San Diego Three years after acquiring Peregrine Semiconductor, Japan-based Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd. is thinking big.
People in the wider electronics market associate the Peregrine name with high performance RF (or radio frequency) products, said company executive Jim Cable. Murata, however, would prefer that its San Diego-based unit stand for a broader range of semiconductors.
With that in mind, the business unit is condensing its name to pSemi Corp. It will have a wider mission, as Murata’s semiconductor unit.
In addition to RF components, the business hopes to supply power management components and optical transceivers.
Murata closed its $471 million acquisition of Peregrine Semiconductor in December 2014. Since then it has increased its head count by 50 percent, to 525 employees companywide.
Managers hope to increase head count by an additional 10 percent. Cable said the Miramar-area business plans to hire a variety of engineers and support personnel — people who can take a semiconductor project from initial concept to high-volume shipments. PSemi also anticipates adding 23,000 square feet of space to its current 113,000 square feet.
Cable led Peregrine as CEO for 15 years, from 2002 to 2017. Murata named Stefan Wolff as CEO in March. Cable is now chairman and chief technology officer; at the same time he serves as Murata’s global research-and-development director.
Peregrine said it recently shipped out its 4 billionth chip as part of an order to Samsung.
It’s not a milestone he could have predicted when he first became CEO in 2002, Cable said, adding that pSemi might ramp up to shipping 1 billion units per year.
Actually, that’s nothing compared with Murata. The Japanese company’s biggest business is capacitors, which release electricity in a burst, then recharge.
A cellphone can hold 600 capacitors, while an automobile can hold 10,000.
Murata has factories that produce 1 billion capacitors a day. Multiple factories turn out 100 billion capacitors a month.
“So high volume manufacturing rubbed off on us,” Cable said.
Even while operating at such a scale, Murata keeps quality very high. “Impeccable” is the word Cable used.