The MEMS packaging market is growing faster than the devices market itself

According to Yole Développement (Yole), the MEMS packaging market will grow from US$2.56 billion in 2016 to US$6.46 billion in 2022, showing a 16.7% CAGR over this period. The MEMS packaging market’s value is growing faster than the MEMS device market’s value: respectively, a 16.7% CAGR for packaging versus 14.1% for devices, during the period 2016 – 2022.

Under this dynamic context, Yole Group of Companies including Yole and its sister company System Plus Consulting proposes today a comprehensive review of the technology evolution, market trends and competitive landscape, with two reports, MEMS Packaging and MEMS Packaging: Reverse Technology Review.

The MEMS packaging report offers a deep understanding of the packaging over the years, detailed roadmap for future solutions, related market metrics and detailed analysis of the supply chain. In parallel, the MEMS Packaging: Reverse Technology Review details a comparative technology review and discloses insights into the packaging structure and technology of 80+ consumer and 20+ automotive MEMS devices developed by leading players: Robert Bosch, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, STMicroelectronics, Knowles…

The MEMS packaging market is becoming more and more attractive, offering important business opportunities for advanced packaging companies. What are the market needs? What are the conditions to penetrate this market? Are the technologies “ready to use”? Through its analyses, Yole Group believes that companies which will be successful, are the ones that will adapt their technologies portfolio to match with the market evolution and ensure their market shares. Yole and System Plus Consulting’s analysts put a spotlight today on MEMS packaging.

MEMS devices are characterized by a wide range of different designs and manufacturing technologies, with no standardized processes. As a consequence, many technical challenges are in place and create a strong competition between packaging companies.

“Players have to take into account specifies of each component as well as many application constraints, from the need to low cost packaging for consumer applications to the ability to withstand high temperature and harsh environment for automotive and aeronautics packaging,” explained Dr. Eric Mounier, Senior Technology & Market Analylst at Yole.

MEMS application scope is broad, very fragmented and diversified. Therefore, under its annual report, Status of the MEMS Industry, Yole’s MEMS & Sensors team analyzed more than 200+ applications. Thus, MEMS packaging must always cope with different end-application requirements. It includes for example, protection in different media, hermeticity, interconnection type, and thermal management. This context creates many issues within the packaging industry, which faces different package configurations (open/ closed package).

Under System Plus Consulting’s report, MEMS Packaging: Reverse Technology Review, the company analyzed more than 100 MEMS components developed by the major manufacturers. This review is a relevant comparison between the main existing packaging solutions. It includes the encapsulation processes, the preferred interconnection methods as well as the latest innovations. System Plus Consulting also evaluated the components in term of integration and functionalities.

“No tremendous changes in packaging platforms are expected,” commented Audrey Lahrach, in charge of costing analyses at System Plus Consulting.“But we rather see a change in the complexity of existing platforms to respond to the growing needs of sensor fusions.” Therefore, combining inertial and pressure sensors is now a reality. For example TDK/InvenSense released this month a high-performance “7-Axis” motion tracking device targeting drone applications and based on an exclusive assembly step stacking the 3-axis gyroscope, the 3-axis accelerometer and a barometric pressure sensor (1).

Driven by the complexity associated with the move to 5G and therefore the increasing demand for RF filters in 4G/5G, the largest MEMS growth will be for RF MEMS, especially BAW filters (2).
“The real opportunity of MEMS packaging is carried by RF MEMS devices as the number of units could be multiplied by five by 2022,” confirmed Dr. Mounier from Yole. Optical MEMS including micro mirrors and micro bolometers are second with a 28.5% CAGR, driven by consumer, automotive, and security applications.

Acoustic and ultrasonic sensors including microphones are third. Demand for audio processing is particularly strong, with high unit growth for MEMS microphones targeted at increasingly sophisticated applications that use the microphone to continuously sense what is happening around it.

But why is the MEMS packaging industry becoming so attractive? Yole identified several reasons:
“OSATs already have very low package margins due to fierce competition” asserted Emilie Jolivet, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. And she added: “And it will be difficult for such companies to lower the cost further.”

The second factor is related to the importance of testing steps. Because every MEMS is different, testing strategies defined by MEMS devices manufacturers are usually dedicated to one device type and account for a significant fraction of the final cost.

The third reason is focused on the packaging’s material cost that is playing a key role within the attractiveness of the MEMS packaging business.

At the end, the strong CAGR of certain devices such as RF MEMS devices, also directly impacts the MEMS packaging industry with numerous opportunities to ensure larger volumes and better margins.


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