- TDK History
- Social events, history of electronics
1930Invention of magnetic material "ferrite"
1931Invention of electron microscope Charles Lindbergh successfully
crossed the North Pacific by airplane.
1935Development of radar TV broadcasting started
Tokyo Denki Kagaku Kogyo K.K. established in Tamura-cho,
Shiba-ku, Tokyo City for commercial production of the
world's first ferrite cores, relying on the ferrite patent by
Dr. Kato and Dr. Takei.
Bringing clear sound and pictures to people's homes.
The world's first application of ferrite as a ferrite core results in a dramatic reduction of noise.
Until about 1950, listening to the radio often was marred by noise and interference, and reception sensitivity was not very high.
But once ferrite cores came into use, the noise decreased and the sound became clearer, allowing more people to listen and to obtain a wide range of information.
During the postwar economic growth period in Japan, the advent of television ushered in the age of visual information.
Ferrite from TDK was used extensively for the deflection yoke cores in the CRT tubes of television sets which increasingly found their way into people's homes.
1937Kamata Plant constructed in Tokyo.
Ferrite core reaches the market under the
product name "Oxide Core." Production of color movies becomes widespread.
1938Invention of magnetic sound recording system with AC biasing method.
1939Japanese Naval Institute of Technology
formally adopted ferrite cores
with marine radio.
1940Ferrite cores produced
in large numbers,
for use in mu-tuning
units of radios. Hirasawa Branch Plant
constructed in Hirasawa-cho,
1945Kamata Plant burns down (April)
Ferrite production restarted (October, Hirasawa Plant) Computer with stored program proposed. Concept of communications satellite announced.
1947Rapid rise in demand for IF
transformer cores for use in
superheterodyne type radio
receivers. Invention of the transistors.
1951Black-and-white TV deflection
yoke cores reached the market. Production of standard-size cylindrical
ceramic capacitors started
at Hirasawa Plant.
1953"Synchro Tape" brand of magnetic recording tape introduced. DNA double helix structure discovered.
1954World's first transistor
1956Ichikawa Plant in Chiba Prefecture constructed. Development of hard disk drives
1957World's first artificial satellite Sputnik
1 successfully launched by the Soviet Union.
Grand Prix at the
1959Invention of integrated
1960TDK introduced its first barium
1961TDK listed on the First Section
of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. First manned space flight
1962Ferrite heads for magnetic drums introduced. Experimental TV satellite
carried out successfully.
"Taking one's music along" creates a new lifestyle.
Cassette tapes designed specifically for music become immensely popular and make the TDK name known to the world.
Music on phonograph records or open-reel tapes required bulky equipment and therefore could only be enjoyed indoors, usually at home. Only after recording on the much more compact cassette tape became possible, people could take their favorite
music with them.
A living environment came to be filled with music anytime, anywhere.
In the latter half of the 1970s, video cassette recorders (VCRs) for home use came onto the market. Benefitting from its extensive experience in audio cassette tapes, TDK began to mass-produce high-performance video cassette tapes.
1968TDK Taiwan Corporation established. Radio wave anechoic chambers introduced. First cassette tapes for music
recording "SD" launched in the USA. Liquid crystal displays
reached the market.
1969Internet R&D began. Apollo 11 moon landing
1971Multilayer ceramic chip
capacitors introduced. Microprocessors introduced.
1972Winchester heads developed.
1973High coercivity ferric oxide
magnetic tapes developed. Oil crisis
1974Switching power supplies
introduced. Samarium cobalt magnets
1976"AVISERT" automatic inserters for
boards with vertical
lead components introduced. VHS home video recorders introduced.
1977Multilayer ceramic chip
capacitors used in
1978VHS and Betamax video
tape products released. Test-tube baby was born.
1979Portable cassette tape players with headphones introduced. Cellular car phone services started.
1980Multilayer chip inductors introduced.
Ever smaller, and ever more capable. TDK drives the progress of home electronics.
Revolutionary multilayering technology leads the way towards smaller, thinner, and lighter home electronics.
After multilayer chip components came into use, home electronics suddenly became much smaller, thinner, and lighter.
