The price of NPO capacitors returns to rationality
Since the release of the iPhone wireless charger in September last year, the price of NPO capacitors has changed a lot. From the original not more than 0.3RMB to more than 3RMB. Prices have risen more than ten times. Recently, the researchers revealed that the NPO capacitor has now dropped down to about 0.4RMB. The price of NPO capacitors has returned to a reasonable level.
NPO capacitor price used to be out of control
The NPO capacitor also called the 104 capacitors, is a 0.1μF (100nF) capacitor. According to the metal composition used inside the capacitor, the package size and the amount of precious metal determine the price. The wireless charger usually uses the 104/NPO material capacitor with the 1206 package. The NPO capacitor has extremely high stability and lower loss compared to the low-cost MLCC capacitor. So it has been used in the wireless charger with the transmitter coil. To produce an alternating electromagnetic field that can be accepted by the wireless charging receiver.
Because of the increase in NPO capacitor’s price, in the past nine months, the wireless charger’s price was a stilling raising. Everyone in the upstream of the MLCC supply chain has been issued price increase notices, which has become the top topic for wireless charging practitioners. Instead of discussing innovation, they were looking for NPO capacitors.
NPO capacitor prices skyrocket
In September last year, NPO capacitor prices rose tenfold.
The iPhone 8 has created new charging needs that are stimulating the wireless charging market and have a very large impact on the upstream supply chain. Some people in supply chain sources revealed that the price of NPO capacitors has not been high before Sep. 2017. But as a result of Apple’s support for wireless charging, some people began to pick up the OPN capacitor to starting to the hype. This head start gave the price of NPO capacitors rose from 0.3 RMB to 3 RMB per piece. The price has risen more than 10 times. However, it is still out of stock. The delivery of existing orders cannot be guaranteed. A wireless charger usually uses 3-5 NPO capacitors, so the price of the wireless charger used NPO capacitors had to be increased.
NPO capacitor prices fall back
NPO capacitors are a raw material for wireless charging, but they are not irreplaceable. When the price of NPO capacitors skyrocketed, wireless charging solutions manufacturers had to found new materials to replace the NPO capacitors. They found X7R and CBB capacitors. Till now many solutions using X7R and CBB have passed the Qi certification of the WPC.
By July 2018, the arrival of the off-season caused the wireless charging market to stop growing. Therefore, the decline in the sales volume of finished products also inhibited the market demand for NPO capacitors, resulting in a drop in prices.
CBB capacitors have been used in early audio equipment. However, due to volume constraints, CCB capacitors are replaced by smaller chip capacitors in today’s audio equipment. But CBB capacitors are reborn on wireless chargers that are less demanding. Low price and relatively low loss become the best substitute for the expansive NPO capacitors.
Therefore, the demand for NPO capacitors is decreasing, and the price is falling.
NPO capacitors’ price will increase again?
There should be no more big ups and downs.
Since the demand is increasing for higher-grade MLCCs in the automotive, industrial and iPhone markets, the high-grade MLCCs are much more profitable than the standard-grade MLCCs. From the second half of 2017, factories like Murata, Samsung Electromechanical, TDK and Taiyo Yuden, etc. gradually stopped production of standard-grade MLCC products. As a result, the standard-grade MLCC supply at that time was insufficient. It is one of the reasons for the rising price of the NPO capacitor.
However, many MLCC factories in China mainland have already completed the design and testing of NPO capacitor. The NPO capacitor will be mass produced at the third and fourth seasons in 2018.