October 2020
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Asia Electronics Industry
October 2020 Volume 25, Serial No. 289

ASIA ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY (ISSN 1342-422X) is published monthly by Dempa Publications, Inc., 1-11-15 Higashi Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-8715, Japan Tel: +81-3-3445-6111 Fax: +81-3-3445-6890. Editorial e-mail:; Subscription e-mail:

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Cover | Story

n 1950, Nihon Denkei Co., Ltd. was established as a trading company specializing in electronic measuring instruments. This year, the company celebrates the 70th founding anniversary. Since its founding, Nihon Denkei has expanded the range of products it handles, including environment test equipment, precision physical measuring instruments, and optical measuring instruments. In recent years, the company has also been putting strength into consigned testing business as well.

The company maintains 48 bases in Japan and 48 bases overseas, and has been stepping up efforts targeting the four rapid-growing markets of new energy vehicles, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving, internet of things (IoT), and fifth-generation (5G) communications.

In June, Nihon Denkei mapped out growth strategies eyeing the next 10 years, taking on new challenge to become a technical trading company.

AEI News
Qualcomm Leads mmWave Extended-Range 5G NR Data Call
UNITED STATES and SWEDEN – Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., Casa Systems, and Ericsson today have successfully completed the world’s first extended-range 5G NR data call over mmWave. The extended range data call was completed in Regional Victoria, Australia, achieving the farthest-ever connection of 3.8km.

The groundbreaking milestone will enable enhanced fixed broadband services and additional opportunities to utilize 5G network infrastructure for broad coverage in urban, suburban and rural environments. This breakthrough from Qualcomm Technologies, Casa Systems and Ericsson provides global operators with the reach and performance to now offer fixed wireless as a widespread broadband option.

Network operators will have the potential to use their existing mobile network assets to deliver fixed wireless services and expand their service with ease to new areas, from urban to rural, while delivering 5G’s multi-gigabit speeds and ultra-low latency to a wider customer base within their coverage footprint.;;

Special | Report
Circuit Board Materials for 5G green text
Flurry of Materials Emerge for 5G Circuit Boards
Various makers have been accelerating the development of materials for high-frequency circuit boards for 5G applications, focusing on low dielectric constant, low dissipation factor and high heat resistance features.

apanese electronic materials manufacturers have been strengthening the technological development of materials for high-frequency printed circuit boards (PCBs) used for 5G applications with the deployment of the fifth-generation (5G) mobile communications system. They have been accelerating the development and market introduction of new materials and new grade materials of existing materials that satisfy low dielectric constant, low dissipation factor, and high heat resistance, which are required for 5G products.

In terms of materials for high-frequency PCBs that are employed in 5G products, improvements of glass epoxy resins and polyimide-based materials, which are main materials of PCBs, have been advancing. The development of new grade products with lower dielectric constant and dissipation factor, and the improvement of water absorption characteristics have been pursued. Moreover, the adoption of improved materials in 5G smartphones has already been expanding. In addition, as materials for 5G PCBs, high-performance materials, such as fluorinated resin and liquid crystal polymers (LCPs), have also been increasingly attracting attention.

Special | Report
Circuit Technologies green text
Automotive Trends Spur Circuit Components Development
To be driven by the CASE trend, specifically ADAS and autonomous driving, circuit components will enjoy brisk demand amid sluggish automotive sales. Highly reliable and high-quality products will lead product development.

apanese circuit components manufacturers have been accelerating new product development as growth strategies for the medium to long term.

While global auto sales are predicted to remain sluggish for the time being, manufacturers view that the advancement of connected, autonomous, shared & services, and electric (CASE) trend, including advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving, will expand the market scale of automotive-use circuit components. They explore business opportunities by offering new products based on high-reliability and high-quality technologies.

Today’s global auto sales and production have been decreasing from the previous year affected by the expansion of novel coronavirus infections, in addition to trade tensions between the United States and China.

Murata Steps up Multi-Line Connectors to Meet 5G Requisites

obile devices, including smartphones, continue to incorporate diverse functions year after year and technological development has been advancing rapidly. They come equipped with large-screen displays and multi-lens cameras, and more versatile features. Furthermore, the communications system has also undergone major changes, with the imminent shift from the current fourth-generation (4G) mobile standard to the fifth-generation (5G) system. In Japan, 5G services commenced in 2020, which is expected to generate revolutionary changes through connectivity among various services and products, not only in smartphones, but also in vehicles and healthcare services.

MLC Series connectors (5-pin)
Fig. 1: Exterior view of the MLC Series connectors (5-pin)
Inside mobile devices such as smartphones, electronic components are mounted in high densities. To achieve higher functionalities and higher speeds, the number of components incorporated in these devices continues to increase, but the size of a device is limited, so the expectation for small and high function parts is gathering.

Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Murata) has responded to these needs early on and has advanced the miniaturization of components and the improvement of functionalities. Murata has developed the MLC Series connectors that can accommodate RF (Radio Frequency) and has started mass producing the product in 2016, the first of its kind in the industry (Fig. 1). The MLC Series has been recognized in the market as RF multi-line connectors and has been forming a core of the connector market.

