IHS sees automotive driving MEMS pressure sensor growth

April 22, 2013  by  


Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) pressure sensors will achieve accelerated growth this year and become the leading type of MEMS device, driven by increasing use in automotive and the fast-growing handset space, according to the IHS iSuppli MEMS & Sensors Service.

Revenue for MEMS pressure sensors this year will reach a projected $1.71 billion, up 14 percent from $1.50 billion in 2012. This year’s growth improves on the 11 percent increase of 2012, but even rosier prospects are in store next year when expansion peaks at 16 percent. Steady, uninterrupted growth will continue until at least 2017, by which time the market will be worth $2.49 billion.

Used for control and monitoring purposes in myriad applications, pressure sensors are set this year to become the biggest-selling MEMS device, displacing the incumbent leaders: accelerometers and gyroscopes.

“Pressure sensors play a key role in automotive safety,” said Richard Dixon, Ph.D., principal analyst for MEMS & sensors at IHS. “Because of this, the biggest market remains the automotive segment, where the sensors predominate in tire-pressure monitoring and braking systems. However, wireless applications—led by mobile handsets—will see the most explosive growth this year, up by 90 percent. Other important markets for pressure sensors are in medical electronics, industry, white goods and military/aerospace.”

18 automotive applications

In automotive, MEMS pressure sensor revenue in 2013 is expected to amount to $1.26 billion, or fully 74 percent of total industry revenue for the year. At least 18 automotive applications will fuel the space, including tire pressure, brake sensors used in electronic stability control systems, side airbags, engine control related to increasingly stringent emissions regulations worldwide, barometric pressure and exhaust gas recirculation pressure.

A rapidly growing new application is in gasoline direct-injection systems using high-pressure sensors up to 200 bar. Gasoline engines, especially in Europe where diesels make up a large proportion of vehicle sales, are enjoying a renaissance in light of upcoming emissions legislation in the EU, due in 2015. Diesel engines already employ many pressure sensors in the engine and in after-treatment systems.

Though automotive will lose some steam in the years to come, the segment will continue to command the largest revenue compared to other markets, with up to two-thirds of total industry takings even by 2017.

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