Invention of “Ferrite”
The electronic material “ferrite” is a unique Japanese invention, born out of research done in 1930 by Dr. Yogoro Kato and Dr. Takeshi Takei of the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Seventy-nine years later, in 2009 the discovery and application of ferrite was designated as an IEEE Milestone, an award that recognizes key historical achievements in electrical and electronic engineering, which have had a sustaining and significant impact on the industry and on society.
Spirit of Originality
“Genuine industries are original industries”; this pronouncement by Dr. Kato inspired Kenzo Saito to found TDK (originally known as Tokyo Denki Kagaku Kogyo K.K.) with the purpose of turning ferrite into a commercial product. At the time, ferrite was still an unknown quantity, and its first application was a so-called “ferrite core.” In 1937, before coming into use in other countries, ferrite cores became part of wireless transmitters and radios in Japan. The spirit of “creating value that does not yet exist in the world on a material level” has characterized TDK from the beginning, and it still defines the DNA of the company today.
Ferrite—An original Japanese magnetic material, while pursuing and expanding the possibilities of ferrite, TDK's own scope of activities grew ever more varied, advancing with ferrite into various sectors of the industry.
Magnetic tape technology that dramatically altered the patterns of musical enjoyment, fine multilayering technology that resulted in much smaller and lighter electronic devices, HDD magnetic head technology that produced astoundingly high data recording densities— these are some of the TDK innovations that have had a lasting worldwide impact. The history of TDK is closely interwoven with magnetics technology. By continuously improving, perfecting, and innovating in this field, TDK continues to bring forth extraordinary and unique products.
Magnetics technology leads to improvement in product performance
High permeability IFL16 noise suppression sheet
This magnetic shielding material used in electronic components in smartphones and similar devices is made of a magnetic material combined with resin. A magnetic sheet capable of absorbing the noise of a wide frequency range and turning it into thermal energy is highly useful, both for preventing internally produced noise from being reflected and affecting other components inside a device and from leaking outside the device and affecting other devices.
The driving factor behind TDK's product power is superior materials technology. Shaping the characteristics of the material at the atomic level makes it possible to achieve exactly the targeted properties for a given product. This approach requires mastery of complex composition processes and control of additives which cannot be easily copied by competitors. By keeping intellectual property and know-how in-house, we are establishing a competitive advantage.
TDK's famous process technology can be defined as the art of realizing products that maximize the characteristics of the raw materials used in them. Operating on the nanometer level, the technology has enabled breakthrough developments such as chip capacitors and chip inductors with amazingly small dimensions and low profiles. TDK process technology is a versatile key competence that meets a multitude of advanced needs.
In order to read and write the information in a very small area of the disk, the head must approach the surface at an extremely close limit but without making contact. The clearance between the head and the disk is less than 10 nanometers, which could be compared to a large passenger jet flying at only 0.56 millimeters above the ground.
TDK has absorbed and integrated various technologies and value on a global scale. We consider acquired companies as valuable partners to whom we actively give the leading initiative for technology development in their areas of expertise. This complements our own resources and expertise, opening up new avenues of sustained growth and strengthening both sides through the power of synergy. That is the rationale behind our M&As and technology alliances on a global level.
Representative Acquisitions and Strengthened Business Fields
- 1986 : SAE Magnetics (Hong Kong)
- 2000 : Headway Technologies (USA)
- 2003 : Innoveta Technologies (USA)
- 2005 : Amperex Technology (Hong Kong)
- 2005 : Lambda Power Group (United Kingdom)
- 2007 : Magnecomp Precision Technology
- 2008 : EPCOS (Germany)
- 2016 : Micronas Semiconductor
- 2016 : Hutchinson Technology (USA)
TDK handles the Monozukuri process of manufacturing in a unified in-house framework, ranging from materials to the final product. One of the reasons why TDK's spirit of craftsmanship oriented manufacturing, i.e., Monozukuri, works so well is the fact that we develop our own methods and then build the equipment to implement them. In order to create products that truly meet the demands and expectations of customers, we have established optimized processes for materials composition and we develop and design products based on thorough materials analysis, as well as simulation analysis of such aspects as structure, heat, electromagnetic fields, among others. At the same time, we also establish an optimized framework for mass production.