Silex Microsystems, recently ranked by Yole Développement as the world's largest pure-play MEMS foundry, announced this week that it has been awarded a nearly $450,000 research grant from VINNOVA, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, to develop cutting-edge ferromagnetic materials for use in MEMS devices powering next-generation smart phone applications. Silex reportedly was one of the companies chosen out of 340 applicants for this award. "Magnetic MEMS is a key material for future MEMS products because it enables multi-axis sensor integration," said Dr. Thorbjörn Ebefors, Chief Technologist at Silex Microsystems.
"Smartphone applications already include e-compass integration and multi-axis sensors are combining magnetic sensing with gyro functions to enable multiple degrees-of-freedom sensors to go to market. In addition, magnetic materials in combination with the Silex TSV technology can enable a new generation of high value, high Q integrated inductors. This is a crucial development for high-quality integrated passive devices integration and 'functional capping' solutions. This research brings new capabilities and materials to our customers for their next-generation product innovations," added Dr. Ebefors.
The aim of VINNOVA's funding is to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to increase their competitiveness by investing in research and development, thus contributing to growth in Sweden. The award, under VINNOVA's R&D programs titled "Forska & Vax," was one of 63 programs granted, out of more than 340 proposals received. In total, VINNOVA grants totaled approximately $10 million for R&D programs. The magnetic MEMS technology development program is expected to begin in May 2012 and will run for 18 months at Silex. Silex said that this program will include materials selection, concept development, and prototyping runs.
Also this week, and for the second consecutive year, Silex announced that Yole Développement has ranked it as the world's largest pure-play MEMS foundry. Silex said that it has been able to maintain this leadership position by continually leveraging its deep MEMS expertise, innovative technologies and proven, high-volume production capabilities that enable customers to rapidly, cost-effectively and reliably commercialize products and ramp them to high volume.
According to Yole's MEMS market & technology analysis, the top 30 MEMS foundries increased revenues by 5% in 2011 to more than $600 million. Silex Microsystems' revenues grew 27% in 2011, to reach $47 million, outpacing other independent pure-play foundries and the company is the first to break through the $40 million revenue mark.
"This top ranking by Yole demonstrates the ongoing success of our strategy to enable customers to rapidly commercialize the MEMS products that are changing the world today," said Gary Johnson, Silex' CEO. "When customers partner with Silex, they not only benefit from working with the industry's most knowledgeable and creative MEMS manufacturing experts, but also from our global ecosystem of development partners that can help take MEMS to market faster than the competition."
"Silex has once again risen to the top of our annual MEMS foundry list," said Jean-Christophe Eloy, President and CEO of Yole Développement. "MEMS are quickly appearing in every aspect of the world today and when a company like Silex can simplify and speed the process of getting to market with these complex devices, customers gain a significant competitive advantage in the fast-growing MEMS market."