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Sensors to drive MEMS market growth

Posted: 28 Aug 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microelectromechanical systems  consumer electronics  wireless applications  Digital Light Processor 

Driven by new demand from consumer electronics and wireless applications, the global market for

microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) will expand to Rs.37,715.44 crore ($8.8 billion) in 2012, up from Rs.26,143.66 crore ($6.1 billion) in 2006, iSuppli Corp. predicts.

"The markets for mainstay MEMS actuator products-like inkjet heads and Digital Light Processor (DLP) chips from Texas Instruments Inc.-finally have passed the baton to MEMS sensors to drive the next growth wave in the market," said Jérémie Bouchaud, iSuppli director and principal analyst for MEMS. "The new wave is partly founded in the rapid rise of consumer electronics applications such as motion sensors for gaming, laptops and digital still cameras. Mobile handsets will also be a strong area, with MEMS sensor revenue in this area to rise at a 22.9 per cent compound annual growth rate to reach Rs.3,964.41 ($925 million) in 2012."

The worldwide market for accelerometers, gyroscopes, microphones, pressure sensors, bulk acoustic wave filters, flow sensors, micro-fluidic chips, microbolometers, thermopiles and oscillators is growing at an 11 per cent rate annually, and overtook the actuator market for the first time ever in 2007. Four main segments will collectively account for slightly more than 60 per cent of total MEMS market revenue in 2012: consumer electronics, mobile handsets, automotive and industrial process control. Aside from the consumer and wireless applications, market pull is being exerted by the automotive sector, an established area set to receive new impetus as a result of

mandates for safety and new emissions standards.

A diverse range of applications in industrial processing and control will also drive demand.

The one bright spot for actuators is in RF MEMS switches used in mobile handsets and test equipment. This market will grow at an annual rate of more than 100 per cent from 2006 to 2012, and will account for Rs.1,118.61 crore ($261 million) in actuator revenue in 2012, up from just Rs.25.72 crore ($6 million) in 2007.

"The consumer electronics and mobile communications fields are much more dynamic than the previous mainstay markets for MEMS, i.e. inkjet heads, diverse industrial applications and automotive uses," Bouchaud said. "Existing companies have a great opportunity to ride this wave and new players have a chance to address a relatively open market. However, deep R&D pockets are essential to compete in this area, and the companies that will succeed will be those that bet on and invest in building dedicated mass-production facilities." Pioneering companies with brand new MEMS products tend to enjoy a lengthy monopoly in the market, such as Texas Instruments with its DLP chip or Knowles with MEMS microphones.

Meanwhile, in fast-moving markets like consumer electronics and automotive sensors-the latter driven by mandates-economies of scale will be the norm, with sensor companies attempting to address both sectors. iSuppli also expects the pace of mergers and acquisitions to accelerate in 2008 and 2009, concentrating MEMS market share among fewer players.

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