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村田制作所:MEMS将在物联网大展拳脚

我们正试图开发无线通讯感测网络应用方案,能用以打造智能家庭,包括控制灯光、 空调、室内温度监控等…可聪明省电的方法。”他指出,此策略将与目前在中国、日本当红的物联网概念结合。

日商村田制作所(Murata Manufacturing)向来被定位为被动组件与电源组件大厂,该公司截至2012年3月底的财务年度营收达到5,847亿日圆(约73.4亿美元);村田以其多层陶瓷电容闻名业界,也生产包括无线模块与各式传感器等多样产品。村田最近宣布收购芬兰 MEMS 供货商 VTI Technologies ,后者将更名Murata Electronics;该公司并打算在物联网(IoT)领域展现MEMS技术的复杂性与价值。 在接受EETimes美国版的采访时,村田制作所社长村田恒夫(Tsuneo Murata)表示,该公司其实已有20年的传感器生产历史,但产品的品质不如VTI;该公司未来确实打算从被动组件的生产,往更高复杂度、更高价值的产 品项目迈进,但是不会背离原有业务太远。村田强调,其收购策略不只与产品复杂度、价值相关,也重视终端应用市场的扩展:“以VTI为例,该公司在汽车与工业应用领域有很强的基础,而这些领域是村田制作所较不擅长的。” 村田表示,该公司向来的强项是通讯与消费性电子应用领域,有45%营收来自于通讯、19%来自PC与外围,10%则是来自视听消费性电子;而VTI有75% 的营收来自于汽车领域,是加速度计、陀螺仪与电子车身稳定控制系统(electronic stability control,ESC)用组合组件的主要供货商。村田制作所是在2012年1月以200亿日圆(约1.9亿欧元、2.6亿美元)现金收购VTI,后者以 6吋晶圆生产MEMS。 “我们希望能藉由收购强化在汽车应用领域的业务,然后能为消费性应用领域带来一些新产品。”村田表示,汽车市场有很不错的商机,特别是汽车内部的电子组件有越来越增加的趋势;而他们的下一步是将MEMS技术导入消费性电子领域。 与VTI擅长的汽车或医疗应用领域相较,消费性应用市场是很不同的,后者对规格的要求虽然较低,但利润却很微薄、产品价格下滑压力也很大;村田指出:“消费性市场竞争不易,我们需要一个好策略,也许会利用一些委外代工资源。”这意味着该公司可能不会急着将VTI在芬兰Vantaa的生产线升级至8吋晶圆,反而会倾向于和晶圆代工大厂如GlobalFoundries、台积电(TSMC)合作。
村田制作所社长村田恒夫(Tsuneo Murata)在芬兰VTI总部接受EETimes专访
村田制作所社长村田恒夫(Tsuneo Murata)在芬兰VTI总部接受EETimes专访
 至于在中国、 印度等新兴市场的策略,村田表示,该公司在中国武汉与深圳各有一座工厂,生产多层陶瓷电容(MLCC)、无线通讯模块与电源供应器;而他也指出,中国已经 成为世界的电子工厂,村田制作所有五成的产品是销往中国,用来组装成各种电子产品、然后卖到世界各地。村田指出,该公司已经开始在中国进行电源供应器与无 线通讯模块的设计开发。 村田制作所有八成的生产是在日本,但却有八成五的营收是来自于海外市场,因此该公司对于汇率波动十分敏感;对此村田表示:“因此我们尝试在日本以外的地区建立制造据点,如中国、泰国与新加坡;”该公司位于于菲律宾的陶瓷电容工厂预计2013年开幕。 而在被问到继MEMS之后,村田制作所还将更进一步投入其它高复杂性产品如数字电子组件、软件吗?村田表示,该公司是有能力的:“我们收购了一家Wi-Fi 无线通讯模块供货商Sychip,该公司也具备软件开能力;利用其专长,我们正试图开发无线通讯感测网络应用方案,能用以打造智能家庭,包括控制灯光、 空调、室内温度监控等…可聪明省电的方法。”他指出,此策略将与目前在中国、日本当红的物联网(IoT)概念结合,但产品上市时间未定。 最后,针对村田制作所是否会继续藉由收购策略来取得更多新技术的问题,村田并没有直接回答,仅表示:“我们一直在观察科技的演变,以得知是否有更新的技术会 使得我们部分业务被取代;我们也一直注意新公司、研究机构的行动。收购并非扩展我们技术能力的唯一途径,我们也可能会与伙伴合作,与业界、学界进行新技术研发的投资。” 编译:Judith Cheng 本文授权编译自EE Times,版权所有,谢绝转载 本文下一页:参考英文原文:Murata wants to build from MEMS to Internet of Things, by Peter Clarke