Portable telephones which used to require a bulky shoulder-carried unit shrank into mobile phones easily held in one hand.
Passport-size video cameras could be taken anywhere and brought the joy of watching videos to the general public.
And nowadays, all of these functions are usually integrated in a single smartphone.
1982TDK shares listed on the
New York Stock Exchange. Compact Disc players introduced.
1983Company name changed to TDK Corporation Home video game consoles introduced. World's first portable mobile phones
1986Acquisition of magnetic recording head manufacturing
SAE Magnetics (H.K.) Ltd. based in Hong Kong High-temperature
Making "a computer on
every desk" a reality
Thin-film magnetic heads enable building smaller computers with more data storage capacities.
In the early stages of the computer age, an electronic computer was a large-scale device for calculation assembled with advanced technologies. But programming required specialized knowledge and computer use was limited to a few experts.
After hard disk drives with high storage capacities were developed in the 1990s, more software such as spreadsheet or word processing programs, image processing software etc. could be installed on a single computer, and personal computers became an indispensable part of most offices.
The rapid progress towards smaller and lighter hardware with higher storage led to the spread of notebook computers.
Sending email and documents via the Internet became common, and computers can now be used anywhere by anyone.
1988Multilayer integrated device (MHD)
introduced. Giant magnetoresistance (GMR) effect
1989Fall of the Berlin Wall
1990Technical Center in
completed. Internet service
started. Hubble Space
dye film optical discs
1994TDK subsidiary established
in Xiamen, China. High-density recording
MR heads introduced.
1996Cloned sheep "Dolly" was born.
1997World's first hybrid cars introduced.
1998GMR heads introduced. Terrestrial digital TV
broadcasting started in the
1999TMR heads developed successfully. European single currency Euro introduced.
2000Age of digital home appliances arrived.
2001Digital audio players introduced.
2002System of corporate
2005PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording)
heads released. TDK Museum opened in Nikaho City, Akita Prefecture Acquisition of Amperex Technology Ltd.
(polymer lithium battery manufacturing and sales) Acquisition of Lambda Power Group including Densei Lambda
(development/manufacture/sales of power supply products)
2007Marketing and sales operations for TDK brand
recording media sold to Imation Corp.. Smartphone introduced in the USA, rapidly
2008Germany based electronic
EPCOS acquired. Global economic crisis triggered
by Lehman Brothers collapse
2009"Development of Ferrite Materials and
Their Applications" recognized as
2010Age of the
2011TDK formulated TDK Environmental
Action 2020 Plan
(implemented from April 2011) World population exceeded seven billion.
2012Dysprosium (Dy) free magnets developed.
2014TDK withdrew from the recording media
business. Ferrite selected as one of "Top 100
Innovations in Postwar Japan." World's first fuel cell vehicles
2015Age of IoT and AI arrived. Successful observation of
2016Business alliance with Qualcomm and
of joint venture company
announced. Acquisition of sensor manufacturer
Micronas Semiconductor Holding AG TDK Museum reopened after extensive
2017Acquisition of sensor
TDK will continue to use
its tech power
to make the
impossible available in daily life.
Internal view of a transistor radio
- A new type of radio triggers a sudden demand for ferrite.
- In 1947, just after the end of WWII, the old type of radio (4-tube radios and similar) which suffered from noisy reception was replaced by a new principle called a superheterodyne receiver, offering much better performance. However, these receivers require an intermediate frequency transformer (IFT) that in turn needs a ferrite core, and orders for ferrite suddenly started pouring in at TDK, the only ferrite manufacturer in Japan at the time. This enabled TDK to overcome the difficulties of the postwar phase and build a solid foundation that lasts until this day. In 1955, Japan's first transistor radio hit the market. It was equipped with a bar antenna that used a ferrite core from TDK. In this way, TDK made a significant contribution in the field of radios which were the forerunners of today's wide range of audiovisual equipment.
Various types of deflection yoke cores
- Ferrite demand jumps with launch of TV broadcasting.
