The gas sensor market is about to change

Nowadays, the number of enforceable patents dedicated to miniaturized gas sensors is increasing worldwide, and several companies already stand out by their strong IP position. According Yole Développement’s analysts, the market size of gas sensors for consumer applications should grow from US$12 million in 2015 to more than US$95 million in 2021, with an upside of US$60 million if massive adoption of the innovative technologies is confirmed. With a 33% CAGR between 2014 and 2020, this segment is poised to experience the highest grow rate of the gas sensor market. All of these signs suggest the market start.

gas sensors

“In such emerging market, a strong IP position on miniaturized gas sensors is thus essential for companies to enter in this promising business,” comments Dr Fleur Thissandier, at KnowMade. KnowMade, a Yole Group’s company, has investigated the patent landscape of miniaturized gas sensors that could be used in consumer applications. The Technology Intelligence & IP Strategy consulting player identified more than 1,050 patented inventions worldwide up to August 2016 by more than 440 patent applicants.

KnowMade patent analysis entitled “Miniaturized Gas Sensors Patent Landscape Analysis” is now available and proposes an overview of the patent landscape, the IP profile of key players with a detailed ranking and an analysis of the relative strength of the top patent holders derived from their portfolio size, patent citation networks, countries of patent filings and current legal status of patents.

Today, mobile applications aggregate more and more sensors such as pressure sensors, inertial sensors…, and gas sensors could be the next sensors to be integrated in smart phones and/or wearables devices. Consumer applications are driving new gas sensors development to reduce cost, power consumption and size, especially with MEMS technologies. Such gas sensors are thus referred as “MEMS gas sensors”.

Technical and business requirements have so opened the door to innovation and added a new dimension to the global competition between gas sensor suppliers. Recent mergers and acquisitions reflect this thriving sector in structuration. For example, KnowMade’s analysts identified two main mergers:

•  AMS, Applied Sensors, NXP and Cambridge CMOS
•  TDK and Micronas

First patents on MEMS gas sensors was filed by Japanese companies in the early 1980’s by NEC. However patent activity really emerged between 1985 and 1994 with the apparition of European and American companies: Siemens, Fraunhofer, CEA, SRI, SPX.

Multiple start-ups have been created on the basis of CEA R&D results. A first wave of patent publications occurred between 1994 and 2003 induced by the emergence of IDMs (STMicroelectronics, Micronas, Honeywell, NGK, Bosch), American R&D labs (Caltech, University of Florida) and pure play gas sensor companies (CCMOS Sensors, Applied Sensor). Since then, patent publications have increased thanks to a high patent activity of Chinese universities and European players. The last 3 years newcomers started to file patents on MEMS gas sensors including AMS, Sensirion, APIX, NXP.

Currently, more than 760 patents are granted, mainly in China, Europe and USA, and more than 510 patent applications are pending, mainly in Europe, China and USA. KnowMade believes the significant ratio of patents in force and the high number of patent applications still in the pipeline worldwide is an indication of the technology maturity heralding a future ramp-up of the market of miniaturized gas sensors that could be used in consumer applications.

The most surprising result highlighted by KnowMade is probably the discrepancies between the market leaders including Honeywell, MSA, NGK and Figaro and the “patent” leaders such as Bosch, Siemens, Micronas and Cambridge CMOS. “The market is about to change”, says Dr Nicolas Baron, CEO & Founder at KnowMade. “New patents and related devices are targeting new application, which may disrupt the market.”

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One thought on “The gas sensor market is about to change

  1. Chris

    Gas sensors are sensing devices that are used to detect presence of a particular gas in a given area. These devices measure and indicate the concentration of certain gases in given air through different technologies. Some of the most popular gas sensor technologies include electrochemical, catalytic, semiconductor, solid-state/metal oxide semiconductor (MOS), infrared and others. Typically,gas sensors are deployed to prevent exposure to toxic and fire.Thus, industrial manufacturing, oil & gas, chemical processing are the largest consumers for gas sensors.

    Gas sensors are manufactured as portable (mobile) as well as stationary (fixed) units, and hence can be easily deployed on desired locations.Gas sensors notify increase in concentration of gases through audible or visible indicators such as sound alarms, lights or combination. Gas sensors are usually designed to detect a specific gas. Nevertheless, over the period of time, multi-gas sensing devices have come into existence that are designed for detecting several gases at a time. Due to continued efforts for developing advanced and compact gas sensors, the market is estimated to witness steady growth in the coming years.

    The most significant factor fueling the gas sensors market is the ever-rising expansion of industrial sector worldwide. Due to rising number of oil & gas and chemical processing plants, the demand for gas sensors is estimated to remain strong throughout the forecast period. In addition, rising automotive industry worldwide is another major factor fueling the market growth. Increasing environmental concerns regarding air quality is expected to significantly bolster the market growth during the forecast period.

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