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Ceramics Specialist Expands Portfolio from Spark Plugs to Sensors

Article-Ceramics Specialist Expands Portfolio from Spark Plugs to Sensors


Ceramics Specialist Expands Portfolio from Spark Plugs to Sensors
Shana Leonard

NTK Technologies hopes to increase its presence in the medical device market through its offering of ceramic components for a variety of medical equipment.

NTK Technologies Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) and its parent company NGK Spark Plugs Company, Ltd. (Wixom, MI), are proud of their respective status as global leaders in the semiconductor and automotive industries. However, looking to diversify its business, NTK Technologies is focusing its efforts on sparking interest and gaining recognition in a whole new industry: medical devices.

Founded in 1936, NGK Spark Plugs carved out a niche in the automotive industry through its steady supply of ceramic spark plugs. Building on this solid foundation of technical ceramics expertise, the company launched a subsidiary, NTK Technical Ceramics, in 1967 in order to extend its reach beyond the automotive industry into such markets as semiconductors and telecommunications. Now dubbed NTK Technologies, the business is separated into three main divisions dedicated to semiconductor components, electronic components, and fine ceramics.

Supported by facilities on six continents, including design centers in major hubs, NTK is once again looking to establish itself as a globally recognized company—this time in the medical device industry. But whereas the company’s world headquarters in Japan has become increasingly active in medical equipment and implants, the firm’s U.S. branch has yet to delve full-force into serving the device industry.

Confident in its capabilities and current capacity, NTK is looking to change that. “For us, we can see that we’re finally at the level where we’re going to be more competitive and be able to deliver the products and the price,” says Mariel Stoops, NTK’s marketing manager. She adds, “We have been supplying to some major medical companies already, but it was a more focused approach, and now we are ready to expand to support smaller players as well.”

The company applies its knowledge of ceramics to the volume manufacture of such components as ultrasonic transducers and sensors, PZT elements, and dielectric resonators for applications that include ultrasound and MRI systems, among other medical equipment. In addition, the company offers thin-film alumina substrates and thin-film submounts for defibrillators and pacemakers. NTK also cites bioceramics as a specialty area.

To increase its visibility in the market, NTK will head to MD&M West as an exhibitor for the first time. “We differentiate ourselves because we do cater to the application,” Stoops says. “We have a very large capacity. We also have the ability to fine-tune the application to provide the maximum benefit.”
Booth #693

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