AKM tops magnetic sensor rankings, but competition looms with 6-axis compasses

August 10, 2012 — Propelled by strong sales to tablet and cellphone manufacturers, Asahi Kasei Microsystems (AKM) led the semiconductor magnetic sensor market for the third year in a row in 2011, claiming almost one-quarter of the industry’s total revenue of $1.5 billion, reports IHS.

IHS also compiled a report on magnetic sensor growth by application space. Learn about the markets and trends in Wireless consumer devices reenergize magnetic sensor IC sector

Together the top 10 suppliers of magnetic sensor ICs enjoyed combined revenue amounting to $1.3 billion, equivalent to 90% of the total magnetic sensor space.

Top 10 Suppliers of Magnetic Sensors by Revenue ($M)

 

2011

2010

Y/Y Growth

Asahi Kasei Microsystems

372

300

24%

Allegro MicroSystems

302

264

14%

Infineon

188

142

33%

Micronas

150

143

5%

Melexis

112

107

5%

NXP

96

92

4%

Aichi Steel

40

18

122%

AMS

29

21

36%

MEMSIC

29

2

1340%

Diodes

24

22

9%

Top 10 Total

1,342

1,111

21%

Magnetic Sensor Industry Total

1,499

1,225

22%

AKM posted an estimated $372 million in revenue last year, up a solid 24% from $300 million in 2010, according to an IHS iSuppli Magnetic Sensor report. Share last year of AKM equated to approximately 25% of the total magnetic sensor market, allowing the firm to hold on to the pinnacle it first reached in 2009.

“AKM is the undisputed leading provider of Hall elements and ICs for magnetic sensors, which track position, contact, rotational speed and linear angles in machines and devices, or detect and process magnetic fields to establish location,” said Richard Dixon, Ph.D., senior analyst for MEMS & sensors at IHS. “A large part of the company’s revenue growth last year was from Hall-based 3-D magnetic compasses used in cellphones and tablets.”

Rivalry in the compass space may be heating up, however, in the form of 6-axis compasses. In the past such compasses were bulky and represented no serious competition to 3-axis discrete devices. However, Bosch and Freescale Semiconductor Inc. have recently come up with very compact versions measuring 3 x 3mm. Bosch and Freescale also have in-house technology for both the accelerometer and compass that make up the 6-axis device, which could increase the competitive pressure on AKM as original equipment manufacturers adopt this multiaxis format, IHS believes. Read more about micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) here.

No. 2 Allegro MicroSystems posted revenue last year of $302 million, up 14% from $264 million in 2010. The company last year made a conscious move away from the low-cost consumer sensor market served by the likes of AKM and toward higher-value products like sensors for the automotive space. Allegro is strong in relatively high-priced Hall-based speed-sensing sensors for camshaft and switches in vehicles, and is also a major supplier of Hall current sensors for use in applications like battery monitoring systems.

Third place went to Infineon Technologies AG, which achieved 33% growth in revenue to $188 million, up from $142 million. This strong growth allowed Infineon to vault past Micronas, which dropped to fourth place. Major growth areas for Infineon include wheel-speed sensing and torque sensors for automotive steering applications. Next year, Infineon will introduce a new current-sensing palette and higher integrated packages with magnets included for speed sensing, in addition to anisotropic magneto-resistive (AMR) technology for angle sensing.

Micronas still managed a 5% rise in magnetic sensor revenue to $150 million, up from $143 million. Micronas suffered a weak 2011 after being negatively affected by the loss of business contracted by Denso, an important customer for Micronas Hall sensors, following the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster in Japan.

At No. 5, Melexis NV saw revenue in 2011 of $112 million, up 5% from $107 million in 2010. The company continues to lead the market — by a long shot — in acceleration-pedal-position sensing, and is also a major presence in sensors for measuring currents. Approximately 80% of its focus remained on automotive, even though the firm also supplies switches for mobile phone displays.

The rest of the Top 10 included NXP Semiconductors, in sixth place with $96 million in revenue; Aichi Steel Corp., in seventh place with $40 million; a tie in eighth place between AMS AG (formerly austriamicrosystems) and Memsic Inc., each with $29 million in revenue; and Diodes Inc in 10th place with revenue of $24 million.

 Memsic had the biggest jump in revenue among the Top 10, growing a stupendous 1,340% derived mainly from a significant surge in the shipments of electronic compasses to Samsung from very low levels the previous year. Aichi Steel had the second-best growth rate, up 122%, with Sharp mobile phones making up the key part of its business.

IHS (NYSE: IHS) is the leading source of information, insight and analytics in critical areas that shape today’s business landscape, including energy and power; design and supply chain; defense, risk and security; environmental, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability; country and industry forecasting; and commodities, pricing and cost. For more information, visit www.ihs.com.

POST A COMMENT

Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account. Comments won't automatically be posted to your social media accounts unless you select to share.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

NEW PRODUCTS

SEMI-GAS Xturion Blixer enables on-site blending of forming gas mixtures
10/03/2017The Blixer provides a cost-effective alternative to purchasing expensive pre-mixed gas cylinders by enabling operators to blend ...
Automated thickness measurement system speeds production
09/20/2017ACU-THIK is an automated thickness measurement tool incorporating dual contact probes for high accuracy inspection of semiconductor wafers....
3D-Micromac launches the second generation of its high-performance microcell OTF laser systems
04/17/2017The high-performance production solution for Laser Contact Opening (LCO) of PERC solar cells achieves a th...