Makers of conductive polymer hybrid aluminum electrolytic capacitors have been stepping up production and increasing product lineups. Hybrid capacitors use electrolyte that combines conductive polymer and electrolytic solution. They feature long life, high ripple current, low equivalent series resistance (ESR) and high reliability. Thus, they become indispensable products for the automobiles featuring connected, autonomous, shared & services, and electric (CASE) trends. In fact, demand for hybrid capacitors for the automotive field has been increasing.
Moreover, hybrid capacitors have also been increasingly adopted in industrial equipment, such as motors, power supplies, robots and drones; information and communications infrastructure, such as base stations and servers; consumer equipment; and lighting devices.
Amid these market potentials, leading hybrid capacitor manufacturers in Japan, including Panasonic Industry Co., Ltd., Nippon Chemi-Con Corporation, SUN Electronic Industries Corporation, and NICHICON Corporation plan to boost their production capacities and increase sales aggressively. Overall, they anticipate an average annual growth of around 20 percent to continue until FY2024 for hybrid capacitors globally.
The global market of hybrid capacitors in FY2020 grew 13 percent year-on-year to 17 billion yen (US$125.8 million). Leading hybrid capacitor manufacturers forecast that the global market will expand to 22 billion yen (US$162.8 million) in FY2021, 27 billion yen (US$199.8 million) in FY2022, 32 billion yen (US$236.8 million) in FY2023, and 40 billion yen (US$296 million) in FY2024.
Electrification of Automobiles
In the automotive market, the demand for electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have been increasing. Along with this trend, electrification of automobiles will further advance. Moreover, the shift from hydraulic drive system to motor drive system will accelerate.
Against this backdrop, the demand for hybrid capacitors with high current and high ripple current is expected to increase further. Meanwhile, manufacturers are poised to meet the expanding market demand.
For its part, Panasonic Industry forecasts 37 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for CASE-related industry and 10 percent for information and communications infrastructure. The company positions hybrid capacitors as pillar products, following conductive polymer capacitors as mainstay products.
Specifically, the company meets demand for hybrid capacitors featuring compact size and larger capacitance for automobiles. Meanwhile, it develops products with longer life and larger capacitance for information and communications infrastructure. The company intends to firmly maintain the top share in the industry it has kept since 2018.
Over the years, Panasonic Industry has advanced the development of original materials and process technologies. As a result, it has commercialized products that differentiate itself from competitors. In 2018, the company started mass production of ZA, ZC, and ZK models that measure φ6.3mm and withstand vibration acceleration of 30G. In Dec. 2020, the company started mass production of φ10mm variation of ZU with 1.4-fold current of previous products, and of large-capacitance ZSU.
Panasonic Industry plans to double the sales of conductive polymer aluminum electrolytic capacitors and hybrid capacitors in FY2030 from FY2021. From these sales, it intends to drive total sales target of 300 billion yen (US$2.22 billion) in FY2030. This includes film and aluminum electrolytic capacitors. The company is also considering increasing production at the Yamaguchi Plant and distributing production to overseas plants to meet increased sales in the future.
Nippon Chemi-Con saw actual production of hybrid capacitors in FY2021 increased about 25 percent annually in terms of volume. For FY2022, the company targets an increase of about 25 percent. It is also pushing ahead with the installation of additional production lines. Specifically, Miyagi Plant, CHEMI–CON EAST JAPAN CORP. in Miyagi Prefecture is handling production of hybrid capacitors.
The company forecasts hybrid capacitors to expand down the road, with automobiles at core amid the trends toward electrification.
Nippon Chemi-Con has developed new sizes of hybrid capacitors in the HXJ Series for automobiles and industrial equipment. They are the φ10×12.5L and φ10×16.5L products. The new products feature up to 1.4-fold the capacitance and 1.7-fold ripple current of same-sized conventional products, while maintaining high reliability of conventional products. The company has also developed φ10×12.5L and φ10×16.5L as new size variation for the HXF Series. These new products have achieved up to 1.7-fold the ripple current of the conventional high ripple current series. The company plans to start mass producing the new products under the HXJ and HXF Series in September.
SUN Electronic Industries
SUN Electronic Industries markets about 90 percent of its hybrid capacitors for automobiles. Of which, the company sells about 40 percent in countries in Europe and 25 percent in Japan. The rest of the products are supplied to North America, China, and countries in Asia.
In January, the company started mass producing φ8 and φ10 products with 25V, 50V, and 80V in the FVF Series, which has a rated life of 4,000 hours at 150℃. Combined with existing 35V and 63V products, the company supplies products with five different voltages for automobiles and 5G base stations. In May, the company added φ8 and φ10 products with 25V, the first in the industry with a rated life of 4,000 hours at 135℃, to the FVC Series. At the same time, the company also increased ripple current of 35V products with a rated life of 4,000 hours at 125℃. It also added new sizes to this product variation.
In the future, the company plans to add 16V, 50V, and 63V products to its lineup. The company supplies these products for industrial equipment and information and communications infrastructure, as well as to automobiles.
SUN Electronic Industries also plans to increase the monthly production capacity of hybrid capacitors, including these new products, at the Izumo Plant in Shimane Prefecture, from 28 million units in FY2021 to 44 million units in FY2024. The company had invested about 400 million yen (US$2.96 million) for a delivery building with a floor area of about 3,000sq.m within the plant’s premises. This enables the company to use the former delivery space for equipment installation to increase production in the existing production building.
NICHICON saw record sales in FY2021 on increased demand for hybrid capacitors for automobiles, along with robust sales of conductive polymer aluminum solid electrolytic capacitors. It also expects a double-digit growth in FY2022.
The company will increase production at NICHICON (Iwate) Corporation in Iwate Prefecture and is also planning to add a new factory building. The company also considers deploying plants overseas to operate multiple plants.
In April, NICHICON started mass producing the GYF Series, which has a capacitance about 20 percent larger than the GYE Series, which the company released in July 2021. The series is guaranteed for 4,000 hours at 125℃, and is now supplied to some customers. NICHICON has been differentiating its products by bringing out small products with large capacitance. The products adopt a new high capacitance electrode foil manufactured by using a new electrode production process installed this spring.
The company has been offering products with high ripple current for high-output motor controllers for automobiles. These products adopt a new electrolytic solution that has been developed through comprehensive partnership with Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), the University of Tokyo, which started in 2016.