MEMS bring magnetic sensors growth in mobile applications

August 25, 2011 – PRWEB — Magnetic sensors will exceed $3.2 billion in sales by 2017 driven largely by "E-compassing" applications, according to Global Industry Analysts (GIA). Unique end-use applications, along with technology innovations, interoperability with devices and competitive pricing, will fuel "robust" magnetic sensors growth, says GIA.

Better sensitivity, compactness and flexibility in today’s magnetic sensors has led to integration in high-end industrial/automotive applications through low-cost consumer and mobile products. Position sensors, speed sensors and record heads in hard disk drives in computers are the most commonly used magnetic sensor types. Smartphone and automotive-integrated magnetic sensors are enabling a host of new navigation functions in mobile and other GPS devices. Ultra-sensitive superconducting quantum interface devices (SQUIDs) are highly effective in medical applications for detection functions.

Thanks to the miniaturization of micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS), built using semiconductor fab processes, silicon-based magnetoresistive sensors (AMR, GMR) are enabling devices with functionality that hall devices cannot provide, and these sensors are replacing micro switches, potentiometers and reed switches. Manufacturers are investing in GMR technology development, attributed mainly to the significant growth in the HDD area density. Silicon magnetic sensors will flourish in mobile devices, desktop PCs; smartphones; gaming; audio and video devices and personal electronics.

The global 2008-2009 recession kept magnetic sensors growth flat, due to soft demand for all major end-use segments. Demand surged in 2010, mainly from the automotive, consumer and industrial markets, GIA notes. Also read: Digital compass manufacturing: With nearly all makers in Japan, will the earthquake affect supply?

The US and Europe represent equal contenders in the magnetic sensors market. Developing markets in Asia-Pacific and Latin America will add potential for companies with the right technology and product developments. Asia-Pacific, led by India, China, Korea and Taiwan, will see the fastest compound annual growth rate: 12% CAGR through 2017.

By product segment, Hall Sensor ICs constitutes the largest market globally. With respect to long-term potential, giant magnetoresistive (GMR) sensors are poised to take the lead, expanding at a CAGR of over 12%.

Companies mentioned in the report: Allegro MicroSystems, Inc, Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation, Austriamicrosystems AG, Honeywell International, Inc, Infineon Technologies AG, Melexis Microelectronic Systems, MEMSIC, Inc, Micronas Semiconductor Holding AG, NVE Corporation, NXP Semiconductors N.V., and Sensitec GMBH.

The research report "Magnetic Sensors: A Global Strategic Business Report" from Global Industry Analysts Inc. provides a comprehensive review of industry and product overview, market trends and issues, technology overview, end-use analysis, technological developments, product introductions, recent industry activity and profiles of market players worldwide. Analysis and overview is provided for major geographic markets such as US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Rest of World. Market analytics are provided in value (US$) terms for product segments including, Hall Sensor IC’s, Anisotropic Magnetoresistive (AMR) Sensors, Hall Sensor Elements, Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR) Sensors and Others. Major end-use sectors include Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Industrial, Electronics and Others. The study also provides historic data for an insight into market evolution over the period 2003 through 2008. Learn more at

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