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MLCC Materials for Electronic Components

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Background

Powder Processing & Technology, LLC was asked to develop low temperature sintering ferrite materials by a worldwide leading electronic component manufacturer. This material was for multi-layered co-firing chip inductors and electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding beads for SMD applications. We named this material LSF (Low Temperature Sintering Ferrite). At the time of inquiry, there were no such raw materials commercially available while a few component manufacturers produced for their own consumption.

The challenge for this material development was to co-fire with silver electrode with a melting temperature of 963°C. The customer approached PPT since PPT was the biggest manufacturer of NiZn ferrite ready to press powders in the world. Although PPT had many years of experience producing NiZn ferrite powders, developing LSF sinterable at 900°C or lower was new at the time and the customer was not able to input any knowledge for such material development.

Solution

PPT began experimenting on various compositions, producing a few Kilograms each and evaluated electromagnetic properties after sintering pressed toroids at 900°C. The process parameters were fine-tuned after the selection of best composition.

Then PPT processed a 50 Kg sample for the customer's evaluation. The evaluation involved organic system selection, tape casting, silver printing on ferrite sheets, stacking, cutting, sintering, and plating, etc. The challenge was the ferrite powders had to be compatible to each process at the customer's site. The first attempt was a success, fortunately.

The next step was to produce a few hundred kilograms for the customer's fine tuning of their process and dispatching chip samples to end users. The challenge was to produce microscopically homogeneous material throughout the lot since the multilayered chip size was very small such as 16 x 32 mm. And now it's more challenging since chip size has been reduced to 1.0 x 0.5 mm. PPT has successfully produced mass quantities very homogeneously by using a big slurry holding tank with a capacity of 4.5 MT.

Since PPT achieved this first success, we have been able to develop 9 kinds of LSF materials and to commercialize 7 kinds for covering wide frequency range applications. One particular material among these is LSF220.  More than 400 MT have been produced since it became commercially available in 1994 and it was the first of its kind in the world. Considering such small size chips, several hundred metric tons of LSF powders could generate an unaccountable number of chips.

We are pretty sure anyone who has small electronic gadgets such as a wireless phone has benefited from our materials. We are proud to be in your life!

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