An increasing demand for RF filters is reshaping the MEMS industry, according to a new report from Yole Développement. RF MEMS filters will account for the largest MEMS growth, with a projected 35 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the forecast period of 2017 to 2022.
The latest ranking of top MEMS suppliers indicates a move towards RF applications. Thanks in part to its MEMS filter portfolio, Broadcom, acquired by Avago Technologies in 2015, moved up from the number 4 position in 2015 to number 2 in 2016, surpassing STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments. The company posted sales of $910 million in 2016.
Qorvo also benefitted from significant growth in the RF front-end market, according to Yole. The company grew its sales from $145 million in 2013 to $585 million in 2016.
“Beyond the development of these RF MEMS devices, the RF front-end demonstrated comfortable growth, at 14 percent CAGR during the same period,” stated Claire Troadec, Yole, activity leader, RF Devices & Technologies. “Today, filters are the biggest business in the RF front-end industry.”
“Today, even if Robert Bosch is not an active part of the Apple ecosystem, the MEMS player continues to propose low prices and compete with STMicroelectronics (#4 in the 2016 MEMS manufacturers ranking – $630 million in turnover in 2016) and TDK ($ 368 million turnover in 2016, including Epcos, InvenSense, and Tronics Microsystems),” according to Yole.
“TI’s revenues are mainly due to its projection market segment,” said Yole, despite many emerging applications for micro mirrors including optical switches for telecom, barcode readers, 3D gesture recognition, automotive HUD, smart lighting and 3D printing.
On the flip side, STMicroelectronics and Hewlett Packard struggled in 2016, posting lower revenues compared with 2015. Yole said: “STMicroelectronics continues to lower MEMS prices and Hewlett Packard is suffering from the shift from disposable to fixed inkjet heads.”
Yole expects emerging applications to continue to open up new opportunities for the MEMS industry. “In addition to RF applications, audio is becoming an attractive sector, for example, with MEMS microphones already showing 11 percent growth in units.”
“The MEMS market will grow further through a combination of functions, dedicated to consumer, automotive and medical applications,” said Dr. Eric Mounier, senior technology & market analyst, MEMS & Sensors at Yole, in a statement.
Yole is sponsoring a webcast on RF Front-End modules for cellphones on June 14. Click here for more information and registration. The market research firm also will present at two upcoming industry shows – Sensors Expo & Conference and Transducers 2017.