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Knowles Precision Devices manufactures a range of X7R MLC capacitors to suit a variety of applications. Available in 0402 to 8060 chip sizes with capacitance values up to 22uF as standard. 
MLCCs are widely used in electronic circuit design for a multitude of applications. Their small package size, technical performance and suitability for automated assembly makes them the component of choice for the specifier. However, despite the technical benefits, ceramic components are brittle and need careful handling on the production floor. In some circumstances they may be prone to mechanical stress damage if not used in an appropriate manner. Board flexing, depanelisation, mounting through hole components, poor storage and automatic testing may all result in cracking. Careful process control is important at all stages of circuit board assembly and transportation - from component placement to test and packaging. Any significant board flexing may result in stress fractures in ceramic devices that may not always be evident during the board assembly process. Sometimes it may be the end customer who finds out - when equipment fails!
Knowles has the solution - FlexiCap™
FlexiCap™ has been developed as a result of listening to customers’ experiences of stress damage to MLCCs from many manufacturers, often caused by variations in production processes. Our answer is a proprietary flexible epoxy polymer termination material, that is applied to the device under the usual nickel barrier finish. FlexiCap™ will accommodate a greater degree of board bending than conventional capacitors.
Knowles FlexiCap™ termination
Ranges are available with FlexiCap™ termination material offering increased reliability and superior mechanical performance (board flex and temperature cycling) when compared with standard termination materials. Refer to Knowles application note reference AN0001. FlexiCap™ capacitors enable the board to be bent almost twice as much before mechanical cracking occurs. Refer to application note AN0002. FlexiCap™ is also suitable for Space applications having passed thermal vacuum outgassing tests. Refer to Syfer application note reference AN0026.
FlexiCap™ benefits
With traditional termination materials and assembly, the chain of materials from bare PCB to soldered termination, provides no flexibility. In circumstances where excessive stress is applied - the weakest link fails. This means the ceramic itself, which may fail short circuit. The benefit to the user is to facilitate a wider process window - giving a greater safety margin and substantially reducing the typical root causes of mechanical stress cracking. FlexiCap™ may be soldered using your traditional wave or reflow solder techniques including lead free and needs no adjustment to equipment or current processes. Knowles has delivered millions of FlexiCap™ components and during that time has collected substantial test and reliability data, working in partnership with customers world wide, to eliminate mechanical cracking. An additional benefit of FlexiCap™ is that MLCCs can withstand temperature cycling -55ºC to 125ºC in excess of 1,000 times without cracking. FlexiCap™ termination has no adverse effect on any electrical parameters, nor affects the operation of the MLCC in any way.
Available on the following ranges:

  • All High Reliability ranges
  • Standard and High Voltage Capacitors
  • Open Mode and Tandem Capacitors
  • Safety Certified Capacitors
  • Non-magnetic Capacitors
  • 3 terminal EMI chips
  • X2Y Integrated Passive Components
  • X8R High Temperature capacitors
Summary of PCB bend test results
 The bend tests conducted on X7R have proven that the FlexiCap™ termination withstands a greater level of mechanical stress before mechanical cracking occurs. The AEC-Q200 test for X7R requires a bend level of 2mm minimum and a cap change of less than 10%.
Application notes
 FlexiCap™ may be handled, stored and transported in the same manner as standard terminated capacitors. The requirements for mounting and soldering FlexiCap™ are the same as for standard SMD capacitors. For customers currently using standard terminated capacitors there should be no requirement to change the assembly process when converting to FlexiCap™. Based upon board bend tests in accordance with IEC 60384-1 the amount of board bending required to mechanically crack a FlexiCap™ terminated capacitor is significantly increased compared with standard terminated capacitors. It must be stressed however, that capacitor users must not assume that the use of FlexiCap™ terminated capacitors will totally eliminate mechanical cracking. Good process controls are still required for this objective to be achieved.
Chip Marking System
If required, we can mark capacitors with the EIA 198 two digit code to show the capacitance value of the part. On chips larger than 3333, or for leaded encapsulated devices, ink marking is available. However, for chip sizes 0805 through to 3333 identification marking is accomplished by using either laser or ink jet printer. This system does not degrade the ceramic surface, or induce microcracks in the part.  Marking for other sizes may be available upon special request to determine if applicable; please contact the sales office.  Marking is an option on Novacap and Syfer branded products and needs to be specified when ordering.

Certificates & Approvals