Mini-Circuits Earmarks US$50M for LTCC
ProductionThe steady demand for wireless products has
prompted New York-based semiconductor company Mini-Circuits to invest
US$50 million for the manufacture of a new IC component at its Penang
The component is a low-temperature cofired ceramic (LTCC)
component that was designed jointly with two foundries in Belgium and
Taiwan. Mini-Circuits' four design centers located in New York,
California, Israel and India were involved in the development
LTCC enables circuits to be designed and printed onto
ceramic. Unlike traditional circuits designed on a flat circuit board,
LTCC can be created in three dimensions, bringing the size down. Reduced
size means lower costs and improved repeatability.
Kiew, Mini-Circuits Technologies Malaysia Sdn Bhd chairman and president,
noted that the LTCC will be used in radio telecommunication
"The LTCC is a thin piece of ceramic package that can
incorporate 20 layers of circuitry in one ceramic substrate allowing it to
act as a semiconductor chip. This enables very high-speed wireless
applications," he said.
Kiew added that the IC will complement the
company's core production of radio frequency (RF) mixers. Mini-Circuits
Inc had set up an RF and microwave component design center in Penang in
The Penang facility, opened in
1999, began the manufacturing, assembly, testing and distribution of the
LTCC early this year.
"Presently, we sell about 60 million RF
mixers to 80 countries. We hope the sales of our LTCC will exceed this
amount in two years time when the market for it picks up," Kiew
Mini-Circuits Technologies is working jointly with several
Penang companies to produce precision-tool mechanical parts for satellite
transmission stations. In addition to R&D, manufacturing and
logistics, the Penang facility also serves as Mini-Circuits' global
procurement and warehousing center. With 11 plants worldwide,
Mini-Circuits is one of the world's major RF suppliers with clients such
as Cisco, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Motorola, NEC and Nokia.
also underway to open a sales office in Shanghai, China, to complement the
recently set-up Taiwan operations. The two offices will cost the company
US$20 million and are aimed at servicing its customers in the two sales
Major calamities such as the severe acute respiratory
syndrome outbreak, the Iraq war and the 9/11 tragedy are said to have had
little impact on the company as it managed to grow by 10% in the last two
years. Mini-Circuits Technologies currently manufactures and exports a
range of mixers, amplifiers, switches, transformers and attenuators to
customers across the region and globally.
"We are lucky to be in
the business of wireless communication products that are less sensitive to
the economic slowdown compared with others," noted Kiew.
(October 2003 Issue, Nikkei Electronics
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