Integrated Production System

If new features are needed, always go back to finding the right materials. This is the starting point of Murata's integrated production system that pioneered the diverse world of electronic components.

The foundation of Murata dates back to the discovery of barium titanate. Since this beginning, Murata has always focused on the choice of materials and established a total production system from raw materials to finished product, through research and development. Its processes include controlling chemical composition and crystal structure of materials, forming suitable for functionality, ceramic firing for bringing out the electric properties, processing with sophisticated processing technology as well as circuit design technology, analysis and simulation, and quality testing. Every process intricately interfaces with processes behind and ahead. Whenever we explore new technologies, whenever we try to solve a problem, we come up with the optimal method through close communications between each of the processes. The knowledge accumulated in this fashion is Murata’s greatest asset. Production, to us, is appropriate administration of such an asset.

1. Materials

Murata has established a technology to precisely control ceramic materials and electrode materials that critically determine the property of electronic components.

Murata's several hundreds of ceramic materials include barium titanate and zirconium lead titanate. As ultra miniaturization of electronic components advances, in addition to chemical constitution, grain size and form of material particles have gained importance. Murata is currently aiming to establish grain control technology at nanometer levels by incorporating computational science approaches such as finite element method, Monte Carlo method and molecular dynamics method.

Molecular dynamics simulation of alpha-alumina/glass surfaces. We aim to apply this knowledge to gain control over ceramic sintering and grain growth.

2. Forming

From 1 μm thick ceramic sheets to complexly shaped filters created by injection forming-we pursue "the functional shape".

In sheet forming, water and binder (glue) are added to ceramic material to be formed over a film. When it dries, metal paste electrodes are printed. The thickness of this sheet, in the case of an ultra small chip monolithic ceramic capacitor, is approximately 1 μ m. The most crucial step to forming technology is distributing ceramic particles uniformly at a high density within the sheet.

Process of forming a ceramic sheet thinner than paper to print nickel or copper paste to form electrodes.

3. Firing

When fired, ceramic's crystal structure shifts to achieve certain properties. Firing is a technique to control these invisible changes inside a furnace.

Firing conditions of ceramic materials and electrode materials printed on the ceramics have optimized temperature and atmosphere respectively. Crystal formation and constitution of grain boundary change with firing time and temperature profile. These changes greatly affect electric properties such as its dielectric property and withstand voltage. Optimized firing profiles supported by scientific knowledge are one of Murata's most important assets.

Murata also has designed the sintering furnace from scratch. All technical elements of the furnace, such as its shape, control method and the "sagger" supporting ceramic products affect component's properties.

4. Processing

Once they have gained electric properties from the processes through firing, ceramics are formed into electronic components through various additional processes.

Due to demand for diverse and advanced features in electronic devices, components are required to have a higher level of integration. Murata satisfies such requirements by developing modules with various functionalities. Offering modules that assume specific functions for such electronic devices as power supplies, antennas, communications equipment, tuners and sensors contributes to optimal circuit design and reduction of workload in parts mounting. As ultra miniaturization of electronic components such as the chip monolithic ceramic capacitor in EIA 01005 size (0.4 mm x 0.2 mm) advances, highly advanced mounting techniques become necessary. Murata aims to contribute to the development of mounting technology in the entire industry field by offering its expertise, nurtured through production of modules, to users and mounting machinery manufacturers.

Manufacturing processes range from relatively simple processes, such as connecting electrodes, coating with resin, and winding coils, to complicated processes, such as producing modules encompassing circuitry design.

5. Finish

Once completed, products are delivered to users only if rigorous testing proves that they live up to their Murata label.

Although each production process ensures reliability of products, they must also pass a strict quality check at the last stage. Components are not only tested individually, but also tested for their expected performance actually mounted on electronic circuits and devices. Noise suppression components are tested inside one of the largest electromagnetic anechoic chambers in the industry. Murata bears the role of providing application services to its users.

Murata has obtained certifications in the ISO9001 international quality management standards, QS9000 quality requirements system from the "big three" automakers in the US, and ISO/TS16949 international standards specific to the automobile industry, as well as from EMC testing institutions in Europe and the United States.