STMicro tops MEMS revenue, again

STMicroelectronics continues to top the charts as the biggest foundry manufacturer of microelectromechanical system (MEMS) sensors, beating the second place competition, Texas Instruments, with five times as much in revenue.

It has been leading the MEMS foundry market for four years now, and is the only company to achieve revenue in the hundreds of millions. The reason for its success? HP’s printers. Inkjet wafers accounted for the majority of its revenue in MEMS.

Despite some trouble in inkjet production, STMicro has managed to win contracts from other manufacturers like Kodak – as well as using its track record to run production lines in bio MEMS, including insulin pumps with Switzerland’s Debiotech.

Analyst outfit IHS iSuppli, which follows the MEMS market closely, reports STMicro brought in an estimated MEMS foundry service revenue of $228.6 million – compared to second place TI’s $47.4 million – in 2010 alone. Together with IDS MEMS production, the third, fourth and fifth spots were taken by Sensonor, Sony and SMI respectively.

Sony has performed well, growing 51.2 percent in MEMS market revenue – down mainly to Knowles Electronics, its biggest client.

Texas Instruments’ main problem has been in Lexmark’s shrinking inkjet business, TI’s main customer. However, IHS iSuppli says the company will grab some revenue share back following a consumer MEMS manufacturing agreement with a top 15 company in the inkjet business.