PORTLAND, Ore.The market for micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) chips was depressed by 5 percent in 2009 according to market research firm Yole Developpement, which blamed the recession in automotive and consumer markets. However, innovative new products from a few MEMS suppliers enabled spectacular growth at companies such as InvenSense Inc., which skyrocketed 500 percent to $95 million on sales of its low-cost gyroscopes manufactured by TSMC.
In ranking among the MEMS Top 30 suppliers, Texas Instruments took back the first place slot with sales of $648 million, down 10 percent from last year, based on digital light processor-based pico projector sales. TI edged out last year's winner, Hewlett-Packard Co., which saw sales of MEMS decline 15 percent to $627 million, according to Yole (Lyon, France). In MEMS sensors, Bosch maintained its lead on even sales compared to last year of $445 million, which gave it the third place ranking in MEMS sales overall. STMicroelectronics moved down this year to fourth position on sales of $415 million.
Most MEMS suppliers saw diminished revenues last year, but a few bright spots resulted form innovative new components at Invensense, Panasonic, Dalsa, Avago, Kionix, Micralyne and Boehringer (click on image to enlarge).
In all, the Top 30 MEMS chip makers racked up MEMS sales of $5.1 billion in 2009. The total size of the market was estimated to be about $7 billion, according to Yole.
The fastest growing sectors of the MEMS market were sensors, especially inertial sensors such as the fast-growing gyroscope market that boosted both
Invensense (Sunnyvale, Calif.) and Panasonic (which inherited the automotive electronic stabilization accounts from Systron Donner Automotive, who exited the market). Dalsa Semiconductor (up 19 percent) and Micralyne (up 7 percent) both grew by virtue of the growing number of suppliers using their MEMS foundry services.
Avago Technologies (up 14 percent) did well on sales of its thin film bulk acoustic resonator filters and Kionix (up 10 percent) jumped in 2009 due to the popularity of its inertial sensors in consumer products. Boehringer Ingelheim Microparts grew 3 percent on sales of its unique MEMS nebulizers for asthma treatment.
Click on image to enlarge.