Friday, April 26, 2013

Top MEMS foundries: TSMC passes specialty MEMS players

FRANCE: In 2012, TSMC’s MEMS foundry business enjoyed ~80 percent growth, achieved ~$42 million in sales and moved up to third place in Yole Développement’s annual MEMS foundry sector rankings. The Taiwanese foundry’s MEMS business is now the largest of any open foundry, putting it shoulder-to-shoulder with pure-play specialty MEMS foundries like TELEDYNEDALSA (~$39 million), according to Yole figures.
TSMC’s strong growth is mainly the result of a production ramp-up to support InvenSense’s ~$40 million in additional inertial sensor sales. Also, TSMC manufactures consumer MEMS devices for Analog Devices, and inkjet heads for Memjet. Please note that Yole Développement’s figures only count the MEMS manufacturing value, not the value of the ASIC, even if bonded to the MEMS device.

Thanks to its contract production for Hewlett Packard, STMicroelectronics continues to dominate the MEMS foundry business. Though ST’s foundry income declined about 20 percent last year when demand for HP’s inkjet heads dropped off, its $200 million in revenue still accounted for almost one-third of the ~$600 million MEMS foundry business.

Meanwhile, Sony’s foundry revenues benefited from strong MEMS microphone demand for mobile phones and tablets. Thanks to this, along with Sony’s contract production for Knowles Electronics, the company achieved ~30 percent growth.

Beneath these two large-contract/single-customer producers exists a tight cluster of leading open foundries with sales between $30- $40 million, including TSMC, Teledyne DALSA, Silex Microsystems, and the combined sales of Asia Pacific Microsystems and its parent, UMC.

Foundries in the $10-$20 million range continue to fight for a piece of the high-value, low-volume specialty MEMS manufacturing market. Overall, however, the foundry business is not seeing the same fast growth as the MEMS industry, since IDMs have captured most of the increase in the high-volume consumer mobile business.

One newcomer to our rankings is GLOBALFOUNDRIES, a MEMS company that experienced ~50 million growth thanks to production ramp-up for its customers, including InvenSense.

More than ever, Yole Développement’s MEMS law rings true: each company has the process knowledge to create its own devices, thus rendering moot the idea of industry standardization and the emergence of large foundries.

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