- In 1950, as NHK (Japan's national public broadcasting organization) began experimental television broadcasting, TDK embarked on the research and development of prototype ferrite cores for the deflection yokes and flyback transformers necessary in order to display an image on a cathode-ray tube. The cores were finally ready for mass production in 1953, around the same time when regular TV broadcasting got under way in Japan. Some seven years later, color TV broadcasting was launched in 1960. In the 1980s, TV screens rapidly became much larger, driving the demand for more complex deflection yoke shapes and higher performance. Power ratings also increased, leading to an increase in demand for power ferrite materials to be used in transformers for switching type power supplies.
- "Paramistor PM-4"
Grand Prix at the
SD Cassette, the world's first cassette tape designed for music (1968)
Video tape using Avilyn magnetic material (1978)
SA Cassette using Avilyn magnetic material (1975)
- Audio tape and video tape adopted by broadcasting stations
- In 1950, the year the first tape recorder made in Japan was introduced, TDK embarked on a research and development project for magnetic tape as a new business, harnessing the company's strength in magnetic materials technology. Three years later, in 1953, a magnetic tape product called "Synchrotape " for open reel tape recorders was launched. Ongoing research resulted in further refinements in terms of materials technology and manufacturing techniques. In recognition of its broadcast level performance, Synchrotape was adopted by broadcasting stations in 1957. Technical cooperation by TDK also was instrumental in the effort to develop a locally produced video tape. In 1963, the "Synchro Video Tape" developed by TDK was selected for use in broadcasting. At the Tokyo Olympics held in the following year, about 60 percent of the video tapes used for broadcasting applications were TDK products.
- SD cassette makes the TDK name famous worldwide.
- The wider a magnetic tape, and the faster its travel speed, the more information can be recorded on it. In 1966, TDK brought a cassette tape product called "Synchro Cassette" onto the market, but due to the narrow width of the tape and its slow speed as compared to open-reel tapes, the cassette was not suitable for music recording. In order to solve this problem, TDK developed a new type of magnetic powder with vastly improved characteristics, which made it possible in 1968 to present the world's first cassette tape for music recording, branded as the "SD Cassette". With a clever sales strategy also paying off, the SD Cassette took the market by storm and received overwhelming feedback from users around the world. It became a monumental product that cemented the name of TDK as the world's foremost magnetic tape manufacturer.
- Contributing to TDK's image and brand recognition
- The first video tape recorder (VTR) was introduced in the U.S. in 1956, but the extremely high sales price limited its appeal mainly to TV stations and similar. Followed by the open-reel type, the 1960s saw the introduction of cassette type video recorders (VCRs), and in the 1970s , two competing systems of more compact VCRs for household use were developed: Betamax and VHS. TDK had already been supplying video tape as an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), but as VCRs gained in popularity, TDK released a video tape product under its own brand name in 1978. To meet increased production capacity needs, a new plant dedicated to video tapes was constructed at Mikumagawa (Hita City, Oita Pref.) in 1982. At the time, video tape accounted for more than half of the company's entire net sales. TV spots and other types of advertising provided a strong boost to TDK's name recognition and significantly lifted the company's brand image.
- A new technology for cobalt coating the needle-shaped magnetic powder
- The characteristics of the magnetic powder which is applied on the plastic base film have a vital influence on the performance of the magnetic tape. By employing a powder with extremely fine needle-shaped particles for the SD Cassette, TDK was able to break through the performance barrier of cassette tapes, making them a viable music recording medium for the first time. Moving towards further advancement, TDK perfected a new technology in 1973 for coating the surface of the needle-shaped particles with cobalt. This enabled outstanding characteristics significantly better than the chromium dioxide that was the standard for high-performance tapes at the time. The new magnetic powder called "Avilyn" became the basis for the entire range of "SA" (Super Avilyn) products for music and video. The excellent sound and image quality afforded by these tapes provided a major boost to the culture of audio and video recording.
- Winchester heads developed.
