TOKYO Responding to a component shortage fueled by sales of mobile devices, NEC Corp. said it will spend more than $18 million to boost production of tantalum capacitors at a subsidiary in Thailand.
Under the plan, NEC Technologies will increase production of tantalum capacitors from its current 250 million per month to 300 million units per month by next January. Combined with the monthly production of 100 million units at NEC Toyama plant, the new capacity will ensure NEC stays competitive with leading capacitor makers AVX Corp. and Kemet Corp., a spokesman here said.
NEC's decision to invest in additional tantalum capacitor production comes amid a continued shortage of the components, which is being driven by strong demand from makers of portable devices like cellular phones and mobile PCs. Currently NEC is only able to meet 80 to 85 percent of demand for its tantalum capacitors, according to the spokesman.
"There was some nervousness before because prices were depressed for a long time," the spokesman said. "But since last year mobile applications have moved demand the other way."
NEC's announcement comes less than a week after Kemet (Greenville, S.C.) said it would add a total of 85,000 square feet of manufacturing floor space at its plant in Matamoros, Mexico and three facilities in South Carolina for the production of solid tantalum and conductive polymer tantalum capacitors.
Kemet and NEC have an agreement to produce and jointly promote compatible conductive polymer tantalum capacitors.