MEMS devices: a game-changer for the IMU market?


  • Growth opportunities in commercial aerospace and industrial markets.
  • Game-changing MEMS is set to compete with mature technologies.
  • MEMS will supply many new applications and markets.

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LYON, France – February 16, 2015 – Over the last couple of years, the high-performance gyroscopes and inertial measurement units (IMUs) industry has slowly changed. Defense & aerospace applications are still driving the market but game-changing MEMS innovations are bringing new momentum to the commercial aerospace and industrial sectors. Yole Développement (Yole), the More than Moore market research and strategy consulting company presents its latest MEMS & sensors analysis entitled, High-End Gyroscopes, Accelerometers and IMUs for Defense, Aerospace & Industrial.

Under this new technology & market reports, Yole’s team gives a high-end inertial applications overview, including defense, commercial aerospace and industrial and their evolutions. Moreover, the consulting company provides a deep understanding of high-end gyroscope and accelerometer technologies, related markets and player dynamics.
A special focus has been also developed on technical evolution. Indeed Yole’s report includes expected milestones for each high-end inertial technology in terms of future development.

“At Yole, we expect more dynamic growth near term in this global market because of two factors,” announces Claire Troadec, Technology & Market Analyst, MEMS Manufacturing from Yole. And she adds:
- “First, while in the defense and aerospace sectors the US and European markets are best described as conservative and mature, many new programs are being launched in China, Russia, Brazil, and the Middle East. These will provide a high level of demand.
- Second, low-cost emerging MEMS are fueling growth of the IMU market and opening doors for many new applications. The 2014 market for high-performance gyroscopes, which was estimated at $1.37B, is therefore expected to grow at a 4.4% annual rate to reach $1.69B in 2019.”

The IMU market is very concentrated; a few big companies are dominant.
Honeywell, Northrop Grumman Litef and Sagem are the clear leaders. Honeywell is still the global leader by far, with great success in RLG-based systems and successful deployment of MEMS technology.Meanwhile, the MEMS accelerometer market is growing thanks to cost and size reduction, while other technologies are in decline. In-house accelerometer production is a trend followed by more players in this area, such as iXBlue and UTC Aerospace/AIS Goodrich, enabling better integration and performance. Furthermore, consolidation and cooperation in this industry is continuing:

The 2014 market for high-performance gyroscopes, which was estimated at $1.37B, is therefore expected to grow at a 4.4% annual rate to reach $1.69B in 2019...
Claire Troadec,
Yole Développement

For example, recently, TowerJazz and Physical Logic announced production of high performance MEMS-based accelerometers for inertial navigation applications. “High-end accelerometer process flow is challenging and sets extreme manufacturing demands for high aspect ratio Si etch, stress control, high accuracy double side alignment and interface to package”, explains both partners. TowerJazz’s 0.18-micron MEMS modular process and MEMS controller were used for Physical Logic’s accelerometer and ASIC devices respectively, in order to achieve the superior specifications required for sensitivity, stability, small form factor and low power consumption (I-Micronews.com source: press release, Oct. 30, 2014).

“In addition, many newcomers are looking to enter the market with low-cost MEMS-based products and different approaches”, says Guillaume Girardin, Technology & Market Analyst, MEMS & Sensors from Yole. “New players like Innalabs, Sensonor or Tronics Microsystems, could play a major role in the coming years. If further proof was needed; Thales bought 50% of the shares available in Tronics Microsystems’ IPO few days ago, betting it will disrupt the market with new applications in the near future”, he adds.
“Many factors are shaping tomorrow’s competitive landscape including technology capabilities, product maturity level, geography and the composition of the value chain”, details Yole in its high-end inertial technology & market analysis.

More information about this report and other MEMS & Sensors technology & market analysis from Yole, go to www.i-micronews.com, MEMS & Sensors reports section.

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