Samsung Unveils TSV-Based 3D Chip Package Technology


n its effort to expand its clout in the semiconductor value chain, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has unveiled a silicon-proven 3D IC packaging technology, laying the foundation for its journey as a global foundry contract chip-making manufacturer.

Logic Die, Static RAM in One Chip
Samsung’s eXtended-Cube, or X-Cube, is a three-dimensional (3D) IC packaging technology, which is a sophisticated variant of its through-silicon via (TSV) technology that can allow chip designers to stack more of memory chips on top of a logic die. Samsung’s 7nm X-Cube test chip comes built with a logic die and a static RAM chip in a 3D package using TSV technology to stack together the two different types of chip on a single package as if they were a single integrated chip.

Toyota, Amazon Enhance Partnership to Advance Mobility Platform
The expanded partnership will aim to strengthen the Japanese carmaker’s connected vehicle platform to develop and improve vehicle design to conform to the CASE trend of mobility technologies.


oyota Motor Corporation and Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an company, have expanded their global collaboration and both agree to apply AWS’ portfolio of services to expand Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform (MSPF). The MSPF is an ecosystem that aims to help engineers develop, deploy, and manage the next generation of data-driven mobility services for driver and passenger safety, security, and convenience using Toyota’s cloud-connected vehicles.

Connectivity as Key to Mobility Platform

Toyota’s MSPF leverages the reliability and scalability of AWS’s global infrastructure, as well as development expertise from AWS Professional Services, to meet the challenge of processing and analyzing data from operations within Toyota’s fleet of connected vehicles around the world. The MSPF and its application programming interfaces (API) will enable Toyota to collect data from connected vehicles and apply it towards vehicle design and development, new contextual services such as car share, rideshare, full-service lease, and new corporate and consumer services such as proactive vehicle maintenance notifications and driving behavior-based insurance.

Alps Alpine, McIntosh to Bring Luxury Automotive Audio Systems
Select vehicles will soon carry innovative audio systems, and the collaboration aims to bring new standards of excellence to in-vehicle listening and factory-branded automotive audio systems.


lps Alpine Co., Ltd. has forged an alliance with McIntosh Group’s wholly-owned subsidiaries, McIntosh Laboratory, Inc. and Sonus faber S.p.A., to deliver state-of-the-art audio systems to the automotive industry. McIntosh Group is an American holding company specializing in high-end audio equipment companies around the world.

The collaboration entails a technical alliance between Alps Alpine and McIntosh Group audio brands, McIntosh Laboratory, Inc. and Sonus faber for select vehicles. This will bring extensive knowledge and expertise from both companies to create an unparalleled listening experience for consumers. The outcome will be truly worthy of the McIntosh Laboratory and Sonus faber home listening experience.

Component | Materials
Research Results to Yield Inexpensive SiC Power Semiconductors
The group was able to develop a SiO2 /SiC formation method using the first-principles’ calculation wherein silicon was oxidized but SiC was not oxidized at the atomic level.

research group composed of the Graduate School of Engineering and Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University and Institute of Innovate Research (IIR) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology has developed a unique SiO2/SiC formation method for silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors, using the first-principles’ calculation. In this method, only silicon (Si) is oxidized, but SiC is not oxidized at the atomic level.

The group has revealed that interface defects present between SiC and SiO2, which remain as a long-standing issue for SiC power semiconductors, have been reduced to 1/10 of existing SiC transistors, and that an interface giving 10 times higher performance has been successfully formed.

Component | Materials
New Method to Boost Performance of Organic EL Materials
The new method uses quantum chemical calculation to predict the luminous efficiency of organic semiconductors for organic EL displays.


joint research group from RIKEN and Hokkaido University has developed a method of predicting the rate constant of the inverse intersystem crossing, which is related to the luminous efficiency of organic semiconductors used in organic electroluminescent (EL) displays, by quantum chemical calculation. An organic semiconductor that was designed based on this prediction scheme actually shows a high rate of the inverse intersystem crossing, 107 sec-1 or larger. This scheme is promising as a theory-leading method to accelerate the development of organic EL materials.

TADF as Next-Generation Organic EL Materials

Organic semiconductors, which are the materials for organic EL devices used for smartphones and TV displays, have the advantages of being inexpensive, lightweight, printable, and does not require rare metals. With the aim of further accelerating material development, expectations are growing for the discovery of new materials led by theoretical computational chemistry.

Chips & Media Signs Licensing Agreement with Taiwan Chipmakers

hips & Media, a Korean computer vision and video hardwired (HW) IP provider, has signed a licensing agreement with top-tier TV and set-top box (STB) chip makers of Taiwan to use its super-resolution HW IP for image up-scaling to up to 8K resolution.

The super resolution HW IP called c.WAVE120 is a deep learning-based image resolution upscaling IP, which scales up low-resolution image contents, from full high-definition (HD) to ultra-high resolution images, like 4K and 8K, without compromising picture quality.

