Friday, February 24, 2012

ST ships two billionth MEMS chip

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: STMicroelectronics has shipped two billion MEMS sensors to date and confirmed its top position in MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) devices for consumer and portable applications.

This volume milestone comes only 15 months after ST passed the one billion MEMS sensors shipped threshold, represents rapid acceleration of shipments and highlights ST’s success in this exciting market.

ST’s MEMS sensors have enabled motion-activated user interfaces in a number of popular consumer devices, including smart phones, tablets, personal media players, game consoles, digital still cameras and remotes, making these more accessible and appealing to people. ST MEMS are also widely used for free-fall protection in laptop hard-disk drives, for implantable devices and many other healthcare products, and for car infotainment and enhanced navigation. In addition, ST is in development with customers on automotive MEMS devices for applications such as airbags and tire pressure monitors.

ST’s consumer MEMS sales grew more than 80 percent in 2011 reaching of total of approximately $650 million, well more than twice as large as its closest competitor, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli. The company continues to be the leading supplier to mobile and consumer manufacturers for both motion-sensor types – accelerometers and gyroscopes. Having captured approximately 50 percent of the consumer accelerometer market in just a few years, IHS iSuppli credits ST with having achieved even greater success in MEMS gyroscopes, boosting its revenue-based market share in gyroscopes from 1 percent in 2009 to 70 percent in 2011.

ST was the first major manufacturer in the world to set up a dedicated 8-inch MEMS fabrication line in 2006, a bold move that launched the hugely successful consumerization of MEMS and its application to high-volume consumer and portable electronics. The company has recently increased its MEMS production capacity to more than 3 million sensors a day, to sustain exploding customer demand for high-performance, cost-competitive sensing devices.

The one-stop MEMS supplier of choice, ST offers a comprehensive portfolio of micro-machined accelerometers, gyroscopes, pressure sensors, magnetic sensors, and microphones and has the capability to integrate these in multi-sensor combos with on-board processing and wireless connectivity.

The company has an impressive track record of industry firsts in MEMS, including the recently announced dual-core gyroscope capable of handling both user-motion recognition and camera image stabilization in phones and tablets. At the forefront of the technology development with some 600 MEMS-related patent families, ST leads the way towards intelligent and independent sensing devices that will open new horizons in consumer electronics, healthcare, environmental sciences, and many other domains.

According to IHS iSuppli, motion sensors continue to rule the consumer and mobile MEMS markets. With the inclusion of compasses, which are increasingly being integrated with accelerometers and gyroscopes, the total value of motion sensors in the consumer sector reached $1,557 million in 2011, up 40 percent from $1,112 in 2010, and will reach $2.5 billion in 2015, growing at a CAGR of 18 percent.

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