Surface Micromachining Technology Raising Profile in MEMS Industry; Market on Move at 11.5% CAGR, Reports BCC Research

Surface micromachining is one of two major techniques for creating microelectromechanical microstructures (MEMS). The other is bulk micromachining. BCC Research reveals in its new report that surface micromachining will increase its dominance as the major technology for developing MEMS by more than 7% percent, while bulk micromachining will drop by an equivalent percentage.

MEMS are devices that integrate mechanical elements, sensors, actuators, and electronics on a common silicon substrate. They typically have dimensions in the 1-micron to 100-micron range (1 micron = 1 millionth of a meter). These devices are sometimes also referred to as microsystems, especially in Europe. The term MEMS is also used interchangeably with terms such as nanotools and nanodevices, but the scope of this report does not include either of these technologies.

The global market for MEMS devices and production equipment is projected to reach $12.8 billion and $21.9 billion in 2015 and 2020, respectively, reflecting a five-year (2015-2020) compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5%.

Microfluidic MEMS comprised the largest segment of the MEMS market in 2014, with a 41.5% share. Microfluidic MEMS’ importance reflects large sales of microfluidic MEMS inkjet heads. MEMS accelerometers accounted for 15.6% of the market in 2014, and optical MEMS accounted for 12%. By 2020, optical MEMS are projected to move up behind segment leader microfluidic MEMS, with a 15.4% market share.

In 2014, IT applications comprised the largest segment of the MEMS market, with a 25.9% share. Consumer products, life sciences and automotive applications accounted for most of the rest of the market, with shares of 25.5%, 22.1%, and 11.4%, respectively. By 2020, life science applications should supplant IT as the largest MEMS application segment, with a 30.1% market share. Life sciences, consumer products, IT and automotive applications are expected to collectively account for 83.8% of the market in 2020. As MEMS devices and products extend into more applications, the two prime technologies for developing them, surface and bulk micromachining, will also shift in terms of usage.

“Surface and bulk micromachining are the most important micromachining technologies; together they are used in the fabrication of more than 75% of all MEMS,” says BCC Research analyst Andrew McWilliams. “Surface micromachining was used in an estimated 48% of all MEMS in 2014 versus 27% for bulk micromachining. Surface micromachining technology has important potential advantages in terms of scalability and production costs. By 2020, BCC Research expects the percentages to be 55% for surface micromachining versus 20% for bulk.”

Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) Technology: Current and Future Markets (SMC051D) examines current and potential MEMS technologies, and MEMS applications and end-users with the greatest commercial potential through 2020. The report also identifies market dynamics, growth drivers, inhibitors, opportunities, and forecasts trends and revenue through 2020.

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