http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/010920/phth010_1.htmlExcerpt: Dr. Felix Zandman, Chairman and CEO of Vishay, stated, "...Our niobium capacitors deliver equivalent performance to tantalum, but are built on a raw material for which there are no significant availability problems or price fluctuations."Anybody technically proficient out there that can provide an objective assessment of whether Vishay is going to eat Kemet's lunch?--David
Good question----i was wondering the same thing.I like both KEM and VSH for the long pull. Dont know about eating Kemet's lunch but feel VSH has the better long term growth.
Niobium and tantalum are chemically very similar, as should come as no surprise from the names. (In Greek mythology, Niobe was a daughter of Tantalus). The use of niobium as a substitute for tantalum quite possibly isn't patentable, on the grounds that to so use it would be obvious to someone working in the field. If niobium capacitors take off, I wouldn't be surprised to see many companies make them, including Kemet, Vishay, AVX and Kyocera.In general, I would expect that tantalum and niobium would be found in the same places. What's Vishay doing, reprocessing tantalum ore tailings to extract niobium?
According to the article I linked in my first post (which, it should be noted, is obviously based on a Vishay press release), niobium is plentiful while tantalum is dear. Also, niobium has been recognized as a potential substitute for tantalum in the manufacture of capacitors for a long time, but the challenge has been to get niobium to be stable and workable in the manufacturing process. Vishay claims to have solved the manufacturing problem, and it is this process that they've probably patented.--David
Another article:http://www.ebnews.com/digest/story/OEG20010721S0002Lots of articles from a Google search on "niobium capacitors."The article says niobium is ten times cheaper.But ten times cheaper normally, when tantalum prices are not inflated?I think KEM mgt claims that tantalum prices will return to normal.As noted in earlier posts,the cost of materials is a small part of the cost,off the top of my head, less than 10% of the cost.The article says the same production lines can make both.KEM can switch just as readily as VSH and AVX.
Here's a link from Kemet (dated 8/29/01) on Niobium vs. Tantalum.http://www.kemet.com/kemet/web/homepage/kechome.nsf/vabypagename/new200122
This link is not valid. The new link should be http://www.kemet.com/kemet/web/homepage/kechome.nsf/vapubfiles/sept01tctp/$file/sept01tctp.pdfThank you....
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