MLCC demand is powering progress

TTI’s director, product management—ceramic and tantalum capacitors, Jennifer Lewis, alerts buyers to increasing demand for multilayer ceramic capacitors

In the middle of the electronics industry’s demand for higher performance components is the multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) market which, according to Mordor Intelligence, will swell from $13.2 billion in 2023 to $17.7 billion in 2028, growing at a CAGR of 6.03 per cent. The Global and China Multi-Layer Ceramic Capacitor (MLCC) Industry Report (2019 to 2025) expects MLCC supply to reach 6.1T pieces/year by 2025, six times higher than today’s production levels. The future is bright for MLCCs.

What is causing the surge? Innovation in the automotive industry, 5G technology, IoT, AI and the cloud are key factors. MLCCs’ unique qualities also help. Accounting for more than 50 per cent of the capacitor market, MLCCs are smaller and lighter than most capacitors and better able to meet higher voltage, frequency, temperature and power demands. They are also less expensive.

Some obstacles stand in the way of meeting increased demand. Inventory shortages aren’t what they were but certain categories of MLCCs are still experiencing constraints and extended lead time, particularly in high capacitance values, large case sizes and automotive grade arenas. Many manufacturers have production in China, so tariffs are still a reality coming out of these factories to the US. 

A significant factor pushing MLCC demand is the electrification of transportation, particularly electric vehicles (EVs). Beyond the systems internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles utilize, MLCCs are needed for EV battery management, onboard chargers and charging infrastructure. The number of MLCCs needed is staggering: a standard car can contain up to 10,000 units and a premium vehicle up to 30,000.

In telecommunications, the number of MLCCs in high-end mobile phones has expanded from roughly 70 units in the 4G era to more than 1,000 units today. By 2030, the number of MLCCs in 5G base stations is expected to double. MLCCs are being heavily used in computers, LED lighting, televisions and consumer appliances.

The emergence of IoT, AI, cloud and digitalization—all requiring MLCCs—has also led manufactures to keep an eye on the MLCC market. Other industries that rely heavily on MLCCs include industrial automation, military/aerospace and healthcare. Even if new car sales decrease, the growing MLCC demands of the automotive industry, combined with those in other markets, will still significantly expand worldwide MLCC volumes. 

TTI is keeping its customers well stocked with premium components and well informed on market conditions and product innovations.