Dominique Numakura's Newsletter from Japan
Oct 22, 2003
Polyimide film shortage againHow many times did we have the same news of polyimide film shortage for the flexible circuits in the last quarter century? We had experienced the up and down cycles many times. A Japanese newspaper was reporting the same news last week because of the booming flexible circuit business in Asia recently. It looks like the cycle time has been getting shorter. There are only three manufacturers of polyimide film in the world. They are Du Pont (including Du Pont-Toray), Kaneka and Ube Industry. Many chemical and material companies have tried to develop alternative materials in the last quarter century, but no material was successful as the major material of the flexible circuits. On the other hand, a couple of companies developed new polyimide resins, but they do not sell the plain polyimide films. The new manufacturers such as Nippon Steel Chemical have been producing only adhesiveless copper laminates, and they have been very successful in the last several years. There is no question that the demands for flexible circuits will grow continuously from the long term stand point. I can say that the polyimide resin could be the major material of flexible circuits in the next 10 years. There is still room for the new material manufacturers to enter the market. But they need to have some new ideas with a good customer service capability to expect a considerable market share. Dominique NumakuraHeadline NewsFujikura (Major flexible circuit manufacturer) Completed the volume production process for the 6 layer rigid/flex with blind via holes and inner via holes for portable electronics and consumer electronics.Mitsui Metal Smelting (Major copper foil and TAB manufacturer) Established the new fine line generation process for 30 micron pitch COF substrates with the casting type adhesiveless flexible copper laminate.Shin Nippon Musen (Major component manufacturer) Rolled out a new small size photo reflector with COBP (Chip on Board Package). 1.6 x 2.4 x 0.8 mmSharp and Hoshiden (Major electronics companies) Co-developed a new LCD panel speaker for the portable electronics. The audio circuits were built on the glass substrates. Fujikura (Major optical fiber and flexible circuit manufacturer) The group finance of 1Q of 2003 had reported a revenue of 72.1 billion Yen, 5.5% increase from the same period of last year with 459 million Yen compared to 2.7 billion loss last year. JSR (Photo resist manufacturer) Introduced a new negative type thick film resist "THB Series" for the micro bump building of the wafer level CSP.Oki Electric (Major electronics company) Developed a thin (0.3 mm thick) flexible heat sink sheet for the portable electronic equipment.Murata (Major component manufacturer) Had an agreement with Sumitomo Electro Device to acquire the LTCC business and HIC business. TOK (Photo resist manufacturer) Will found a new branch in Taiwan to improve the customer service for the growing photo lithography business such as LCD and package modules.Toppan Printing (Major printing company) Will commercialize a low cost (50 Yen) re-writable wireless tag "Tesstar" for 2.45 GHz band.Murata (Major component manufacturer) Developed a new nano-level (less than 20 nano meter) thin film building process of high dielectric materials for ceramic capacitors.Disc drive manufacturers (Japan) Toshiba, Hitachi and Fujitsu have aggressive plans to increase the manufacturing capacity of 2.5", 1.8" and 1" drives to cover the booming demands. Japan Chemical Week (Weekly magazine) Major polyimide film manufacturers have been having a tight supply situation again because of the booming demands of the flexible circuits. All original news items were written in Japanese. Volunteers are choosing the topics and translating to English for free delivery. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the news. Quick news is the first priority of the headlines, therefore, we can not eliminate all of the mistakes in the translations.