“We hope that the c.WAVE120 image upscaling technology will become a game changer in shifting the market gravity toward 4K and 8K TV, enabling users to experience 4K-and 8K-like video contents on their 4K and 8K-ready TVs or STBs. The IP can process 8K with 60fps consuming low power,” says Jeiff Kim, Marketing Director with Chips & Media.

HIOKI’s IoT Services Display Remote Measurement, Monitoring
GENNECT is comprised of three services: GENNECT Cross connects a measuring instrument with a mobile device; GENNECT One allows transfer of remote files; and GENNECT Remote enables remote operation and monitoring of measuring instruments.

IOKI E.E. Corporation’s internet of things (IoT) services GENNECT has been attracting renewed attention amid restrictions on companies’ marketing activities and movements accompanying the spread of novel coronavirus infections.

The concept of GENNECT zeroes in on the efficient use of measuring instruments on the field. HIOKI E.E. has been promoting the advantages of the services through the use of IoT targeting main users of measuring instruments, including electric construction and maintenance companies.

Yusaku Miyata, Assistant Manager, MN Unit, Innovation Center, which oversees GENNECT services, says, “The service is a new technology using the cloud. It is an advantage for us to be able to provide measuring instruments as IoT solutions not only as measuring instruments.”

JUKI Expands Venture in Industrial Equipment Aside from Mounters
The company strengthens its automated optical inspection and automated warehouses businesses, and promotes 3D hybrid inspection through its partnership with XTIA.
Akira Kiyohara, President, JUKI Corporation
Akira Kiyohara, President, JUKI Corporation

UKI Corporation has been endeavoring to create new businesses and expand its business domain, while strengthening existing businesses under sewing machines and industrial equipment businesses. In the category of industrial equipment, the company has been advancing proposal into the non-mounting segment, such as automated optical inspection (AOI) systems and automated warehouses, and has been seeing results.

In the industrial equipment business, JUKI offers a full lineup of equipment used in a mounting line. The lineup includes solder paste printers, AOI systems, and automated warehouses, and mounters from its own brand, and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) through collaboration with other companies. JUKI links these machines with JaNets line control software and promotes JUKI Smart Solutions, which realize high-efficiency production of the surface mounting line, in the global market.

FUJI Plays Strong in Robots, Invests in AI Start up
The company puts the SmartWing compact multi-joint robot at the core of its business plans, highlighting functions that promote automation of processes.

y positioning its mainstay mounters as robot solution business, FUJI endeavors to expand its robot business. It aims to meet a wide range of demand for smart factory by developing robots into a platform. Along this line, the company has developed and commercialized the SmartWing compact multi-joint robot, and promotes the development of its applications through collaboration with other companies.

FUJI has been working to make robots intelligent to improve their functions and expand the range of application, and invested in RIOS Corporation, a startup on artificial intelligence (AI) haptic robot technology.

Panasonic Releases Visual Inspection Solution for Welding

The visual weld solution is equipped with AI and 3D data analysis technologies, thus enabling automation of inspection process and saving on labor cost.


anasonic Smart Factory Solutions Co., Ltd. has released the Bead Eye visual weld inspection solution, which enables automation and saves labor cost during inspection after welding using artificial intelligence (AI) technology and three-dimensional (3D) data analysis technology. Bead Eye has been co-developed with Japan-based LinkWiz Incorporated, which develops and sells intelligent robot system software.

Arc welding robots have been adopted at welding sites of various industries, including the automotive industry, which is the main market. At present, there are various problems at welding sites, including shortage of suitable workforce and rising labor costs; increased load on workers resulting from the increase in the number of welding points to be visually inspected; variation in bead inspection standards among workers; and difficulty of securing traceability.

Robot Programming System Copies Welding Engineers

Panasonic’s teaching systems uses virtual technology and simplifies robot teaching while promoting high operation rate and high productivity.


anasonic Smart Factory Solutions Co., Ltd. has released a virtual robot programming system (VRPS), the first in the industry to use virtual reality (VR) technology.

Using a VR device, the system reproduces the operations of welding engineers. The adoption of the VR device enables intuitive operation and simplifies robot teaching work, which requires specialization. It also reduces teaching time, and achieves high operation rate and high productivity of robots.

Panasonic's virtual robot programming system in use
Panasonic’s virtual robot programming system registers a teaching point using a VR device.
Test | Measurement
Yokogawa Test & Measurement Markets Mixed Signal Oscilloscopes

Designed for automotive, mechatronics and electronics R&D, the DLM5000 Series features a high-speed processing function that can handle high volume of data.


okogawa Test & Measurement Corporation has developed the DLM5000 Series mixed signal oscilloscopes, and started releasing 350MHz and 500MHz models to the market.

The new DLM5000 oscilloscopes are successors to the eight-channel DLM4000 Series mixed signal oscilloscopes, and feature a number of improved functions and enhanced operability. A DLMsync option is planned to be released by next spring that will enable measurements to be taken simultaneously by two connected DLM5000 oscilloscopes.

