MEMS growth continues to outpace nearly all other segments of the electronics industry, claim market researchers.
The question is “why?” Executives from leading companies in the MEMS supply chain—Analog Devices, Applied Materials, Bosch Sensortec, Coventor and Kionix—say that continued acceptance of MEMS, or microelectromechanical systems, stems from a variety of reasons. Growth has been spurred by high-volume manufacturing enabled by more abundant and efficient design tools and processes. At the upcoming Globalpress Electronics Summit panel, “MEMS is Hot,” top MEMS companies will explore the reasons why MEMS is growing so rapidly in a wide range of established and emerging markets.
With an overall MEMS market expected to grow from $8 billion+ in 2010 to $18 billion in 2015, according to market analyst firm Yole Développement, MEMS is no longer an “exotic technology.” Rather it is being deployed in the hundreds of millions in high-volume consumer applications such as mobile handsets, digital cameras, set-top boxes and game consoles. Market analyst firm iSuppli predicts a 7.6% CAGR in these consumer markets through 2013.
MEMS panel moderator Stephan Ohr, director of research, analog semiconductors and power management devices, Gartner, claims that we must in part thank the automotive industry for bringing MEMS to the mass market: “The automotive market has helped to solve the scalability problem with MEMS manufacturing. Designers have efficiently repurposed MEMS sensors and accelerometers, originally designed for cars, for consumer applications—at price points that major OEMs like Apple, Nintendo and Samsung find affordable.” Ohr added that “with manufacturing scale in place, the vision of building economical, highly-intelligent sensors in tiny, power-efficient packages is that much closer to everyday reality.”
Karen Lightman, managing director of MEMS Industry Group (MIG), the industry organization co-hosting the MEMS panel with Globalpress, added, “Until recently, accelerometers and gravitational (G-Force) sensors have comprised the bulk of MEMS deployments, including airbag triggers in automotive safety systems and read/write head retractors in portable hard disk drives. The use of motion sensors as swing simulators in gaming peripherals like the Nintendo Wii is a consequence of the new high-volume manufacturing capability of the MEMS industry, and marks a new era in consumer understanding and acceptance of MEMS technology. I am very pleased that for a second year in a row, MIG has helped to bring a MEMS panel that explores MEMS’ economic power and potential to the Globalpress Electronics Summit.”