New Opportunities for Film Capacitors

Film capacitors are one of the most common capacitor types used in electronic equipment and many AC & DC microelectronics and electronics circuits. Furthermore, film capacitors generally use polypropylene film as a dielectric, and these are used for high-frequency high power applications including heating, pulse power energy discharge application, and AC capacitors for electrical distribution. The film capacitor is widely used in different sectors owing to their higher characteristics. These capacitors are developed with high precision capacitance values and they retain the values longer than other capacitor types. Besides, the film capacitors have a service life and they are highly reliable with a low average failure rate. The capacitor has many types including metalized capacitor, polyester film, polypropylene film, PTFE film, and polystyrene film.

Film Capacitor Industry Chain

The upstream of film capacitors mainly includes a base film, metal foil, wire, and outer packaging resin. Among them, the basement membrane is the core raw material, and the difference of materials will make the film capacitor show different performance. Midstream is a supplier of various types of film capacitors. Film capacitors have a wide range of downstream applications due to their high voltage resistance, non-polarity, wide frequency response, and good temperature characteristics. They are mainly divided into traditional fields and new fields. Traditional fields include home appliances, lighting, and industrial control; emerging fields include wind power, photovoltaic, and new energy vehicles. In the long run, new energy vehicles will become the core driver of industry growth.

In the view of the global market, the demand for ceramic capacitors is biggest in the various capacitors, accounting for 54%, followed by Aluminum electrolytic capacitors for 15%. Although the market share of film capacitors is less than that of ceramic capacitors and aluminum electrolytic capacitors, their characteristics as electronic components have advantages in applications such as new energy vehicles and photovoltaics.

However, the shortcomings of large size and high price of film capacitors also have a great impact on the market share. To meet the needs of new industries, these characteristics of high frequency, large capacity, high current, low impedance, and high voltage will be the development direction of film capacitors.

From a global perspective, Japanese and European companies are the main suppliers in the film capacitor industry. Major companies include Panasonic, Nichicon, and TDK in Japan, KEMET and Vishay in the United States, and Faratronic in China.

Among them, Japanese and American companies are engaged in relatively extensive business, and the income of film capacitor business accounts for a small proportion of the company's income, and their profitability is relatively poor; domestic companies are relatively focused, such as Faratronic, which have accounted for more than 90% of their total revenue over the years, with a strong profitability; Besides, there are companies such as Tongfeng Electronics and Jianghai, which are engaged in the manufacture and sales of film capacitors, but they have a relatively small proportion in the global market.

As the world's top five film capacitor manufacturers, Faratronic is also vigorously expanding the frequency conversion home appliances and new energy markets. The AC film capacitors produced by the company can be used in multiple fields of new energy, including hybrid vehicles, wind power, and solar energy.

Downstream: The Development of Emerging Fields Is a New Opportunity for the Film Capacitor Market

From the perspective of downstream applications, the demand for film capacitors in traditional fields is relatively stable, but in emerging fields, photovoltaic power generation, and wind power generation have brought new opportunities for the plastic film capacitor industry.

Taking new energy vehicles as an example, DC support capacitors are key components in new energy vehicles. Film capacitors replace aluminum electrolytic capacitors and become the first choice for DC support capacitors for new energy vehicles. To increase the output power, the bus voltage of new energy vehicles has a tendency to continuously increase, which puts forward higher requirements on the performance of DC support capacitors. Compared with aluminum electrolytic capacitors, film capacitors are significantly better than aluminum electrolytic capacitors in terms of safety, voltage resistance, and life. At the same time, the emergence of metallized film and metal segmentation technology on the film has made film capacitors smaller and smaller and lower in cost, making film capacitors instead of aluminum electrolytic capacitors the first choice for DC support capacitors for new energy vehicles.

Countries are committed to advancing energy reform centered on clean energy. Photovoltaic and wind power usher in a golden development period. The global installed capacity of photovoltaics is expected to increase from 112GW in 2019 to 300GW in 2025. At the same time, global wind power will increase from the current installed capacity of 60GW/year to 70GW/year. In general, the future photovoltaic and wind power will drive the growth rate of film capacitor demand to remain above 10%, and the market space will reach 1.7 billion yuan by 2025.

At present, models such as Toyota Prius, model3, and BYD "Qin" all use film capacitors as DC support capacitors.

With the development of technology, the replacement cycle of electronics, home appliances, communications, and other industries is getting shorter and shorter. With its good electrical performance and high reliability, film capacitors have become indispensable electronic components to promote the replacement of these industries.

With the non-polarity, high insulation resistance, excellent frequency characteristics, and low dielectric loss, film capacitors have become important electronic components for the upgrading of electric power, electrified railways, hybrid vehicles, wind power, and solar power. At the same time, the future development of electrified railway construction, energy-saving lighting, and hybrid vehicles will adversely affect the film capacitor industry and drive the market demand for film capacitors.

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