Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services


Passives maker aims at communications perfection

9 May 2001 Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services

As a global player and broadliner in passive electronic components, Epcos offers its key markets - telecoms, consumer, automotive, and industrial electronics - an extensive product portfolio. The now booming telecommunications industry is also fuelling multifaceted growth. Progress is being promoted just as much by innovations in fixed networks, as it is by the latest in WAP mobile phone technology. Telecoms, the driving force of so many technologies is itself, driven by trends in electronics.

Next-generation technologies such as the Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) are creating new value chains from which Epcos and its customers will profit. Rapidly changing technologies are producing equipment of higher functionality and performance, and higher bandwidths and speed are exponentially widening the scope of application for passive electronic components - for example in filter, control, and security functions. Today, a contemporary mobile phone contains some 150 multilayer ceramic capacitors, 10 varistors, 10 tantalum capacitors and up to five surface acoustic wave (SAW) filters. Similarly, the basestations for mobile radio, wireless office communications, packet-based carrier networks and multimedia consumer equipment with Internet access are likewise fuelling demand for such components.

The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) has made Internet access mobile, and the vast bandwidth of UMTS will soon make mobile multimedia a reality in miniature devices. For UMTS, Epcos offers customer specific innovations such as low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) modules that integrate numerous discrete components in a minimum of space. The miniaturisation record is currently held by radio frequency filters in chip-size SAW packages (CSSPs). With a footprint of only 2 x 2 mm, they fit very densely packed circuit boards.

All segments of the Epcos company can claim credit for this success. In RF filters for mobile radio for example, the company steadily builds on its position as a world market leader. Applications:

* Mobile radio - SAW Multiband filters of 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 design integrate two or three SAW filters in a single component. They make it possible to design mobile wireless devices of higher functionality with even more compact dimensions.

* Internet - Ferrite cores for transformer in digital subscriber line (xDSL) equipment are distinguished by minimum signal distortion for maximum bandwidth. xDSL uses existing copper cable for broadband access over 'last mile' of conventional fixed networks.

* Switching - Gas-filled surge arrestors from the Ceramic Components division protect basestations of mobile networks and central offices of fixed networks against voltage surges caused by lightning, preventing disruption of services.

* Telephones - Microwave ceramic filters are distinguished by high selectivity at the highest frequencies with matching power. They are used in the transmit and receive circuitry of telephones.

Epcos' drive for perfection can be seen in its consistent quality management and continuous improvement policies that are aimed at zero defects.



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