The first product manufactured by Kyocera at the time of its foundation in 1959 was a ceramic part for television electron guns, called the U-Shaped Kelcima. Two years later, Kyocera started marketing a multi-form glass part for the same application, using different materials, which is still manufactured today. In 1960, micro module substrates used in communications equipment, computers and other devices were developed. The metallizing process used to manufacture micro module substrates was a technology which dramatically widened the range of applications for ceramics to include electronic parts and industrial machinery.
IIn 1964, transistor beads and stems were created for use in silicon transistors developed in the U.S., establishing the relationship between fine ceramics and semiconductors. In 1967, CerDIP was developed as a container to protect integrated circuits (ICs) and to make them more functional. This development was followed by the multilayer package in 1969. The tape layering technology used in these components is also applied in the manufacturing of laminated ceramic capacitors and ceramic heaters.
In 1972, CERATIP W was developed as a metal cutting tool. With no attrition in strength or hardness even at high temperatures during steel and cast iron cutting, ceramic cutting tools are capable of high-speed cutting. Today, Cermet, a compound of ceramic and metal developed in 1976, has gradually become the mainstream metal cutting tool material, due to its resistance to high temperatures, and toughness compared to regular metals and ceramics.
Through research into applications for ceramic components in gas turbine engines and diesel engine parts using silicon nitride, which maintains its strength very well and exhibits excellent impact-resistance, Kyocera successfully developed glow plugs in 1981 and hot plugs in 1983. In 1984, Kyocera also developed consumer products such as fine ceramic scissors and kitchen knives, further expanding the scope of fine ceramic applications to ballpoint pens, golf putters and wristwatch casings.
In 1985, Kyocera developed an amorphous silicon photoreceptor drum for use in copiers and printers. With ongoing research since 1975 into amorphous silicon for use in solar modules, Kyocera was able to develop the amorphous silicon photoreceptor drum, which is the key component in printers. Since the product-life of the drum is extremely long, there is no need to replace the drum as with ordinary printers. Presently, KYOCERA Document Solutions printers are used throughout the world as environmentally-friendly printing solutions with extremely low running costs.
With the deregulation of sales in mobile phone terminals in Japan in 1994, the market for mobile communications such as mobile phones and PHS expanded exponentially. This brought a rapid shift to the miniaturization of electronic components and surface mounting. Further advances have been made with high-density wiring and packaging technology of ceramic circuit substrates and compact electronic components including voltage-controlled oscillators (VCO), thermo-compensating oscillators, dielectric filters and SAW filters.
Demand for ceramic parts for automotive applications increased as automobiles evolved, becoming more reliant on electronic controls. In addition to traditional engine parts such as glow plugs and heaters, ceramic parts applications extended to substrates and packages used for Electronic Control Units (ECU), electronic parts such as capacitors, and power-module substrates for electronic motors. The image to the right shows an ECU module which consists of a ceramic substrate loaded with various electronic parts.