Reelection! Silex, the Global MEMS Pure Wafer Foundry in 2020, Continues to Rank First
Recently, Yole Development, the world's authoritative semiconductor market research institution, released the "MEMS Industry Market and Technology Report 2021". According to its statistics in 2020, Swedish Silex Microsystems AB, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SMEI, continued to rank first in the global MEMS pure wafer foundry ranking, still followed by TELEDYNE DALSA, SONY, TSMC and X-FAB in the second to fifth places, among which TELEDYNE DALSA acquired Micralyne, another foundry, in September 2019, and its revenue gap with Swedish Silex narrowed in 2020.
Image Source: Yole. Some manufacturers in this list, such as TSMC and X-FAB, are integrated foundries, and only their MEMS Foundry business is counted here.
Meanwhile, benefiting from the continuous improvement of production capacity and the continuous growth of demands, Swedish Silex's operating income increased from USD80 million in 2019 to USD88 million in 2020, and its share in the global MEMS pure wafer foundry market (excluding IDM manufacturers' own chip manufacturing and open foundry) also enhanced from 15.61% in 2019 to 16.25% in 2020.
As reported by Yole Development, the global MEMS market size will grow from USD12.1 billion to USD18.2 billion from 2020 to 2026, with a compound growth rate of 7.2%. When divided by MEMS terminal application, the markets of consumer electronics, industry, communication, automobile, medical care, national defense and aerospace will continue to grow, and the compound growth rate except national defense and aerospace is higher than 5%, among which the compound growth rate of communication market reaches 16.9%; and when divided by MEMS chip type, the markets of inkjet print head, pressure, microphone, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, inertial combination, thermometer, microthermal radiometer, optical device, microfluidics, radio frequency (RF), oscillator, environmental sensor and future application will continue to grow, with the compound growth rates of RF, oscillator, microfluidics, environmental sensor and future application all higher than 10%, among which the market size of RF will increase from USD2.05 billion in 2020 to USD4.049 billion in 2026.
As reported by Yole Development, among Top 30 MEMS manufacturers in the world, RF MEMS chip companies have achieved the highest business growth rate in 2020 compared with 2019, and will have a fast-growing market prospect. MEMS technology is being widely applied in micro-speaker, lidar, AR/VR, optical image stabilization and other fields. Piezo piezoelectric technology and PVD physical vapor deposition technology are being applied in the process manufacturing of MEMS chips such as inkjet print heads, bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filters, microphones, micro speakers, optical devices, etc. The global manufacturers holding these two technologies at the same time mainly include ST (STMicroelectronics) and Swedish Silex. And heterogeneous integration will become the technical trends of advanced packaging of MEMS chips due to the demands of improving performance, integrity and system levels and reducing costs of MEMS sensors.
Image Source: Yole
Yole Development believes that from the development trends, cloud technology, edge computing, 5G technology, Industry 4.0, robots and intelligent devices, various transportation equipment, biomedicine, AR/VR and other application scenarios are accelerating, which will bring various new demands to the MEMS market. The intelligentization and wide application of various sensors will accelerate the development of MEMS, which has a long history of development and is constantly evolving.
Located in Stockholm, the hometown of Alfred Nobel in Scandinavia and the east coast of Baltic Sea, Silex has been in operation for more than 20 years since its establishment in 2000, and has been focusing on the process development and wafer manufacturing of MEMS chips. In 2016, SMEI completed the holding acquisition of Silex at a price of RMB750 million, which made Silex become a wholly-owned subsidiary of SMEI and also a core factory and a technology and market support platform of SMEI MEMS business segment.
Silex has been focusing on MEMS chip process development and wafer manufacturing for a long time, and has accumulated extremely high technical barriers through long-term R&D investment and operation practice. By the end of 2020, it owns 16 copyrights and 156 patents of MEMS software in the world, and has gradually mastered many internationally leading process technologies and process modules in the industry such as through silicon via (TSV), wafer bonding and deep reactive ion etching. With the most advanced TSI process platform in the industry, it has a mass production history of more than 10 years and has produced more than hundreds of thousands of wafers and more than 100 different products, and the technology can be popularized and transplanted to 2.5D and 3D wafer-level advanced packaging platforms. Moreover, it has provided more than 400 MEMS chip process development services for global manufacturers, and conducted foundry production for customers a variety of MEMS products including micro-mirrors, micro-needles, silicon photons, on-chip laboratories, micro-thermal radiometers, oscillators, atomic clocks, ultrasound, pressure sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, silicon microphones, etc.
From North America's technology capital to Britain's academic center, from Europe's manufacturing power to Asia's emerging economy, from cutting-edge life sciences to daily entertainment consumption as well as from mature industry giants to innovative creative teams, Silex's MEMS customers spread all over the world, and its products cover many fields such as communication, biomedicine, industrial automobile and consumer electronics, with the customers covering the giants engaged in global DNA/RNA sequencers, new ultrasonic equipment, network communication and applications, infrared thermal imaging technology, lithography machines, consumer electronics and industry and the leading enterprises in the industrial and consumer segments.
SMEI has been striving to promote the integration of its MEMS business resources, with Silex International coordinating the MEMS business resources of the Group. Nowadays, Beijing's 8-inch MEMS international foundry line has been completed and put into production. SMEI currently possesses the 8-inch MEMS production lines in both Sweden and China at the same time, and the Beijing production line can even render standardized scale production capacity, which is beneficial for SMEI to further expand the global market, especially the Asian market, better serve downstream customers by combining advanced technology and scale production capacity, as well as continue to expand its competitive advantages in MEMS and maintain its global leading position in the field of MEMS pure wafer foundry.