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{pagination} Murata wants to build from MEMS to Internet of Things Peter Clarke VANTAA, Finland – Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd. has been on the acquisition trail for several years and it is now fine tuning its approach as it seeks to move up in complexity and value through MEMS to the Internet of Things (IoT). Murata (Kyoto, Japan) is often billed as a passives-to-power-supplies giant. With annual sales of 584.7 billion yen (about $7.34 billion) in the year to March 31, 2012, Murata is definitely a giant and one that is well known for its multilayer ceramic capacitors, but it makes a broad range of components including wireless modules and a variety of sensors. In an interview with president Tsuneo Murata, conducted during his visit to the newly acquired MEMS manufacturer VTI Technologies Oy (Vantaa, Finland) here – as it was renamed Murata Electronics Oy – EE Times asked Murata about the company's acquisition strategy. Tsuneo Murata, president of Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd., during his visit to the company's MEMS subsidiary in Finland on May 25, 2012. Was it about moving away from passives and up in terms of complexity and value? "Murata has produced sensors for 20 years. But without creating such good quality as VTI," said Murata. "Yes we are going to go in that direction but not go too far away from the original business." And Murata emphasized that it is not just about the product complexity and value but also about the end markets. "In the case of VTI they are very strong in automotive and industrial, areas where Murata is not so strong." Murata's strengths traditionally lie in communications and consumer applications with 45 percent of sales in communications, 19 percent in PCs and peripherals and 10 percent in audio-visual consumer electronics, Murata said. About 75 percent of VTI sales are into the automotive sector where it is a leading supplier of accelerometers, gyroscopes and combo units for electronic stability control (ESC). Murata acquired VTI, which manufactures MEMS on 150-mm diameter wafers, in January 2012 for about 20 billion yen (about 190 million euro or $260 million) in cash, so what does the company intend to do with it? "We want to reinforce the business in automotive. Then we want to have new products in the consumer area," said Murata. Murata said automotive is good business and expanding as the electronics content of automobiles goes up. Providing MEMS to the consumer sector will be a next step. The consumer market is quite different to the automotive and medical sectors where VTI has been strong, characterized by less demanding specifications but thin margins and downward price pressure. "It's very tough to compete [in consumer]. We need to have a good strategy," said Murata. "To get into consumer we may need to utilize some outsourcing," he added. This suggests that rather than expand into 200-mm wafer processing in Vantaa the company is more likely to work with one of the mainstream IC foundries, such as GlobalFoundries Inc. or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. that have fabs in southeast Asia, and who are eager to expand into MEMS production. IoT is popular in China and Japan What is Murata's approach to developing countries such as China, India? "We have two factories in China, one in Wuxi and one in Shenzhen, making MLCCS and wireless communications modules and power supplies." Murata goes on to indicate that China has become the world's electronics factory, stating that 50 percent of all of Murata's production is shipped to China for assembly into equipment. That equipment then goes all over the world. He adds that Murata is starting to develop design functions in China for power supplies and wireless communications modules. However, some 80 percent of Murata's production is in Japan while 85 percent of sales are outside of Japan, which makes the company sensitive to exchange rates, Murata said. "So we try to encourage production outside Japan; in China, Thailand, Singapore." The next step is to open an MLCC factory in the Phillipines in 2013, he added. So after MEMS will Murata continue to move up in complexity and into digital electronics and software? "We have that capability," says Murata. "We acquired Sychip. They produce wireless communications modules based on the Wi-Fi standard. They also have software capability for protocol for communications module. Using these kind of people we are trying to develop wireless sensor networks, which can be used in smart house; smart way to use electricity, lighting dimmers, airconditioning, temperature monitoring." Murata said this strategy links into the Internet of Things or IoT which is a popular topic, but particularly in China and Japan. "We're not sure how soon this technology will be used in the market." When asked why China and Japan are pursuing IoT so aggressively Murata responded: "One reason is the energy crisis in Japan. We have shut down all the nuclear plants. And in China the demand for electricity is increasing very rapidly and they face environmental issues." As a final question EE Times asked Murata about his company’s approach to supporting startup companies that, because they are agile, can often be source of new technologies that electronics giants may then choose to acquire. "We always watch the movement of technology. We want to know if new technology will displace some of our business. We always watch those activities at new companies and amongst research people," Murata said, without mentioning funding startups. "Acquisition is not the only way to extend our technology. We may collaborate in partnerships. We do some investment of funding for new development at companies and with universities." VTI Technologies in Vantaa near Helsinki is renamed Murata Electronics Oy
本文为国际电子商情原创文章,未经授权禁止转载。请尊重知识产权,违者本司保留追究责任的权利。
Peter Clarke
业内资深人士Peter Clarke负责EETimes欧洲的Analog网站。 由于对新兴技术和创业公司的特殊兴趣,他自1984年以来一直在撰写有关半导体行业的文章,并于1994年至2013年为EE Times美国版撰稿。
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