Site: Matsushita-Kotobuki Electronics
Saijo Division
247 Fukutake, Saijo
Ehime, Japan

Date Visited: October 5, 1993

Report Author: R. Tummala



P. Barela
W. Boulton
G. Meieran
G. Harman
M. Pecht
R. Tummala


Norio Meki

Hideo Sakai

Hiroshi Yamauchi

Yasuyuki Baba

Yasuhisa (John) Kobayashi


Matsushita-Kotobuki Electronics Industries (MKE), Saijo Division, located in Saijo, Ehime Prefecture, on Shikoku Island, is one of the affiliated companies of the worldwide company Matsushita Electric Industries ($43.75 billion in FY 92), famous for the brand name "Panasonic." MKE, established in 1969, has several divisions in each prefecture on Shikoku and also subsidiaries in the United States, Singapore, Indonesia, and Ireland. Total 1992 sales were 308.9 billion yen (about $3 billion); annual investments were about 14 billion yen ($130 million).


The organization chart, Figure Pan.1, shows corporate functions including planning, personnel, general affairs, accounting, finance, administration, components purchasing and legal/patent section, and divisional arms that are independently managed. Each division is responsible for its own manufacturing, development, design, factory automation, and quality assurance with corporate support from R&D Laboratory, Design Center and Quality Assurance Center.

Figure Pan.1. Organizational chart.

MKE has about 5,200 employees; the total number of engineers and personnel in manufacturing are 600 and 3,100, respectively.

The divisions work specifically to improve current technology for the products to be released within a couple of months while continuing to manufacture existing products. The corporate R&D Laboratory works to develop next-generation products together with the design section of each division. MKE creates new technology every two or three years that results in new products being introduced.

At the Saijo Division, 300,000-500,000 VCRs are manufactured per month. This high productivity is achieved by a high degree of factory automation.


There are two packaging technologies in use at MKE, one using conventional PWB and the other using a ceramic substrate. MKE is perhaps one of very few companies using ceramic technologies in consumer products and pushing the leading-edge aspects of these technologies in achieving (1) miniaturization, (2) design standardization, (3) low cost, and (4) high reliability. MKE is using QFP with about 100 to 168 I/O at 0.5 mm lead pitch currently and is expected to migrate to 0.4 mm with forced air (N[sub]2) convection reflow.

The sophistication of MKE at Saijo is in ceramic technology based on hybrid IC (HIC) introduction in the late '70s and low-temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) technology used since 1990. MKE's ceramic strategy during the last decade has been as follows:

Hybrid IC with Ag/Pd 1981
Hybrid IC with Cu 1988
LTCC with Cu 1990

The MKE plant had shipped about 60 million HICs and 170,000 LTCC modules as of the time of the JTEC visit. It has the capacity to manufacture about 1 million/month HICs and 10K/month LTCCs. Each handling size is roughly 4 inches square.

MKE's LTCC technologies with Ag/Pd and copper are schematically illustrated in Figures 4.8 and 4.10, respectively, showing the substrate characteristics that include the capacitors, resistors, and conductors. The current design ground rules being practiced are indicated in Figure Pan.2. Electrode pin allocation technology, such as lead frame, lead array, and BGA, is used for connecting LTCC and PWB. Pb(Mg[sub]1/3Nb[sub]2/3)O[sub]3-PbTiO[sub]3-PbO is the principal ingredient for embedded capacitors.

Figure Pan.2. Design rule (typical).

The LTCC is being used currently in peripheral application - tape memory systems - and is expected to be applied in cellular, automotive, camcorder, and computer applications. The LTCC has proven to be more advantageous than equivalent PWB process/materials relative to the application at system level.

MKE's LTCC process involves manufacturing the green sheet and producing approximately 0.10 to 0.15 mm diameter via holes on the green sheet by numerically- and mechanically-controlled punching equipment. After filling up and drying copper oxide paste into the via hole, conductor pattern is also applied on the green sheet by the copper oxide paste. These printed green sheets are laminated together under a heat pressure and fired at 550 degrees C in air to remove organic components sufficiently. Then copper oxide is reduced to copper at 350 degrees C in nitrogen atmosphere containing 10% hydrogen, and the copper and ceramic substrate are sintered at 900 degrees C in nitrogen. This unique process provides highly reliable LTCC with copper electrode.


Table Pan.1 shows the directions MKE is expected to take. The future directions include (1) upgrading LTCC by buried CR, (2) fine line by photo process, (3) BGA technology, (4) high-precision LTCC by nonshrinking process, and (5) flip chip.

Table Pan.1
Future MKE Directions

Published: February 1995; WTEC Hyper-Librarian