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New Growth Markets for Electronic Capacitors in the Microwave Frequency Range

Date: 2016-04-20
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Introduction to Microwave and Millimeter Wave Capacitor Markets

    There are many specific sub-segments of the global ceramic capacitor market. It is possible to look at the market from the perspective of high voltage, high frequency, high temperature; or specific harsh environment component operation. Paumanok takes a granular approach to these segments because they are the most profitable, the most fragmented and the most difficult to understand, not only for those actively participating but especially for those mainstream ceramic capacitor manufacturers wishing to enter advanced capacitor markets. Microwave ceramic capacitors represent only 2% of the global market for ceramic capacitors, but have significant profitability and growth potential. Therefore they are of great interest to marketing directors, academics and market research companies like Paumanok Publications, Inc. and industry savvy websites such as MarketEYE.

    This MarketEYE article addresses one of the most interesting segments of the value-added and application specific ceramic capacitor market-the global market for ceramic capacitors used in the microwave and millimeter wave spectrum from 1 GHz to 300 Ghz. The size of the market is in the hundreds of millions of dollars for FY 2015 and global unit consumption is in the hundreds of millions of pieces per year supporting a very high average unit-selling price and profitability margin in comparison to other segments of the capacitor market. The emerging markets for microwave capacitors are beginning to materialize in automotive collision avoidance with an entre into the next level of the intelligent vehicle highway system.

    Most of the established customers in the microwave and millimeter wave end-markets to date, such as base station, medical and aerospace are based upon “direct” OEM sales to large individualized customers competing in global markets. The movement to microwave and millimeter wave spectrums into the consumer markets means opportunities for western manufacturers of components to sell into Taiwan and China to support device to device communications frequencies for the Internet of Things and to sell globally to new customers for radar circuits in automotive collision and traffic toll collection especially in the USA, Germany and Japan. They are attractive and old markets, and with great technical requirements and a close personal face-to-face relationship with its component vendors. Paumanok views these markets as about to undergo a significant change involving added competition in the space; more consolidation among established players and greater focus on raw materials. This is just one in a series of reports from Paumanok Publications, Inc. involving niche markets in the global capacitor, resistor and inductor supply chain where quality and performance are more important than price; but whose profit margins are significant enough to entice engineers to exceed their expectations.

Microwave and Millimeter Wave Ceramic Capacitor Markets: Scope of Market Coverage

    Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from one meter to one millimeter; with frequencies between 300 MHz (100 cm) and 300 GHz (0.1 cm). This broad definition includes UHF, SHF and EHF (millimeter waves), and various sources use different boundaries. The applications for capacitors in microwave frequency electronics includes bypass, coupling, tuning, feedback, impedance matching and DC blocking in circuits such as RF amplifiers, filters and timing circuits.

    Microwave and millimeter wave technology is used in many industries including television broadcasting, radar systems, computer and mobile platform networks, remote control, remote metering/monitoring, and defense navigation and communication. From a market perspective the customers in these segments are large individualized dominant players who require a direct sales approach. The freeing up of commercial frequencies in the microwave range for automotive, transportation and small cell communications will increase the markets, investments and opportunities in the sector.

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