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“TOP Machining Technology” – Chapter 1 (Cont.6)



Miniaturization, weight reduction, and high precision of electronic components are going to the limit.


In the previous section, we reported that many Japanese-made electronic components are used in the iPhone. Do you know how many components are incorporated in a smartphone?

The answer is more than 1,000. It is amazing that so many parts are packed into a small product that fits in the palm of your hand. So, what kind of parts are those 1,000?

It is said that about 800 of them are “passive components”.

There are two types of electronic components: passive components and active components. Passive components are components that store, consume, and release energy. Examples include resistors, capacitors, and coils. Active components, on the other hand, are components that have the ability to output energy and include transistors, ICs, diodes, and other types of components. So-called semiconductors are also active components. These electronic components have become smaller and smaller over time. For example, in November 2017, a major Japanese electronics manufacturer announced that its multilayer ceramic capacitors (passive components) are only 0.25 x 0.125 x 0.125 mm in size. The size, called “0201” because it is roughly 0.2 x 0.1 mm in width and height, was touted as one of the smallest in the industry at the time of the announcement. The reality of the electronic components industry is that miniaturization has been progressing in just a few years.

According to an IT media Mobile article published in October 2013 (“Disassembling iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c to understand their ‘innovations'”), passive components such as capacitors and resistors built into the iPhone 5s at the time were 0.4 x 0.2 mm (0402) in size. Furthermore, according to the article, the largest number of smartphone components from manufacturers other than U.S.-based Apple Inc. is the 0603 (0.6 x 0.3 mm) size (at the time the article was published).

Based on the above information, the 0201 size was announced four years after 2013, when the 0402 size was considered the smallest at the time. In just four years, the size of passive components has been cut in half (the 0201 size multilayer ceramic capacitor announced by a major Japanese electronics manufacturer in 2017 reduced mounting area by 60% and volume by 75% compared to its previous product, the 0402 size). Considering the speed of this electronic components industry, the smallest size beyond the 0201 size may be developed around 2021, four years after 2017.