TDK Corporation has opened a new production facility for EPCOS power capacitors at its Zhuhai FTZ plant in China. In doing so, TDK is expanding and consolidating its power capacitor production based in China. Besides capacitors, TDK manufactures a wide range of EPCOS protection devices and temperature sensors at the plant – not just for the rapidly growing Chinese market, but also for global sales. The plant is located in the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) of this coastal city, which is very close to Hong Kong.
Focus on the Chinese market for power electronics
The new production building with its floor space of 8000 square meters houses the production for three product groups: PEC, PFC and MKP capacitors. These components are used in industrial electronics applications, such as electric rail systems, high-voltage DC (HVDC) transmission systems, power factor correction (PFC) systems, and in industrial drives.
About 70 percent of the power capacitors produced in Zhuhai are destined for the Chinese market. “Driven by extensive state investment in the infrastructure of the country, China is well on the way to becoming the world’s largest market for power electronics,” says Dr. Werner Lohwasser, General Manager of TDK’s Aluminum and Film Capacitors Business Group. “With the help of our competent local workforce, we will be able to serve the large demand for power capacitors in China with products made in China.” This investment is moving TDK even closer to its customers in China, where it can provide technical support in their own language and considerably shorten delivery times of its products. “In this way we have made ourselves even more competitive in the world’s most attractive regional electronics market,” adds Lohwasser.
15 years of growth
The production of ceramic elements for varistors started at the Zhuhai FTZ facility in the year 2000. At that time, the plant covered 7000 square meters and employed about 240 people. Since then, the production area and the capacities have grown continuously: Today, Zhuhai FTZ has a production area of nearly 50,000 square meters and a workforce of about 3000. Two hundred more jobs are to be created by the new capacitor production.
“The last 15 years have been marked by very fast growth,” says Dr. Herbert Poelzl, who has managed the plant for four years. “In addition to the frequent construction of additional production lines, we are also increasing the research and development based here,” adds Poelzl. “At present, we have almost 130 engineers. The times when China was regarded as just an extended workbench are now long gone.”
Wide range of products for numerous applications
Today, the plant manufactures a wide range of different product technologies. In addition to varistors, the range includes inrush current limiters and PTC thermistors for applications not only in industrial electronics and power engineering, but also in automotive and consumer electronics. In addition to the power capacitors, the Zhuhai factory also manufactures DC capacitors, which are predominantly used for the suppression of electromagnetic inter-ference in electrical systems and devices. And the temperature sensors produced here are used mainly in automotive and consumer electronics sectors.
- PEC (power electronic capacitors): These capacitors are used for filtering and smoothing voltages in the kilovolt range, such as occur in the electrical traction drives of locomotives.
- PFC (power factor correction): Reactive power, which occurs when the phase angle between current and voltage is shifted. It is caused by inductive loads such as electric motors and transformers and has no use, but is unavoidably generated by power plants. Reactive power can be almost completely compensated by switching PFC capacitors, reducing energy costs and lessening the load on the environment.
- MKP (metallized polypropylene): Metallized film produced by vapor deposition of metal by vacuum on a polypropylene film just a few micrometers thick. These films are often the core component of wound film capacitors.