Prognosticators have foretold many trends for passive components over the past several years. But the one constant is that these often ignored parts follow their own trend to smaller sizes and more features.
It’s been far more than a decade since those with crystal balls predicted that passives were going the way of the Dodo bird. They forecast that the fabrication advances that enabled silicon devices to include many passives would bring the demise of the passives’ field. But neither passive developers nor system designers listened.
“Over the years, there’s been a lot of talk that people would need fewer passives as they were integrated, but the reverse has been true. The more complex the design, the more passives it needs,” says David Valletta, senior vice president for Vishay Worldwide Strategic Sales.
Others predicted that networked passives would change the industry, but that too proved as erroneous as many a weather forecast. “Putting a bunch of passives into a networked device never took off. The cost of integrating three resistors into one device is higher than the cost of three discretes,” Valletta says.
Over the next decade or so, he expects passives to continue their well-established push to smaller sizes. Materials’ engineers continue to push the limits of technology. “Passives is very much a materials business, most of our advances have to do with understanding metals and ceramics,” Valletta says.
He also notes that the green movement to eliminate lead and other materials didn’t deter passives from following this long-term trend. “RoHS hasn’t had a big impact, most of the changeovers were relatively easy,” he says.