MEMS to be $21 billion market by 2017: Yole

MEMS update: Source: Yole
MEMS update: Source: Yole

The MEMS market is on a growing curve again, and many changes are happening on the technical side, business model side and supply chain side. MEMS will continue to see steady, sustainable double digit growth for the next six years: 13 per cent CAGR in revenues and 20 per cent CAGR in units. MEMS will grow to $21 billion market by 2017.

Every year brings new business to the MEMS landscape. Combo sensors are coming. The MEMS market is still very fragmented, with a number of high volume MEMS applications still limited today. However, a whole range of new MEMS devices has now reached the market and new ’emerging MEMS’ devices are coming..

MEMS applicable to mobile devices (RF MEMS switches, oscillators, auto-focus) have the possibility to ramp up to large volumes quickly. Growth will also come from existing sensors that are expanding into new market spaces: e.g. pressure sensors for consumer.

Consumer/mobile applications are driving about 50 per cent of the total volume. Telecom and medical applications will grow faster with expected CAGR of ~20 per cent in the next five years. Industrial MEMS applications represent significant opportunities with grow of ~13 per cent likely.

MEMS in 2011
Four devices represented over 50 per cent of units shipped in 2011. Microphones, accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers represented more than 50 per cent of MEMS units shipped in 2011.

Accelerometer, gyroscope and electronic compass growth is coming from the detection of movement, which is reaching every applications, from mobile phones to pacemakers to smart munitions. Microphone has found a sweet spot in the mobile phone business, replacing the electric condenser type of microphones.

All these devices are about to be combined with other sensors and electronic functions/processing in order to add more value. Multi-microphone arrays with noise cancellation functionalities are now a new feature in smartphones. Accelerometers plus gyroscopes plus electronic compasses are being combined (in a SiP package, in the near future, in silicon SoC) to bring a higher level of functionality at even lower costs.

Invensense achieved the same MEMS size when moving from 2-axis to 3-axis gyros (ITG-3200). As for MEMS accelerometer roadmap, new packaging concepts (such as metal-to-metal wafer bonding, WLP/TSV technologies) are driving the ‘Moore law’ of the MEMS technology roadmap.

In an example of STM accelerometer using TSV technology, by removing the area reserved for I/O pads, the TSV process allows the MEMS die area to be shrinked by 25 per cent compared to the standard accelerometer. However, TSV adds major manufacturing changes that increase the final wafer cost by about $90. The wafer extra cost cumulated with a shrinked MEMS die, makes the final die cost still competitive.

In the 2011 MEMS ranking of the top 30 players, TI, STMicro, HP and Bosch are the ‘big 4′ players with annual revenues of > $700 million. The top 30 accounts for ~80 per cent of total MEMS market. More than 25 players generate annual revenues from $50 million to $300 million.

As for 2011 MEMS foundry rankings, some MEMS IDMs have been successful in developing a MEMS foundry business beyond internal needs. STMicro is by far the no. 1 with key customers such as HP (related to ink-jet MEMS manufacturing). Sony has Knowles’ silicon microphone wafer manufacturing business.

Pure play MEMS foundries include Silex (SW), DALSA (CA), apm (TW), IMT (US), tMt (TW) and DNP (JP). CMOS wafer foundries are entering the MEMS manufacturing space with TSMC (TW), umc (TW), Globalfoundries (SG), SMIC (CH), X-Fab (GE) and Semefab (UK).

The 2011 MEMS foundry services accounted for ~6 per cent of the total MEMS market ($623 million). In 2010, the ratio was similar. Now, there are more and more fabless companies in the MEMS space! There are over 70 fabless MEMS companies.

Emerging MEMS applications
Emerging MEMS includes PIR and thermopiles, micro displays, micromirrors for mobile phone and tablet embedded picoprojectors, auto focus, RF MEMS switch and varicap for mobile devices, oscillators, and others, such as micro speakers, microstructures, etc.

Looking at the emerging MEMS application breakdown, PIR and thermopiles were a $61 million market in 2011, growing at 9.8 per cent over the next five years to reach $107 million by 2017. Micromirrors for mobile phone and tablet embedded picoprojectors will grow from $1 million in 2011 at 188.6 per cent to reach $434 million by 2017.

Auto focus, a new market, will reach $327 million by 2017. RF MEMS switch and varicap for mobile devices will grow from $1 million in 2011 at 160.4 per cent to reach $220 million by 2017. Oscillators will grow from $24 million in 2011 at 63.6 per cent to reach $463 million by 2017, while others (micro speakers, microstructures, etc.) will grow from $247 million in 2011 at 26 per cent to reach $991 million by 2017. Microbolometers were counted as emerging MEMS in Yole’s previous forecasts. Now it is not considered as emerging MEMS anymore.

There are new MEMS opportunities for mobile devices as well. The oscillators, micromirrors, displays, switches and variable capacitors, temperature sensors, AF, microspeakers other emerging MEMS are likely to grow from $13 million in 2011 to a $2.3 billion market by 2017.