Karen’s blog from SEMICON West 2012

Where is the Love?

Has the romance between the MEMS and semiconductor industries started to fizzle? Or is the real issue that for new equipment vendors, the appeal and shiny/sexy new-ness of MEMS has faded as they salivate in anticipation of a switch from 300 to 450mm (with all of that sexy, new and expensive semiconductor equipment)?

In 2011, I declared that it was the “the year of MEMS” at SEMICON West in my MEMSblog, because last year, MEMS was everywhere! This year, not so much…

Don’t get me wrong; I love going to SEMICON West. I keep coming back because it’s like homecoming. I can’t walk the halls of Moscone without bumping into dozens of colleagues and MEMS Industry Group (MIG) members. This year it was even more fun, because I was armed with hundreds of adorable MIG stickers that I emblazoned/bedazzled on every MIG member (and future member) I saw.

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Will MEMS standards help you earn more customers?

Contributed by Monica Takacs, Director of Marketing & Membership, MEMS Industry Group

Last week during SEMICON West, MIG staff and members, EV Group, Acuity Incorporated, and NIST attended the SEMI MEMS standards task force and committee meeting at the Marriott Marquis. This was my first time attending a SEMI standards meeting and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Standards have always been such a controversial subject at MEMS Industry Group meetings. My impression of the general consensus of our members’ view of MEMS standards is that standards may benefit the industry, but no company wants to implement standards if it means that they lose competitive advantage.

SEMI (www.semi.org/standards) has been working hard in development standards for MEMS reliability, microfluidics, micro tubes, materials characterization, wafer bonding, and terminology. They already have a list of published standards for sale. MIG encourages its members to get involved and join the conversation.

This is my forth year attending SEMICON West and each year there seems to be more emphasis on the enabling capabilities of MEMS and less explaining the definition of MEMS. As the MEMS Industry matures, standards are becoming inevitable. MIG’s charter is to advance the global MEMS market, and as an industry group we feel like the conversation about MEMS standards is very important. Standards may demonstrate the maturity of the MEMS industry by proving the reliability of MEMS to new customers in existing and new industries, thus expanding its reach to systems integrators.

What do you think about MEMS standards? Are MEMS standards important to your customers?

More from SEMICON West 2009

Karen Lightman, Managing Director, MEMS Industry Group:

Greetings from SEMICON West 2009! I feel like I am at homecoming – seeing so many old friends and colleagues. The best part of SEMICON is seeing new colleagues whom I’ve only “met” via email/phone and now we finally get to meet in person. While the number of exhibit booths and attendees are somewhat down this year as a result of the economic downturn, the level of enthusiasm and excitement about MEMS is at an all-time high.

Yesterday at the July 15 breakfast briefing “Concept to Commercialization” hosted by SVTC, SEMICO’s Jim Feldhan and MEMS legend Kurt Petersen both heralded the new dawn of MEMS technology.  Both presenters talked about the importance of collaboration as a key component to innovation. I heartily agree; a major part of MIG’s mission is to promote and encourage collaboration throughout the entire MEMS supply chain.

Petersen stated that he sees a growing trend towards two-chip solutions, stating that “two chips are better than one.” He gave examples of Invensense, SiTime, Discera, Bosch and ADI as companies who are leading this trend. He also predicted that 8” MEMS wafers and fabless MEMS companies will transform the MEMS industry and catapult its growth. He encouraged MEMS companies to look for ways to uniquely configure their products to differentiate themselves from the competition. His “simple answer” is to bundle MEMS devices with as many peripherals with unique and special features.

The breakfast was wrapped up by SVTC CEO Joe Bronson, who highlighted SVTC’s business strategy on “concept to commercialization” and echoed the importance of collaboration. He also announced SVTC’s partnership with the German solar equipment company Roth and Raw; unveiling SVTC’s plan to get into the solar power business and offer many of the same services it does now for MEMS for the solar industry. It’s exciting news – I am very curious to see how things progress… SVTC plans to by fully operational in solar by the first quarter of 2010.

After the SVTC breakfast, it was time for the WORLD PREMIERE of the film MEMS: Making Micro Machines. With standing room only in the SEMI Theater, I had the pleasure of introducing Ruth Carranza, the film’s producer. This film offers a rare close-up of MEMS design, fabrication, testing and packaging; and showcases production at MIG members Freescale and Texas Instruments. It was a pleasure working with Ruth on this collaboration and while yesterday’s event wasn’t the premiere at Sundance that I initially envisioned, it was a pleasure to be at the premiere amongst colleagues and friends. There were many people to thank – including the GREAT MIG members who played a pivotal role in the production and release of this film:

  • MEMS Movie Premiere Sponsor – Analog Devices
  • Onsite MIG filming hosts: Freescale Semiconductor, Texas Instruments; Hewlett Packard was also a host (though not a MIG member—at least not yet!)
  • MIG members who contributed to the film by sending in images and devices for Ruth to film: Coventor, Discera, Omron Electronic Components, Robert Bosch GmbH, Sensonor Technologies AS and
  • MIG members who helped fund the movie: Bosch, Freescale
  • And lastly, TI’s Mike Mignardi who connected me with Ruth over 18 months ago

MIG is selling the film immediately following the premiere for a members-only price of $225 and a general-public price of $295. To purchase and view the film’s trailer, please visit: http://www.memsindustrygroup.org/memsmovie

And last but definitely not least – last night MIG hosted its HUGELY successful MIG member cocktail party at Azie restaurant. Though the place was densely packed, I was still able to connect with MIG members (old and new!) and met new colleagues as well.

Now I am preparing for my presentation at the quarterly meeting of the Fab Owners Association (FOA). I am looking forward to meeting FOA members and spreading the word about the many benefits to MIG membership. MIG members will be able to see my presentation in our MIG member section shortly – stay tuned!

Greetings from San Francisco!

Monica Takacs, Director of Membership and Marketing

SEMICON West kicked off today–it was so nice to see so many MIG members at the Extreme Electronics Lounge in Moscone North! Yesterday, our MEMS Education Series short course “An Insider’s Guide to Strategy for the MEMS Industry” took place at the downtown campus of San Francisco State University. It was attended by nearly 30 individuals ranging from current MIG members, entrepreneurs looking to learn more about the business of MEMS, and those looking to gain additional knowledge of the MEMS industry. Instructors Dr. Jim Knutti and Dr. Alissa Fitzgerald did a great job teaching about subjects including the impact of the recent economic downturn, recent strategies by MEMS companies to reposition themselves, the MEMS markets and supply chain revolution, product development, R&D, business and operations, and financial considerations.  The course was very well received and feedback on the exit surveys was very positive.

Today at SEMICON West Karen and I visited members and met with potential new members in the MEMS Lounge area. The morning was filled with presentations specifically on MEMS and included a talk from Jean-Christophe Eloy of Yole Développement on the remaining growth areas for MEMS. Claude Jean from DALSA semi conductor gave a foundry’s view of the MEMS industry. Eric Eisenhut from Kionix spoke about sensor integration is enabling applications and expanding markets. Jeff Hilbert from Wispry gave an overview of RF-MEMS enable mobile handsets, Richie Payne from Pixtronic gave a talk on TFT glass panel fabrication for MEMS displays. Andrew Thompson from Proteus Biomedical closed the MEMS session on his talk about helping to solve the heathcare crisis with MEMS and ICs.

We are very excited about tomorrow’s premiere of Ruth Carranza’s movie on MEMS manufacturing. It will be so great to see so many MIG members showcased in the movie. Stop by the SEMI theater at 1PM to check it out.  We’ll also be hosting the annual MIG members happy hour. Hope to see you there!!!