A few days ago, saimicroelectronics released its latest fundraising manual. In the manual, they gave a brief description of the MEMS industry. Now we extract it as follows for readers.

According to the introduction, the full name of MEMS is micro electro mechanical system, which is an integration of microcircuits and micromachines on the chip according to the functional requirements. It is based on traditional semiconductor technologies such as lithography and corrosion, integrated with ultra precision machining, and combined with the knowledge and technical basis of mechanics, chemistry, optics and other disciplines, It makes a millimeter or micron MEMS have precise and complete mechanical, chemical, optical and other characteristics. MEMS industry is growing up in the context of the continuous development of integrated circuit industry, traditional integrated circuits can not continuously meet the changing needs of terminal applications. With the integration of microelectronics, micromechanics and other basic natural science disciplines, a new type of chip based on integrated circuit technology and combined with bulk micromachining technology was born. With the expansion of automotive electronics, consumer electronics and other end application markets, MEMS has become a new branch of integrated circuit industry.

Market scale of MEMS

With the development of MEMS technology and industry, the application of MEMS in the fields of communication, biomedical, industrial science, consumer electronics, automotive electronics, navigation and positioning is becoming more and more popular. The MEMS market shows a trend of rapid growth in continuous innovation. Before 2008, automotive electronics was the main application market of MEMS; Since 2008, smart phones and other terminal products have emerged and occupied the mainstream MEMS market; In the future, with the further popularization of intelligent scenarios, various emerging application fields such as Internet of things, wearable devices, smart home and industry 4.0 will provide a broader development space for MEMS, and the usage of MEMS products is expected to accelerate.

According to the research of yole development, a global authoritative semiconductor consulting organization, the market size of MEMS industry in the world in 2019 will be US $11.5 billion. Considering the impact of the epidemic of cowid-19, the market size of MEMS will drop to US $10.9 billion in 2020, and it is estimated that the market size of MEMS will grow to US $17.7 billion by 2025, with a compound growth rate of 7.4%. From the perspective of market segmentation, consumer electronics and automotive electronics will still be the two largest application fields of MEMS, and the growth rate in the fields of communication, biomedicine and industrial science will also be very considerable.

Analysis on the development of MEMS sensor industry

Driven by the huge market and rapid development of consumer electronics, industrial and automotive electronics applications, China has become the fastest growing MEMS market in the past five years. As the world’s largest production base of electronic products, China has a huge market demand for MEMS sensors. All kinds of MEMS sensor suppliers, including optical sensors and motion sensors, have moved to the Chinese market, and the ecological environment of MEMS sensor industry has gradually improved.

Development history of MEMS industry

The origin of MEMS can be traced back to the 1950s. After the piezoresistive effect of silicon was discovered, scholars began to study the silicon sensor. However, the real development of MEMS industry began in the 1980s and experienced three industrialization waves.

1980s-1990s: in 1983, Honeywell made an integrated pressure sensor with large etched silicon structure and back etched diaphragm, which integrated mechanical structure and circuit into one chip. From the late 1980s to the 1990s, with the rapid development of the automotive industry, the demand for automotive electronic applications such as airbags, brake pressure and tire pressure monitoring systems increased, and the huge profit margin drove the enterprises in Europe, Japan and the United States to mass produce MEMS, which promoted the first wave of MEMS industry development.

From the end of 1990s to the beginning of 21st century: in the early stage of this stage, the huge demand for inkjet printheads and micro optical devices has promoted the development of MEMS industry. After 2007, there is a strong demand for MEMS in consumer electronic products. Mobile phones, small household appliances, electronic games, remote control, mobile Internet devices and other consumer electronic products require MEMS related devices with smaller volume and lower power consumption. The demand for MEMS products is greater, which sets off the second industrialization wave of MEMS industry development and will continue to promote the development of MEMS industry.

