Strong Growth in MEMS Expected to Continue

A recent report from Yole Development on the state of the MEMS sector indicates that the future is quite bright.  The number of MEMS enabled devices is expected to increase by at least 20% annually in the upcoming 6 years.  Meanwhile, increase in revenue to MEMS manufacturers is also expected to grow by at least 13% each year.  This jump in activity in the market means that MEMS will grow to a market of over $20 billion by the end of 2017.

“Banner Year” in 2011

In 2011, nearly every company that manufactures micro electro mechanical systems saw an increase in their sales over their 2010 figures.  These figures do not even take into account potential new MEMS that could emerge due to breakthroughs in research.

The current conditions indicate that microfluidics and motion sensing parts of the market will actually represent as much as one fourth of all MEMS devices by 2017.  This will include items such as gyroscopes, magnetometers and motion sensing accelerometers.

Changes  in the Product Mix

Various new offerings are coming to market while others are in the final stages of development.  Some devices show a promise for the ability to reach large production volumes.  The most promising applications seemed aimed at mobile devices like oscillators, RF switches for MEMS, and auto-focus MEMS.  The anticipated growth is being driven by sensors and actuators.  Touchscreen and humidity sensors along with energy harvesting switches are some common examples.  Furthermore, sensors in current use are being tested for new markets such as pressure sensors.

Interestingly enough, combo sensors are going through a major change.  Discrete inertial sensors are seeing less demand.  However, inertial combos have seen a huge spike in interest.  Although the sales of combo sensors are less than $100 million per year right now, they are expected to reach over $1 billion in the next 5 years.

Mergers have been the Norm

Throughout 2011, acquisitions and mergers in the MEMS space were very prevalent.   Over $1 billion in acquisitions transpired throughout the year.  Startup MEMS organizations with the right technology were in high demand and were bought by the larger players for a significant price.

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