ratio of products for automobiles.  

Collaboration for Automation

Established in 1994, TOKIN Electronics (Xiamen) has been consistenly operating as a main production base for EMC-related business, producing ferrites, coils, and transformers. Over the past years, the company has been producing sensors, in which piezo elements are applied, on full scale. In recent years, the production ratio of sensors in the entire production of the plant has increased significantly.  

External view of TOKIN Electronics (Xiamen) Corporation

The plant stands on a 63,928sq.m-lot and has a total floor area of 48,896sq.m. Annual shipment quantity is about 255 million units. At present, the company has about 1,000 employees.  Guanping Chen, Managing Director at TOKIN Electronics (Xiamen) said, “To cope with increasing labor costs in China, the production technology department in Japan and the production technology department in Xiamen have been collaborating to promote the introduction of automatic production lines in stages.” 

Guanping Chen, Managing Director, TOKIN Electronics (Xiamen) Corporation

Chen noted the shift from manual production to semi-automatic and then fully automatic production has advanced dramatically in recent years. He added the company has been working to improve production efficiency through production innovation activities for over 20 years already.  

In terms of product items by application, as EMC products, TOKIN Electronics (Xiamen) manufacturers inductors for automobiles, metal and ferrite inductors for notebook computers, and metal and ferrite inductors for servers. 

Focus on On-Vehicle, 5G Applications

In recent years, the company has been strengthening production of on-vehicle products, and most recently, it has been enjoying strong production of inductors for high-performance servers for fifth-generation (5G) communications. In 2020, orders for metal inductors for notebook computers have steadily increased reflecting the demand created by people working from home and students who are taking online classes. The company expects that orders for metal inductors will steadily increase in 2021 as well.  

With sensors, the company produces ultrasonic sensors and human detection sensors that apply piezo elements manufactured at Shiroishi Operations in Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture in Japan. Since 2018, production of sensors at Xiamen has sharply increased.  

As part of efforts to optimize its global production system, the TOKIN Group has been transferring the production of coils and transformers, which are strongly labor-intensive production items, from Xiamen to Vietnam in stages.  For this reason, the production ratio of sensors at the entire Xiamen Plant has increased to over 40 percent.  

For FY2021 (ending December 2021), Chen said, “This year, the novel coronavirus pandemic is expected to almost wind down and the market will reactivate, and therefore, we will adopt a system to enable us to swiftly meet sharp increase in orders. In particular, the market of products for automobiles is expected to expand. To meet the trend, we will bolster our production capacity and improve quality further. We will step up efforts to increase production and reduce costs of high-performance ferrite inductors, the demand for which is expected to increase for applications in 5G communication devices.”  

The company’s products are deployed to almost all countries around the world. However, in the past several years, the ratio of products destined to countries in Europe and the United States has been increasing.  

“China’s economy is expected to grow steadily in 2021. So, our company will make investments to increase production. We will continue to aggressively push forward automation and labor-saving measures, and at the same time, promote further improvements of quality and costs,” noted Chen.