2010 to now: the expansion of product application makes MEMS industry present a new trend. MEMS products are gradually applied to the Internet of things, wearable devices and other new fields, with increasingly rich application scenarios, gradually covering all dimensions of human life. In addition, MEMS is the current direction of mobile terminal innovation, new device forms (such as wearable devices) need more miniaturized devices and more convenient interaction. However, while the Internet of things and wearable devices are boosting the third wave of MEMS industrialization, the industry is still facing pressure from product specifications, power consumption, product integration and cost. MEMS products and related technologies need to be continuously improved to meet the needs of smaller, lower energy consumption and higher performance.

Main business models of MEMS manufacturing industry

Similar to the traditional integrated circuit industry, from the perspective of MEMS industry value chain, according to the products or services provided by enterprises in the industry, it can be divided into three links: design, manufacturing and packaging and testing. Among them, MEMS manufacturing industry is a part of MEMS industry, in the middle of the industrial chain. According to the needs of the design process, the industry develops various kinds of MEMS chip process and realizes large-scale production, which has the characteristics of capital intensive, technology intensive and intelligence intensive, and puts forward high requirements for enterprise capital strength, R & D investment and technology accumulation.

In the current market, on the one hand, IDM enterprises are under the dual pressure of upgrading the industrial line and reducing costs to maintain profits, and there has been a situation that IDM enterprises outsource manufacturing links in the market; On the other hand, the explosive growth of MEMS product applications requires the participation of emerging MEMS companies in different fields and industries. However, the huge investment in factory construction, operation and maintenance costs, as well as the complexity of MEMS process development and integration form a high industry threshold, which hinders the continuous expansion of the market.

In this context, the business model of pure MEMS OEM cooperating with MEMS product design company to develop products will become the mainstream of the future industry business model. Similar to the development trend of traditional IC industry, MEMS industry will gradually move towards the mode of separation of design and manufacturing and outsourcing of manufacturing.

MEMS manufacturing mainly refers to MEMS chip manufacturing. There are two main business models in the industry, one is to rely on its own production line, the other is to outsource to MEMS foundry. In terms of chip types and industry value chain, the enterprises providing MEMS manufacturing OEM services in the industry are mainly divided into three categories, namely pure MEMS OEM, IDM enterprise OEM and traditional integrated circuit MEMS OEM.

1、 Pure MEMS OEM

Pure MEMS OEM enterprises do not provide any design services. According to the MEMS chip design scheme provided by customers, the enterprises carry out process development and OEM production services. Representative enterprises include the company, teledynedalsa, IMT, etc.

2、 IDM enterprise OEM

IDM enterprises are vertical integrated device manufacturers. In addition to IC design, these manufacturers generally have their own packaging plants and testing plants. Their business scope covers all aspects of IC design, manufacturing, packaging and testing. As the construction of wafer manufacturing, packaging and testing production lines all need huge capital investment, IDM mode has high requirements for the R & D strength, capital strength and market influence of enterprises. After meeting their own wafer manufacturing needs, IDM enterprises will outsource the remaining capacity to provide MEMS OEM services. Enterprises adopting IDM OEM mode are global chip industry giants, mainly represented by Bosch, STMicro, Ti and other enterprises.

3、 Traditional integrated circuit MEMS OEM

Traditional IC (mainly CMOS) OEM Enterprises Based on the original CMOS production line, nested part of the special production MEMS technology, the old production line into MEMS OEM line. Due to the outstanding mass production capacity, traditional IC enterprises tend to focus on providing OEM for MEMS products in the field of consumer electronics with high shipment volume. Such OEM enterprises are represented by TSMC and global foundries.

In the process of historical development, due to the large differences of MEMS products in materials, processing, manufacturing processes and other single products, the low degree of device standardization has affected the development of vertical division of labor in the industry, and the industry is dominated by IDM enterprises. In recent years, with the development of MEMS technology and the gradual rise of market demand, the degree of MEMS standardization has greatly developed, the platform foundation is being formed, and the vertical division conditions of more and more MEMS products industry chain are becoming mature.

