Trending Toward Miniaturization

by David Jenyns on January 30, 2009

Military electronics have led the way toward miniaturization and “ruggedization.” Resistors, capacitors and other components have become much smaller, too. For instance, research-minded Aerovox Corporation has come up with its Cerafil ceramic capacitor, one of the smallest capacitors ever designed.


The latest emphasis appears to be shifting from component miniaturization to functional miniaturization; that is, from mere miniaturization of components to complete elimination of components by use of integrated circuit functions.

As a rule, miniaturized components are more expensive than their larger counterparts. For instance, a standard-size potentiometer may cost as little as 59 cents whereas a miniature may come to $6.50 because of special tooling and testing.

The end of the miniaturization drive is still far from view. The latest emphasis appears to be shifting from component miniaturization to functional miniaturization; that is, from mere miniaturization of components to complete elimination of components by use of integrated circuit functions.

Among the leaders in the miniaturization drive are Westing-house Electric, Texas Instrument: and Motorola. A small company called Varo Manufacturing also has a sizeable stake in the integrated solid-state circuitry.

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