TDK's first multilayer ceramic chip capacitor in the 4545 format (4.5 x 4.5 mm)
Multilayer chip inductors
- Chip components and SMT (Surface Mount Technology) by automated placement equipment
- In the early days of electronics, most electronic components used to have long "legs" in the form of lead wires that were inserted into holes on the printed circuit board and then soldered to create a product. But in the 1970s a major innovation revolutionized the way in which electronic products were built. Very small chip-like components without lead wires are placed directly on the printed circuit board by high-speed automated pick-and-place equipment in a process that became known as SMT (Surface Mount Technology). An ultra-thin pocket radio that came onto the market in 1976 was the very first consumer product manufactured with SMT, and it featured multilayer ceramic chip capacitors from TDK. In the course of the next decade, chip components became ever smaller, triggering an amazing reduction in size and weight of electronic products.
- Chip components realized with fine multilayer technology from TDK
- Inductors are normally made by winding coil wire around a magnetic core. But a breakthrough technology introduced by TDK in 1980 made it possible for the first time to form a coil by a layering process without winding, resulting in the world's first multilayer chip inductor reaching the market. TDK followed this up by "fine multilayering," a proprietary, highly advanced technique for simultaneous sintering of different materials such as ferrite and dielectric ceramics. Further development extended the technique to composite chip components integrating capacitor and inductor functions, and to a multilayer integrated device (MHD) comprising an IC. All of these greatly contributed to make portable electronic devices such as video cameras and personal music players much smaller and lighter while at the same time capable of higher performance.
Multilayer ceramic chip capacitors
Multilayer chip beads / Multilayer chip varistors / Multilayer NTC thermistors
- Alternating dielectric sheet and internal electrode in layers
- Currently, more than 80% of all capacitors manufactured worldwide are multilayer ceramic chip types. A single smartphone or notebook computer may contain upwards of 500 of these. The world's first multilayer ceramic chip capacitor was developed in the U.S. in the 1940s, but it saw only limited use in special military or industrial applications. Only after mass production technology had been developed in Japan in the 1970s, multilayer ceramic chip capacitors found their way into consumer products in large numbers. There are many different variations and manufacturing methods, but the basic principle involves screen-printing of the internal electrodes on a dielectric sheet, layering the result, and then cutting it into individual chips.
- Applications include noise countermeasure components and circuit protection devices
- The availability of electronic components in chip format since the 1980s, along with the progress of SMT (surface mount technology) has greatly contributed to the realization of smaller, lighter, and higher functionality electronic equipment. TDK applied its original fine multilayering technology not only to capacitors and inductors but also to various other chip type products including noise countermeasure components and circuit protection devices. Turning electronic components into chips requires highly accurate screen printing techniques, advanced processing methods, and superior materials technology. Of utmost importance is a full mastery of the entire range of electroceramic materials which includes ferrite (magnetic ceramics), dielectric ceramics, and semiconductor ceramics.
Various types of magnetic head products
Winchester head (left) and entire assembly mounted to gimbal
- Ferrite magnetic heads used widely.
- Magnetic materials technology from TDK not only was crucial for the tapes used in tape recorders and VTRs, it also provided benefits in the field of magnetic heads. Ever since developing an erase head for tape recorders in 1963, TDK has been active in the area of magnetic heads for audio applications such as cassette decks and VTRs, and in industrial applications as well, including for example heads for magnetic card readers in admission ticket vending machines and bill exchange machines. Ferrite not only provides superior magnetic characteristics, it also has excellent abrasion resistance, making it highly suitable for magnetic heads whose surface is constantly being swept by the media such as magnetic tape or cards during recording and playback.
- Origins of the head core piece using ferrite
- Prior to the invention of the HDD (hard disk drive), cylindrical magnetic drums were used as storage devices for computers. TDK's magnetic head business for computers has its origins in 1960, when the company embarked on the development of a head core piece for magnetic drums, using ferrite. The product released two years later became known as the "boat shaped head core" because its cross section resembled that of a boat. To meet the demands of higher-density recording, the "IBM 2314 compatible head core piece" was developed in 1968, followed by the development of the Winchester head in 1972, providing another boost to TDK's accelerating magnetic head business.
- Technical Center in
- TDK subsidiary established
in Xiamen, China.
- TDK Museum opened in Nikaho City, Akita Prefecture
- "Development of Ferrite Materials and
Their Applications" recognized as
- TDK Museum reopened after extensive