Specifically, the DLM5000 Series mixed signal oscilloscopes are built for the design and assessment of electric and electronic circuits; development and debugging of semiconductors, electronic devices, and embedded firmware; simultaneous measurement of analog signals and bus signals based on the CAN, CAN FD, and other in-vehicle LAN standards; analysis of power and confirmation of the operation of power electronics; and simultaneous measurement and assessment of high-speed signals and signals that fluctuate very little, for example, communication signals and mechatronics signals.

Test | Measurement
Optical Measuring Instruments Support 5G System Introduction

To provide quality 5G signals, Yokogawa Test & Measurement has released optical spectrum analyzers, optical time domain reflectometer, and power analyzers.


n preparation for the deployment of the fifth-generation (5G) mobile communication systems, capital investments in transmission equipment have been active. Yokogawa Test & Measurement Corporation has been supporting the spread of 5G in terms of the measurements of the physical layer, offering mainly optical measuring instruments and power analyzers.

With 5G, mainly optical fibers are used for fronthaul that connects wireless equipment at base stations and baseband units, and backhaul that is the line for sending signals from base stations to relay stations. At present, the installation of 5G equipment and construction works progress at an accelerated pace.

Test | Measurement
Anritsu’s Tester Keeps up With High-Speed Networks
The portable all-in-one network tester MT1040A is designed for 400G Ethernet for ultrafast environment, like 5G communication systems and cloud computing.

nritsu Corporation has brought to market the Network Master Pro MT1040A network tester for 400G networks. The new battery-powered tester supports 400G Ethernet and directly mounts QFSP-DD optical modules. It can be installed simultaneously with 10M to 100G interface for access, metro, mobile fronthaul/backhaul, and data-center transmission quality tests, like bit error rate (BER), throughput, frame loss, and latency measurements), while the easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI), remote-control-over-network option, and auto-test functions add-up to a tester with unparalleled measurement efficiency.

Anritsu expects its 400G Ethernet MT1040A to meet customers’ needs in facilitating widespread roll-out of high-speed networks.

Supports 400G Ethernet

The start of commercial 5G services and the spread of cloud computing is causing continuous increases in communications traffic. Moreover, the rapid spread of teleworking and online work is causing problems for communications operators, requiring bandwidth reinforcement. 400G Ethernet is a key technology in strengthening support for these traffic increases, and there is an urgent need for a portable 400G tester supporting commissioning and maintenance of 400G Ethernet networks.

Test | Measurement
Image Processing Integrates AI-Equipped Defect Extraction
Omron incorporated into the AI software the ability to detect flaws or seemingly defects during the inspection process just like a human inspector, using automatic image processing.


mron Corporation has started offering of the FH Series image processing system equipped with the industry’s first defect extraction artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Capabilities of AI Software

The company incorporates the newly developed AI software in FH-5 50 Series (ver 6.40) and to higher versions of the FH Series. Without the need for an enormous amount of learning, the image processing system can detect defects, such as scratches on satin finished metals, flaws on resin products, black flaws on hairlines and white flaws with shadow on hairlines, using automatic image processing. Such defects were conventionally depended on human sensibility or on skilled workers’ experience in visual inspection. The newly developed AI software can be incorporated in the existing FH-5 50 Series as well and dramatically expands the automation range and items for visual inspection.

The FH Series image processing system with defect extraction AI technology
The FH Series image processing system with defect extraction AI technology
Research Team Joins High-Precision Electrode to OFET


collaborative research group of the University of Tokyo, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), and National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) has developed a method to attach high-precision patterned electrodes to organic semiconductors, inspired by laundry glue.

An organic semiconductor in which molecules are bound together by a weak intermolecular force can be easily damaged by solvent or heat.

For example, an organic field-effect transistor (OFET) is manufactured by stacking components, like organic semiconductors and electrodes. When forming an electrode on an organic semiconductor, it is necessary to suppress damages due to heat and those due to a solvent necessary for patterning.

NHK Technology Bats for Real-Life 3D Viewing Experience


s new broadcasting services are expected to emerge in the future, three-dimensional (3D) image display methods without using special glasses are attracting attention. In a spatial image reproduction method, an optical image is formed in the space by reproducing light rays. 3D image is displayed by optically reproducing geometrically the color, brightness, and direction of light rays from an object.

Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) has been conducting research and development on 3D TVs that allow audience to enjoy such 3D images. As a result, it was able to develop a high-definition (HD) 3D image display system equivalent to an HD level resolution of approximately 2 million pixels by employing Actina Vision, which reproduces the light rays from an object using a unique 3D image display method.

Design Technology Allows Power Amplifier to Output Signal in Wideband


ujitsu Laboratories Ltd. has developed a design technology for a power amplifier that can output signals in a wide frequency band ranging from several hundred megahertz to several gigahertz. In the future, the company will continue to develop the wideband amplifier for higher output and wider bandwidth, with the aim of the miniaturization and higher performance of the power transmitter.

