There’s little doubt that the MEMS ecosystem is changing quickly as these devices become ubiquitous, especially in consumer products. The cost and time pressures involved in developing cell phones, games, tablets and other high-growth and emerging MEMS-enabled products are re-shaping the traditional landscape of the MEMS business.
Pure play foundries like TSMC are transforming the MEMS landscape
The most recent report from market research firm IHS on the MEMS manufacturing industry underscores the pace and significance of this evolution. The report counts a dozen pure-play foundries now offering MEMS manufacturing services, a dramatic difference than a decade ago when MEMS manufacturing was done almost entirely in-house at captive MEMS suppliers.
Stephen Breit, V.P. Engineering, Coventor, Inc.
Easier integration through standards
In a previous post, I discussed the challenges of MEMS integration and primarily looked at design methodology improvements that could help address the issues engineers face. But there is also the issue of how to standardize the process of designing – and more importantly, integrating – the various elements of a MEMS-based system. read more…
by Stephen Breit, V.P. Engineering, Coventor, Inc.
MEMS integration means different things to different audiences. To pioneers in the MEMS industry, integration may imply a monolithic fabrication process, in which the MEMS and accompanying CMOS electronics are fabricated on the same die. As suppliers of MEMS design automation software to the MEMS industry, Coventor sees integration more broadly as the work of combining MEMS with CMOS electronics, whether in a monolithic process, as separate die in the same package, or even in separate packages. And integration encompasses packaging effects on the MEMS as well. The electronics are analog/mixed-signal (A/MS) circuits that provide electrical input to the MEMS and perform A/D conversion on its output. Such circuits are designed and simulated at a high level of abstraction with MATLAB and Simulink, and at lower levels of abstraction with EDA software such as the Cadence Virtuoso suite. MEMS designers, therefore, must deliver models of their designs that are compatible with the tools of choice for electronics design. Coventor has been focusing on addressing this integration challenge for a number of years.
Coventor’s Stephen Breit will be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming MEPTEC MEMS Technology Symposium. Dr. Breit, who is V.P. of Engineering at Coventor, will speak about realizing the full potential of MEMS design automation software. It’s a topic he knows quite a bit about as he has headed up the research and development of Coventor’s market-leading MEMS design software solutions for the past 15 years. Steve will draw upon that experience to make the case for engineers to use increased software-based automation and simulation tools in order to reduce time-consuming and costly build-and-test cycles.
The tenth annual MEMS Technology Symposium is being held in San Jose, California on May 23, 2012. To celebrate a decade of success, this year’s discussions will be focused on how to jumpstart the next decade with a bold prediction: to grow the MEMS market to $1 trillion USD. read more…
- Trip report from SEMICON MEMS Forum in Singapore by Tom Flynn, Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Coventor
It was an honor to participate in the MEMS Forum sponsored by SEMI and A-Star Institute of Microelectronics. Coventor had the pleasure of sharing the stage with founding members of innovative MEMS start-up companies, CEO’s of successful MEMS corporations, R&D veterans whose perspective spans decades, and leading figures from large scale commercial foundries and specialized equipment vendors.
Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.
The most common theme among the participants was the value of time and the need to bring new MEMS devices to market within timeframes that are vastly different from the past. Many of the speakers referred to industry growth charts which highlighted the impact of consumer adoption of MEMS and the changes that has brought to our industry.
Mr. Gregory Galvin, CEO of Kionix, reminded us that the adoption of MEMS in consumer markets is relatively new. “It was IBM Thinkpad’s, in 2003, that first included MEMS devices for drop detection” (to protect the hard drives). Seagate, Samsung, the Nintendo (with its groundbreaking Wii) and the Apple iPhone all followed, ushering in a new era for MEMS, an era when time to market has become critical.” When asked about the value of time to market, Mr. Galvin, answered that “I have that conversation (time to market) daily with my CTO”. He added that “while the technical challenges are great, the challenges associated with making money in MEMS are even more difficult”.
Revenue growth for MEMS is expected to be nothing short of explosive according to industry analysts and recent press reports. Jérémie Bouchaud, director and principal MEMS and sensors analyst for IHS says that this growth is driven by the fact that new MEMS are at the heart of today’s most exciting and fast-growing electronic products, from motion controlled video games, to tablet navigation systems, to tiny projectors embedded in smart phones. He predicts that by 2014, new MEMS will generate revenue of $1.4 billion.