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Integrated Automation, Motion & Drives

Hidden MEMS are measuring the networked world

Microelectromechanical sensors (MEMS) have long been one of the key components of all relevant industrial sectors in Europe. Although the car industry was once the main driver, the consumer and healthcare sectors could take over this role in the future.

27 Nov. 2017
Marie-Lucine Tapyuli
Yole Developpement
Hidden MEMS are measuring the networked world (graphic: Yole Developpement)

The global MEMS market is subdivided by applications: consumer goods, automotive, healthcare, manufacturing, etc. In its latest MEMS report , Yole Développement estimated a total growth rate of 12% by 2021, by which time the market is expected to reach 66 billion US dollars. Given the steadily increasing number of smartphones, the consumer products segment is currently considered the most promising candidate for the top position. The automotive technology and the multi-faceted medical technology sector in particular are expected to grow. Power supply is nevertheless an interesting problem in this context. MEMS pills , for example, do not transmit well with batteries from the stomach.

Intelligent sensors in conjunction with IoT are the basis for megatrends such as smart factories, smart cities and smart products. As part of micro and nanoelectronics, MEMS are more than mere sensors: They not only measure, but also process the measured values, evaluate them, and communicate with numerous other sensors, machines or networks. Some MEMS already supply their own electrical energy. The key term here is energy harvesting . MEMS, for example, convert radio or sound waves into energy; some even do so using vibrations, pressure, shock or heat. Although amounts are minimal, they are sufficient for most applications.

Miniaturization based on manufacturing processes from semiconductor manufacturing enables MEMS components to deliver significant cost savings by reducing material costs and enabling efficient mass production. This in turn had put brakes on the market for a while, but the market has now strongly consolidated .