For transmission of radio waves in various frequency bands, it is necessary to install a radio wave transmitter that covers the frequency band corresponding to the specifications for each application, and to prepare the corresponding power amplifier. As a result, the size of the radio wave transmission equipment increases, necessitating the development of a high-output power amplifier that can cover and share frequency bands supporting multiple specifications with a single device.

KEL Adds New Variation to Waterproof Connectors for Industrial Equipment


EL Corporation considers waterproof connector for industrial equipment as one of its strategic products, and aims to aggressively expand its sales. The company aims to develop the series into one of its main products by expanding the product variations of the FW Series 5.0mm-pitch IP67-compatible waterproof connector and by making proposals to untapped markets.

FW Series Waterproof Connector
The FW Series is the company’s first waterproof connector that was released in 2018. It has a dustproof and waterproof performance that complies with protection grade IP67, and achieves the industry’s smallest mating height and length among 5.0mm-pitch waterproof connectors in the market.

Small Chip Beads Increase Design Flexibility of Auto Power Supply


urata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. has introduced the 1608-size BLM18SP_SH1 Series chip ferrite beads for noise suppression in automotive power supply. Measuring 1.6×0.8mm, the new chip ferrite bead series has a 50 percent smaller base area than conventional products. The AEC-Q200-compliant product is among the world’s smallest with impedance values of 30Ω to 1kΩ and rated current values of 6 to 1.2A.

In recent years, in keeping with the progress of automobile electrification, cars have been equipped with a growing number of electronic components, such as cameras, radar, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), and electronic control units (ECU) in order to support advanced driving-assistance system (ADAS) and autonomous driving. To ensure that the numerous in-vehicle components function properly and that a high degree of safety is maintained, it is essential to employ countermeasures against noise in power supply circuits and to ensure a stable power supply to each component. As the number of in-vehicle components increases, needs for improved noise suppression capabilities as well as for miniaturization are also growing.

Murata’s 1608-size BLM18SP_SH1 Series chip ferrite beads
Murata’s 1608-size BLM18SP_SH1 Series chip ferrite beads
GaN-Based Power Amplifier Module Suits 5G Base Stations

itsubishi Electric Corporation has developed a new technology to realize a gallium nitride (GaN) power amplifier module for 5G base stations that offer a combination of compact (6×10mm) footprint and unprecedented extra high-power efficiency rating of 43 percent.

The module, which uses a minimum number of chip components in the matching circuit to control high-quality signal output, is expected to help realize 5G base stations that are widely deployable and highly power efficient. The technical details of the new module was supposed to be presented at the IEEE International Microwave Symposium.

Key Features
In 4G base stations, which do not use massive Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO) antennas, power amplifiers use metal-foil transmission lines for the matching circuit. While this lowers power loss, resulting in high-efficiency operation, transmission lines take up space and make it difficult to realize base stations that are both extra small and extra power efficient. Mitsubishi Electric’s new technology eliminates the need for transmission lines in 5G power amplifiers.

In Focus | Southeast Asia
Singapore’s Semiconductor Resiliency Tempers Pandemic Impact

ingapore prides itself with the most established semiconductor industry in Asia with its breadth of value chains, from research and development (R&D), design, manufacturing, and distribution. The country’s bout with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has barely made a dent to manufacturing output growth, registering a decline of only 0.7 percent in the 2Q of 2020 compared to a year ago. This decline is caused primarily by the Circuit Breaker program implemented by the government to minimize the impact of pandemic. However, it can be noted that electronics output grew 5.6 percent during the same period.

The semiconductor industry is a key component of Singapore’s manufacturing output. From Jan. to June 2020, it posted an output growth of 1.7 percent over a year ago with June output registering 26 percent. This double-digit growth was driven primarily by cloud services, data centers and 5G markets.

Wee Seng Headshot
Ang Wee Seng, Executive Director of the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association (SSIA)
In Focus | Southeast Asia
Malaysia Builds up Ecosystem Approach to Sustain Investment

he novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is seen as the catalyst for a slumped global economic growth as the pandemic has disrupted the global economic transaction, particularly between China and the rest of the world. As new cases and casualties have escalated, most of the governments temporarily or conditionally shut down their economies particularly to foreign markets.

In this interview with Asia Electronics Industry, Dato’ Azman Mahmud, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), laid down the measures taken by the agency to arrest the impact of the health crisis and sustain the country’s investment environment.

“Malaysia introduced the Movement Control Order (MCO) beginning 18 March for almost two months, followed by its gradual easing through the Conditional and Recovery Movement Control Orders, which could be implemented until the end of 2020,” relates Dato’ Azman Mahmud.

Azman Mahmud Headshot
Dato’ Azman Mahmud, Chief Executive Officer, Malaysian Investment Development Authority
In Focus | Southeast Asia
Thailand’s Policies Highlight Responsiveness to Market Changes

hailand’s strong economic performance is built on robust private investments, active consumption market, strong export base, and vibrant tourism. Its strategic location and resilient supply chain make it a preferred investment destination in Southeast Asia. With its sound investment policies, Thailand was able to mitigate the possible adverse impact from the present health crisis, and continuously reviews them to adapt to the changing market.

