Research and Markets, the leading source for international market research and market data, has announced the addition of the "Status of the MEMS Industry 2009" report to their offering.
In the face of a collapsing mainstream semiconductor sector over the past 18 months, the MEMS business held its own and remained flat. While this is great news for MEMS overall, for the many MEMS companies that made production infrastructure investments in 2006 and 2007, flat business made 2008 & 2009 really difficult.
The MEMS industry remains highly diverse and as such the impact of the financial collapse and economic recession has been varied. While established applications have struggled, new ways to package and integrate MEMS devices in systems buttressed the industry. New MEMS devices are indeed growing very fast - 2 axis gyros, MEMS IMU and MEMS Oscillator to name a few.
Reviewing key players - several companies stopped their MEMS production entirely or in part (Delphi, Continental, Colibrys, Systron Donner Automotive) while others saw their businesses enter a huge growth phase (InvenSense, Kionix, STMicroelectronics, SiTime). All in all, booming new business was entirely offset by flagging established business with the net result flat.
Innovation in MEMS is changing: few totally new devices are now launched and most new applications are linked to new usage of existing devices (human machine interface, replacement of existing technologies). With packaging averaging more than 40% of the cost of a MEMS device strong efforts are being put into adapting the packaging to drive out cost and enter new applications (like mobile applications).
In parallel MEMS foundries are coming out of the economic downturn in a strong position: more system manufacturers have made the decision to stop internal MEMS manufacturing and are now working with MEMS foundries. MEMS foundries are extremely active with these new customers. As can be expected, this growth is attracting new players like TSMC, UMC and others. In addition, wafer level packaging and 3D chip stacking using through silicon vias (TSV) are also a growth driver for the MEMS foundries. Driven by cost reduction goals needed for consumer applications investments in 8" infrastructure continued despite the downturn.