Besides miniaturization, makers emphasize enhanced chip resistor performance for established and emerging application markets.
Sustained miniaturization initiatives in China's chip resistor manufacturing industry have advanced 0201, 0402 and 0603 types to the mainstream, although units in up to 2512 remain in supplier catalogs. For more-compact requirements, there are 01005 variants from major local player Guangdong Fenghua Advanced Technology Holding Co. Ltd. Mobile electronics, including smartphones, tablet PCs and wearable devices, are still the key driver of this trend.
Companies look to gain from prospects in the steadily growing automotive electronics, industrial, medical and robotics applications. Interviewed makers, however, have yet to receive orders for the last but indicate readiness to turn out models. In addition to these growing sectors, suppliers are nurturing opportunities in established markets in consumer electronics, computer and telecom products, and home appliances.
So, besides miniaturization, they continue to highlight improvements in terms of precision and coefficient of resistance or TCR. Current thick- and thin-film chip resistors feature tolerance of ±0.1 percent, with the former having ±50ppm/C and the second ±25ppm/C or as low as ±5ppm/C.
For the vehicle electronics segment, companies such as Guangdong Fenghua have released thick-film types that are automotive-grade and have passed the AEC-Q200 standard. Such units can withstand severe conditions in terms of temperature, humidity, vibration, dust and other pollutants. The manufacturer offers the AC series mainly for general uses in onboard comfort and entertainment systems, and the AH series for dedicated applications in vehicle power, safety and body control.
Sichuan Yongxing Electronics Co. Ltd focuses on high-power chip resistors widely adopted in elevated-frequency power supplies of electric equipment. The components come in 25 and 32W models in TO-220 and TO-263 SMD packages.
Elsewhere in the industry, miniaturization continues, with leading makers such as Rohm and Yageo introducing 009005 units measuring 0.3x0.15mm. At present, there are no China suppliers planning to develop models in this ultracompact configuration due to limited demand. High investment and technological challenges are also barriers to this venture.
Chip types account for 90 percent of local production for the resistor line. This is because the category benefits from steady demand growth, which in China will boost revenue by approximately 10 percent in coming years compared with just 5 percent projected for the global market.
Guangdong Fenghua estimates the sales value increase in 2016 is 30 to 50 percent. It raised monthly manufacturing capacity to 20 billion units in 2016 from 15 billion in the previous year. More than 90 percent of the company's resistors are chip units.
Sichuan Yongxing's volume is equally divided between chip and lead types. The maker's expected end-2016 gain from the former is 20 percent higher sales.
As for Shenzhen Jingdacheng Electronics Co. Ltd, compact variants have a share of about 20 percent only.
China is the biggest production hub for chip resistors, churning out over 50 percent of the worldwide total. Approximately 30 companies gather there, including industry giants Yageo, Rohm, Walsin and Uniohm. Their factories are in the provinces of Guangdong and Jiangsu, and Shanghai and Tianjin city.