The Japanese disaster—how does this impact the MEMS and compass industry?

By Jérémie Bouchaud, Director and Principal Analyst MEMS & Sensors, IHS iSuppli

On March 11, Northern Japan experienced the nation’s largest ever recorded earthquake. Given Japan’s significance to the MEMS and magnetic compass industry—nearly a third of the MEMS in value were processed in Japan in 2010 and 97% of the digital compasses—IHS iSuppli’s MEMS and Sensor analysts have assessed the status of key Japanese fabs and the implications for the world MEMS industry.

To summarize the findings, the supply of MEMS and compass remains only slightly affected by the disaster, first, because of the southern geographic location of most fabs, and second thanks in many cases to the responsiveness of the Japanese fabs, and finally because MEMS and compass suppliers have relied on multiple fabrication plants for manufacturing.

In some cases, MEMS suppliers with alternative technology may even make gains against entrenched technologies that have been hurt more severely.

In fact the main effect of the Japanese earthquake on the world MEMS and compass industry is not on the supply side, rather the demand side, as OEMs are in some cases more severely impacted than the sensor suppliers, or bottlenecks elsewhere in the supply chain affect the customers of sensors suppliers.

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Karen’s Blog from Sensors Expo 2011

By Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group

For photos and videos of Sensors Expo, visit our event page.

After reflecting on Sensors Expo this week, I am struggling to find the right words to summarize. So instead, I will quote one of my favorite MEMS colleagues, Joe Ellul of MAXIM – “I am so happy I could jump up on the table and start dancing.”

I was honored and thrilled to be the Master of Ceremonies at all MEMS programing and events at Sensors Expo this year – including our fabulously fantastic pre-con on MEMS Commercialization Opportunities for Systems and Products. The day before the preconference when I arrived at O’Hare airport, I felt like how I do before I throw a big party – the kids/family are all set and ready to host/greet guests, the food/beverages are ready for action, the guests are en route and I’m still in my bathrobe and slippers and haven’t showered. So in other words, I didn’t feel super prepared.

Thankfully it all came together beautifully.  The folks at Questex did a stellar job of setting up the program infrastructure, and my MIG team and I provided the content. It was a perfect match – from the first day’s pre-conference symposium – to the MIG member happy hour (including when I had to bounce out that guy who mistakenly took our event for the Sensors Happy Hour at the Hilton) – to the ESC panel on Integrating MEMS with DSPs and microprocessors – to the two days of the MEMS Tracks and MEMS Pavilion/innovation areas (check out our photos/videos). To the MIG members who joined me at the three days at Sensors Expo (especially those who came for the first time to be in the MEMS innovation area), to the soon-to-be/potential members, thank you.

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MEMS News Update

MEMS News Update

MEMS News Updates

It All Starts With Customer Discussions

By Anna-Riikka Vuorikari-Antikainen

Senior Vice President, Products, Okmetic

Customer orientation is the foundation for all our operations and an integral part of our development work. The roots of our own development projects and those made in co-operation with our customers lie in customer discussions. I have witnessed these discussions so many times in so many places around the world:

Instead of browsing through formal PowerPoint presentations, Okmetic’s and the customer’s engineers move over to the flip chart to think about a solution for a common problem or to develop a future killer application. There arises swarming with drawings and diagrams accompanied by an intense discussion. The engineers define the end product design, process flow chart, temperature ramps, etching processes, as well as silicon wafers’ various parameters and different ways of optimizing the wafers’ features to the customer’s process. A common language is the universal language of engineering. Every now and then the engineers ponder a solution with their own teams and then again they gather together around the flip chart.

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