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Murata eyes new Japanese ceramic materials plant in 2019

Growing capacitor use in smartphones spurs demand

OSAKA -- Murata Manufacturing will open another plant in Japan to produce ceramic material used in capacitors, as demand rises for the increasingly vital smartphone component.

Construction of the 10 billion yen ($89.2 million) factory should be complete in November 2018, with output to commence the following April. The plant announced Monday will be built on the grounds of its production base in Setouchi, Okayama Prefecture.

The factory will mold and bake powdered minerals into ceramic material capable of storing electricity. Murata already produces such material at a Shiga Prefecture plant, but the growing demand spurred the decision to construct another facility.

Murata controls 40% of the global market for multilayer ceramic capacitors, a key smartphone component for noise suppression and other applications. The Japanese electronic parts supplier boasts an integrated manufacturing process, from producing and flattening the ceramic material to using the resulting sheets to make various components.

A single smartphone can contain up to 700 capacitors, and that number is rising as the devices become more advanced. The growth in capacitor production has prompted Murata to boost its ceramic material supply as well.

Murata expanded capital investment to 260 billion yen from 170 billion yen initially planned for the current fiscal year, looking to improve output for smartphone components as orders climb.

(Nikkei)

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