In this interview with Asia Electronics Industry, Duangjai Asawachintachit, Secretary General, Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) relates how the country takes on recent business challenges, like the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Investment Gains
“Thailand’s management of the COVID-19 crisis has received praises because after recording the first confirmed case of the new coronavirus outside of China, Thailand’s government and health authorities quickly took very efficient steps to limit the outbreak,” says Asawachintachit.

In Focus | Southeast Asia
Vietnam Moves to Cushion Pandemic Blows to Electronics Industry

ince the outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19) early this year, Vietnam has been reaping international praises for its decisive response in containing the spread of the virus. Although it started dealing a serious outbreak that sprung in one of its coastal cities recently, Vietnam is still in a better position compared to its other Asian neighbors, where the blow is more extensive and economic debilitating.

However, the country, which has been opening its doors to more trade agreements and foreign investments, is also struggling with a disrupted global supply chain.

Expects Heavy Decrease
Vietnam serves as regional hub to some of powerhouse names in the electronics manufacturing scene such as Samsung Electronics, Samsung Display, LG Electronics, Intel, Canon, Panasonic, among many others. The country’s exports have been increasing every year and in 2019 logged US$264.19 billion, about a third of which or US$87.29 billion are from computer and mobile parts and devices. However, sourcing of parts and components from foreign markets are expected to create a dent on its exports of goods as the dreaded contagion wreaks havoc to the global supply chain.

Thi Thuy Huong Headshot
Do Thi Thuy Huong, Executive Board Member of Vietnam Electronics Industries Association (VEIA)?
In Focus | Southeast Asia
Philippines Investment Arm Eyes Post-COVID Upturn

he dreaded novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought the Philippines’ economy to its lowest level since 1981, contracting 16.5 percent in Q2 of this year. To help revive the economy, the country is set to introduce a Php1.3 trillion (US$26.75 billion) stimulus package that aims to generate 1.5 million jobs and assist businesses, among others, over the next three years.

As the country gradually opens the economy following months of strict lockdown, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito Plaza told AEI the agency is resolute to reverse the setback the investment scene suffered this year and attract more investments from Japan, United States and Europe, especially those who are veering away from China.

Director General Charito Plaza Headshot
Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito Plaza
In Focus | Southeast Asia
Indonesia Reinforces Strategies to Heighten Investments

ndonesia is one of the southeast Asian nations that is currently facing a difficult economic bout brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The country’s gross domestic product for the quarter ending June dropped 5.32 percent, the lowest since Q1 of 1999.

The pandemic not only took toll on vital components of Indonesia’s health but has also drastically dwarfed its investment potentials. In an interview with AEI, Ikmal Lukman, Deputy Chairman for Investment Promotion, Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), said while the country’s economic condition is pessimistic this year, they are optimistic to bounce back by next year.

“We find comfort knowing that according to several credible international institutions, we might manage to bounce back from fallout in 2020. …We keep spreading this positive sentiment to the businesspeople along with a series of strategies in keeping the economy and business running,” he added.

Ikmal Lukman Headshot
Ikmal Lukman, Deputy Chairman for Investment Promotion, Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM)
Manufacturing Equipment Makers Venture into Robot Hands

mid the proliferation of industrial robots, robot peripheral devices that support various workpieces have been emerging. Among them include robot hands, and electric/pneumatic gripers. An increasing number of manufacturing equipment and motor manufacturers have been embarking on these products as a new business.

Japan is witnessing a decreasing birthrate and an aging population. China will also become an unprecedented aging society 20 years from now. The decline in working population is a serious social problem and the trend to use robots for manufacturing is expected to gain momentum.

The development of robotic peripheral devices has become active, and the commercialization of robot hands and electric and pneumatic grippers has been progressing. Although robot hands and electric/pneumatic grippers have different shapes, they are both attached at the ends of robot arms to perform “pinch,” “grip” and “hold” operations.

Higher-Capacitance MLCCs Advance with Miniaturization

nnually, there are over 2 trillion multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) being used, and market needs for smaller MLCCs with higher capacitance have been continuing to increase. In terms of incorporation in devices, MLCCs in a smartphone unit has been continuing to increase. For general consumer electronics, the demand for 0603- and 0402-size, which became the mainstream in 2018 replacing 1005-size, is expected to continue growing along with the trend toward higher capacitance. Automobiles incorporate a growing number of electronic components, too, and in 2018, 1005-size MLCCs became the mainstream replacing 1608-size. The number of 0603-size MLCCs per vehicle continues to increase, and the trends toward the increasing ratio of 0603-size and higher capacitance remain unchanged. These trends have not changed for more than five years, and it is said that the miniaturization and higher capacitance of MLCCs using existing materials will be possible for another 10 years.

This year, amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the smartphone market is forecast to shrink by 10 percent and the automotive market by 20 percent in terms of units. However, amid forecasts of decreases in the sales of many components compared with the previous year, sales of MLCCs are expected to level off or become higher than the previous year, driven by miniaturization and increase in capacitance.

