April 13, 2011
MEMS may still be an industry with a multitude of diverse products, but it’s also increasingly an industry dominated by a limited number of big suppliers.
According to market research firm Yole Developpement in 2010 the largest four MEMS manufacturers-–Texas Instruments, Hewlett Packard, Robert Bosch and STMicroelectronics—-increased their combined MEMS sales by some 37 percent, to ~$2.9 billion due to aggressive volume ramps die size shrinks.
Overall, blockbuster recovery and inventory restocking from the automotive sector, and the rush to put inertial sensors in every handheld device, drove a healthy 25 percent jump in total MEMS sales in 2010, to some $8.6 billion.
“It’s very important to be big to succeed in the consumer and automotive markets,” says Jean Christophe Eloy, CEO of Yole Développement. “A company needs to have size big enough to ramp volume on 8-inch wafers to reduce costs, and to continue to invest in shrinking the die to drive ASP [average selling price] down."
Eloy divides MEMS companies into three categories: leaders with sales above $500 million; those with sales between $500 million and $200 million; and those below $200 million which inlcude companies that have to specialize in specific businesses in order to be profitable (see table).
According to Yole, the top 30 companies now account for about 80 percent of total MEMS industry sales. In Yole's gauging, this year it took sales of $52 million to make the top 30 ranking, up from $31 million last year. Five additional players reached $100 million or more in MEMS sales, bringing 21 of the 30 to a level likely needed to stay competitive in the consumer or automotive business.
Yole Développement defines MEMS for this listing as three-dimensional structures made by semiconductor processes, not as ones with a 3-D function. Magnetic sensors were also included because they are becoming so closely integrated with MEMS inertial sensors.