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SMT & Inspection | March 28, 2008

MEMS test equipment market needs<br>to develop low-cost products

If the MEMS test equipment market is to match the pace of the overall MEMS market, it has to develop cost-effective, standardised solutions.
This is especially pertinent in a market where expensive customized products vastly outnumber off-the-shelf products.

Frost & Sullivan reports market earned revenues of $56.5 million in 2007 and estimates this to reach $120.2 million in 2014.

Current test equipment is priced as high as $1 million, which can deter most MEMS device manufacturers from purchasing testing equipment. Customized solutions require vendors to conduct research each time they receive an order driving up the costs. Once standard solutions become more prevalent, costs will likely drop.

In addition, most test equipment performs only either electrical testing or mechanical testing, and this lack of versatility increases the cost of individual testing. Technological advancements of MEMS devices will have a proportional impact on the growth of the low-cost testing market.

Currently, the high costs of MEMS testing discourage most manufacturers from employing it unless the testing is essential. Most end users do not understand the importance of MEMS testing and have low awareness of wafer-level technology or MEMS device testing.

To overcome this issue of customers’ ignorance, test vendors have begun to focus on educating end users on the importance of MEMS testing as well as the benefits they are likely to obtain. Once customers recognize the true value of testing, the adoption rates are expected to increase significantly.

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