Korea Reinforces Fuel Cell Supply Chain for Green Cars

he Korean government decided to establish a massive infrastructure to produce, store, deliver and charge hydrogen, a key ingredient for fuel-cell, or hydrogen-powered power stations and vehicles, in a hydrogen-technology-driven new economy build-up project. In the blueprint, the government will spur its plan to incubate 500 hydrogen ecosystem players by 2030 and 1,000 more players by 2040 to create a broad range of hydrogen ecosystem infrastructure for hydrogen mobility, fuel cell, hydrogen fuel-filling station, fuel cell power plants, and liquid hydrogen area.

In addition, the country will establish a grid of 40 hydrogen producing facilities across the country.

The establishment of the massive infrastructure is to set up a supply chain system for hydrogen-powered vehicles and fuel power stations. On the way toward that goal, Korea plans to produce 85,000 hydrogen or fuel cell-powered electric vehicles and 660 hydrogen gas filling stations by 2030 across the country. In 2040, Korea plans to harness a capacity to produce 6.2 million hydrogen or fuel cell vehicles and double the gas filling stations to 1,200.

New Research Organization to Develop Chips for Data-Driven Society


he Research Association for Advanced Systems (RaaS) was established to construct a design platform for dedicated chips necessary for systems that support data-driven society and is comprised of The University of Tokyo; Toppan Printing Co., Ltd.; Panasonic Corporation; Hitachi, Limited; and MIRISE Technologies Corporation. RaaS provides services that allow anybody to use leading-edge semiconductor technologies through research to significantly enhance development efficiency and energy efficiency of dedicated chips.

Research Thrust
RaaS started conducting its activities initially with five members that include The University of Tokyo, Toppan Printing, Panasonic, Hitachi, and MIRISE Technologies, which is a joint venture company of Denso Corporation and Toyota Motor Corp., targeting research and development of next-generation automotive semiconductors.

5G Smartphones, Self-Driving Cars Boost MEMS Industry


he micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) industry sustains growth trajectory with the emergence of growth fields, like fifth-generation (5G) smartphones and autonomous driving vehicles.

Smartphones incorporate a variety of MEMS devices, including various sensors, microphones, and high-frequency switches. The adoption of MEMS devices has expanded from smartphones to health and medical equipment, autonomous driving vehicles, robots, to the bio devices field, and the market scale of MEMS devices will continue to expand.

MEMS are micro mechanical systems that combine the mechanical structure with moving parts and electronic circuits. MEMS devices have been used in a variety of fields as indispensable devices for adding values, such as higher functionalities and higher safety, to various products.

Rigid-Flex PCBs Poise for Adoption in 5G Terminals, Automobiles

pplications of rigid-flex printed circuit boards (PCBs) have been expanding. Making the most of their advantages of having complex shapes and being able to be assembled into narrow parts, they are now adopted in internet of things (IoT) terminals, wearables and other mobile devices, and automobiles that come with increasingly advanced functions.

The structure of rigid-flex PCBs combines rigid PCB and flexible printed circuit (FPC). They can be installed in various places by making use of the flexibility of FPC.

The Japan Electronics Packaging and Circuits Association (JPCA) forecasts that the production of rigid-flex PCBs will increase to ¥9.02 billion (about US$84.80 million) in 2021 and will register an annual average growth rate of 1 percent between 2018 and 2021. Although the growth rate is not sharp, steady growth is forecast.

ASM Advances Pandemic-Proof Smart Solutions for SMT Production

odern connected factories have proven to be not only more efficient but also more resilient during the pandemic. Technology leader ASM is driving the development of the integrated smart factory with a whole series of new solutions that allow manufacturers to implement modern production concepts in stages while adjusting to the new normal.

Rising quality requirements, shorter lead times and declining lot sizes are just some of the challenges electronics manufacturers have been facing recently. The pandemic has added another factor, and this is to determine the resilience of production to external shocks and crises.

Alexander Hagenfeldt, Head of Product Marketing at ASM SMT Solutions, explains, “We are currently analyzing lots of data and are asking customers about the impact of the pandemic. But one thing has already become clear: Connectivity, integrated processes, and a high degree of automation have enabled companies to respond to the crisis faster and more effectively.”

Murata Heightens MLCC Business, Expands Applications

urata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. accelerates the expansion of its multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) business. To provide new values to its customers leveraging its product development power, quality, and supply capability, Murata meets market needs integrating development, production, and sales.

The company secures 60 percent share of the global market for 0402 (0.4×0.2mm) size and 50 percent share for 0603 (0.6×0.3mm). It also has 50 percent share in the automotive market and a 40 percent share in the capacitance range of 1μF and larger. Murata Manufacturing intends to further increase its global market share to 40 percent for entire MLCCs.

Sumitomo Bakelite Beefs up Automotive-Use Optical Products

umitomo Bakelite Co., Ltd. has developed a polarizing filter for sensing cameras and started adopting it in some vehicle models. The company has also expanded its lineup of automotive-use optical-related products, and has expanded sales of optical covers for head-up displays (HUDs), and developed waveform selection filters for driver monitoring systems (DMS) and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems. For the future, the company targets sales of ¥3 billion (US$28 million) in 2025, including the development of products for LiDAR. It is expected that a full fledged LiDAR market will happen toward 2023.

