Yann Guillou, Membership & Business Development, SEMI Europe, talked with 3D InCites / 3D+ about the upcoming European MEMS Summit 2015, which will be held in Milan, Italy, on 17-18 September.
3D InCites / 3D+: Yann, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today about the European MEMS Summit 2015 SEMI is producing this year in Milan. You have as a theme for the summit Sensing the Planet, MEMS for Life – would you help us understand a little more about that please?
Yann Guillou / SEMI: Sure, I’d love to. To understand the theme, we first need to step back and take a look at the inspiration for this new event. Everything started in mid-2014 when, based on feedback from SEMI members who are active in MEMS and based on a need expressed by other MEMS companies, SEMI Europe decided to heighten its support for the MEMS industry by launching a new stand-alone flagship event to address crucial industry issues. The goal would be to help collectively shape the progress of the MEMS and sensors industry. In light of our success holding smaller-scale MEMS events in Italy, we identified Milan as a perfect location for the first edition of the Summit, in large part because of Milan’s proximity with one of the ‘MEMS Titans’, ST Microelectronics. In parallel, we knew that from spring to fall 2015 Milan would be hosting the Universal Exposition – EXPO2015 – whose theme would be Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. Quite naturally, we decided to integrate this theme into ours and we came up with Sensing the Planet, MEMS for Life. We are convinced that MEMS and sensors will be crucial elements of creating a sustainable future – a future where we will achieve sufficient food production and distribution to feed the entire world population while respecting our planet’s natural balance.
3D+: SEMICON West 2015 contained a large amount of content devoted to MEMS fabrication. How were your observations about that show and about the amount of MEMS content it contained, and what are your observations about SEMI and MEMS overall?
YG / SEMI: MEMS, sensors and, of course, the Internet of Things (IoT) were mentioned many times at SEMICON West 2015 during keynotes, workshops and conferences. MEMS are transitioning from being a so-called “niche” market to one that is now expanding to a much larger scale. We were able to observe a growing popularity in MEMS programs at SEMICON West this year. For example, the half-day MEMS TechXPOT on the show floor was standing room only. Titled, “What’s Next for MEMS?”, the speakers gave a good overview of the trends and technical challenges ahead of us. As a side note, it was interesting, and I was pleased to see a line-up of almost exclusively European speakers. I can think of another example: the interactive workshop co-organized between SEMI and MIG aimed at addressing the common challenges faced by the MEMS, Sensor and Semiconductor industry led to a particularly interesting discussion that included several possible solutions to these challenges for the industry to pursue. In short, MEMS have been part of the SEMI scope for many years, but today it is clear that we intend to increase our activities in this sector to better support the growing MEMS industry – an industry that has many similarities with that of semiconductors, but also many particularities that necessitate a distinctive approach.
3D+: Bosch, now the world’s top MEMS producer, is a European company, as is STMicro, another MEMS powerhouse. With the top MEMS producers, the ‘MEMS Titans’, located in Europe, what is special about the European ecosystem that has given MEMS such an edge there, even as CMOS IC in Europe has rolled off somewhat?
YG / SEMI: Indeed, Europe is home to several strong IDMs in MEMS, and most notably home to Bosch and STMicroelectronics – MEMS leaders who are often identified as the industry’s ‘Titans’. These IDMs have contributed enormously to the European industry, but let’s not forget that they have also benefited from a strong value chain in the region: from RTOs such as CEA-Leti, equipment companies such as SPTS or test companies such as SPEA. Having such leaders in the region is definitively a differentiating factor for Europe in a MEMS and sensor industry that is facing mounting competition. This being said, the IoT is creating many new business opportunities, and so we are now seeing a growing number of new entrants into the industry. This might shake up the current state of the industry. Nothing is static.
3D+: Yann, can you give us a flavor for the value proposition attendees can expect from the SEMI European MEMS Summit 2015? There looks to be a strong Internet of Things angle throughout the program, for example, which was also part of SEMICON West 2015. What are some of the can’t-miss items on the European MEMS Summit program?
YG / SEMI: You’re right on target, Paul. The IoT will be one of the five main topics dealt with at the event. Many people have already presented on this subject and many more will talk about it in coming months and years. Still, what will be unique at the Summit is that SEMI has invited top executives and influencers from leading MEMS companies who already have significant experiences in MEMS production and are familiar with the day-to-day challenges and the long-term potential of the industry. Among our speakers, Vigna from STMicro, Abdi from InvenSense, Finkbeiner from Bosch Sensortec and Bates from Freescale are all running multi-million P&Ls in MEMS and will share their vision of the industry and what success in MEMS has meant for their companies.
Besides the IoT, we will have many executives and experts addressing the market and business opportunities and challenges in the MEMS and sensor realm. Others will talk more about technology and more specifically about MEMS and CMOS co-integration, sensors hubs and sensor fusion, MEMS manufacturing on 300mm wafers, thin film piezoelectric and magnetic materials, TSV/TGV, interposers, and Wafer Level Packaging. Consumer and Wearable electronics as well as MEMS for the Automotive sector will be addressed during dedicated sessions. Speakers will represent a diversity of companies, such as Huawei, ams AG that has recently acquired the sensor business of NXP, Infineon, TSMC, Silex, X-FAB, Tronics, ASE, ARM, IHS, Yole, CEA-Leti, SITRI and more.
3D+: Yann, thank you very much for the conversation. What are the final thoughts you would like to leave with our readers regarding the European MEMS Summit?
YG / SEMI: The event will be extremely informative and will provide attendees with an abundance of networking opportunities. In parallel to the conference, the Summit will include a sold-out exhibition of suppliers and their partners, and also features a fine Italian gala dinner. And, for those who have time to stay a bit longer, I would recommend staying in Milan over the weekend to visit EXPO2015, which is situated only a few minutes from the Summit.
From Pittsburgh, PA, thanks for reading. ~PFW