Competition barriers in MEMS industry

Due to the non standardization of products in MEMS industry, MEMS companies cannot support the whole product generation only through a single process. In addition to using the same silicon material, there is no basic component that can be used in all devices. The law of “one product, one manufacturing process” means that MEMS manufacturers need to adopt different process strategies for each individual product. In the production process, it is often necessary to carry out process R & D for multiple products at the same time. Before the R & D is completed, the product test is qualified, mass production and sales are realized, the company needs a lot of capital investment to maintain operation. Therefore, compared with traditional IC, MEMS not only needs a lot of time cost, but also needs a lot of capital investment, which establishes its capital barrier.

Besides capital, technology is another barrier.

First of all, MEMS is a new research and development field that must consider the mixed effects of various physical fields at the same time. Compared with traditional machinery, the size of MEMS is smaller, the largest is no more than one centimeter, some even only a few microns, and its thickness is even smaller. Therefore, the development and manufacturing of MEMS products need to include physical, chemical, biological and other related professional technology.

Secondly, MEMS needs a variety of process development technologies. MEMS wafer foundry business needs to process multiple process development projects in parallel, and use all engineering resources in the most effective way“ The law of “one kind of product, one kind of manufacturing process” means that every product needs to design process from scratch. Each process needs to go through the process development and optimization steps, including drie, bonding, thin film deposition (especially where the film characteristics will directly affect the performance of MEMS, such as piezoelectric materials) and wafer capping. Lithography is another process that needs to be adjusted frequently. Compared with ordinary planar structure, 3D structure of MEMS is more difficult.

Thirdly, MEMS needs unique and proprietary equipment development technology. For example, drie realizes 3D structure by precisely etching silicon materials and strictly controlling depth, aspect ratio and sidewall profile. Etching can be deep or shallow, and involves etching any proportion of the wafer. To develop the key parameters of these etching processes requires specific MEMS process engineering technology, as well as these special equipment to accumulate rich experience.

Talent barrier is also an aspect that can not be ignored.

The mutual influence factors in MEMS development process, such as the interdependence of tools, design and process, means that a successful MEMS project depends on rich product experience and full understanding of these influence factors. From the perspective of experience, MEMS projects usually require highly educated engineers to form a specialized team for collective R & D. engineers need to have at least 10 years of working experience to ensure R & D efficiency and success rate, while engineers with the above conditions are very scarce. Therefore, there is a high talent barrier in MEMS market.

Competition pattern of MEMS industry

MEMS manufacturing is an indispensable link in the MEMS industry chain, which is connected with product design and product sealing. MEMS products are diverse and widely used, and the degree of customization is very high. The micro machining technology used in its production emphasizes process precision, which belongs to capital, technology and intelligence intensive industry.

Worldwide, MEMS production capacity is mainly concentrated in Europe and the United States and other developed countries. At present, the market share gap between the major international MEMS OEM manufacturers is small, and the overall market concentration is low, so the competition is more fierce. At present, there is no MEMS manufacturing enterprise with continuous mass production practice in China, but there is a huge demand in the domestic market. Policies and industry join forces to boost the layout of the whole MEMS industry chain. In the future, part of the production capacity will be transferred to China. It is expected that the domestic MEMS market will be in a weak competitive depression in the short term. With the development and maturity of the domestic MEMS industry, the friction between domestic MEMS enterprises will be increasingly intensified in the future.

From the perspective of industrial development trend, although IDM enterprises dominate MEMS manufacturing with long-term industry accumulation, technical strength and customer base, with the emergence of emerging devices, the opening up of new market segments and applications, and the experience effect of pure OEM MEMS enterprises in the field of design and processing technology precipitation, Pure MEMS OEM enterprises that can handle the development and production of multiple devices at the same time will become strong competitors in manufacturing outsourcing business. In terms of competition intensity, some middle and low-end devices, especially MEMS devices for consumer electronics, have huge shipment volume, low technical requirements, and high degree of commodity homogeneity. It can be predicted that the market competition in the segment industry will intensify in the future.

Editor in charge: Tzh

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