Sumitomo Bakelite manufactures and sells various grades of optical materials with functions added to the surface of polycarbonate polarizing plates, hard coats, and anti-fogging coats. These products have been used for eyewear, such as sunglasses, medical-use safety and consumer-use goggles, mobile game machines, and home electric appliances.

Maxell Expands Business, Diversifies Molding Technologies

axell, Ltd. earnestly creates new businesses that leverage on technological expertise it has nurtured and employs original technologies no other company can imitate. In April, the company initiated New Business Promotion Project directly under Keiji Nakamura, President and Representative Director at Maxell.

The company aims to operationalize two technologies: its original molded interconnect device (MID) technology and foam molding technology. Both technologies have a wide range of application areas, including fifth-generation (5G) mobile standard-related applications and next-generation vehicles. The company will accelerate collaboration with partners toward the commercialization of these technologies.

Maxell tackles the MID business and foam molding business as two pillars, making the most of its knowledge of mixing and dispersing, precision coating, and high-precision molding it has positioned as core technologies. By incorporating Maxell’s proprietary technologies, both technologies have been completed that are yet to achieve by other companies. The company is proposing the technologies to bring them into concrete businesses. Atsushi Yusa, Senior Manager, Innovation Exploring Dept., R&D Division, says, “Both technologies can lead to product development that has not been achieved thus far.”

Photo 1: Atsushi Yusa, Senior Manager, Innovation Exploring Dept., R&D Division, Maxell, Ltd.
Photo 1: Atsushi Yusa, Senior Manager, Innovation Exploring Dept., R&D Division, Maxell, Ltd.
Digi-Key Electronics Distributes Septentrio’s GNSS Solutions

igi-Key Electronics has partnered with Septentrio, a leader in high-precision Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) positioning solutions. As a result, Digi-Key now offers mosaic-X5 to its global customers who need secure and reliable high-accuracy positioning in a compact and low-power form factor.

Belgium-based Septentrio’s mosaic-X5 features complete multi-frequency multi-constellation technology and tracks every existing and future signal from all GNSS constellations. Such signal diversity coupled with advanced anti-jamming technology allows mosaic-X5 to deliver centimeter-level positioning with maximum availability even in challenging industrial environments. This makes mosaic-X5 an ideal positioning solution for applications, such as robotics, automation, telematics and many more.

Display Week 2020
Sony Highlights Smallest Micro OLED Projector

his year’s Display Week 2020 (SID2020), which was scheduled to open in June in San Francisco, Los Angeles in the United States, was held online from August 3 to 7 as a precaution to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The online event drew over 5,500 visitors from more than 50 countries.

Among this year’s highlight topics include 1) technologies and applications in the emerging fields of augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality; 2) high-dynamic range; 3) machine learning; and 4) printing display.

Display Week featured four keynote addresses, 15 seminars, four short courses, 340 oral presentations at the symposium, and 231 poster presentations.

This article introduces the smallest micro OLED projector as one of the highlights of the presentations.

NEPCON Asia 2020
NEPCON Asia Reflects Recovery of Chinese Mounter Market

ollowing China’s battle with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), an apparent recovery of the manufacturing industry was evident at the holding of NEPCON Asia 2020. Production plants slowly started to open in the middle of March after the Lunar New Year, and moves have run full swing beginning April.

The agile presence of visitors at NEPCON Asia also supported the gradual recovery of China’s manufacturing industry.

NEPCON Asia is an annual exhibition that showcases manufacturing equipment particularly surface mounting-related equipment. This year’s event was held from August 26 to 28 at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center.

Product | News
Renesas’s ISL78264/3 Controllers
Renesas’s ISL78264/3 Controllers
Renesas Electronics Corporation’s new 42V dual synchronous controllers feature the lowest 6µA quiescent current and integrated 2A source/3A sink MOSFET drivers, providing primary power stage solutions for the Renesas R-Car H3 and R-Car M3 SoCs. The ISL78264 dual sync buck controller manages the intermediate first stage DC/DC conversion, stepping down the 12V battery system to 5V and 3.3V to power the vehicle’s electronic control unit (ECU), in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and digital cockpit systems with 50 to 200W power levels. Meanwhile, the ISL78263 dual sync boost and buck controller provides DC/DC conversion to support power levels of 25 to 100W, while providing a pre-boost if the battery voltage dips to as low as 2.1V during a cranking transient or a start/stop event. Both controllers simplify power supply design by integrating FET drivers that can deliver industry-leading 96 percent peak efficiency and >10A output current. They also include extensive protection for overvoltage (OV), undervoltage (UV), overcurrent, overtemperature, and a bootstrap supply undervoltage detection and refresh circuit to protect the high side MOSFET. Both controllers are AEC-Q100 Grade-1 qualified for ambient operation of -40°C to +125°C.
Renesas Electronics Corporation
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