Magnetic sensors are a key enabling technology for the growing automotive and Internet-of-Things businesses.
AUTOMOTIVE AND THE INTERNET-OF-THINGS APPLICATIONS WILL DRIVE THE MAGNETIC SENSOR BUSINESS
Automotive is the biggest magnetic sensor business by far, accounting for more than 50% of the overall market’s $1.64B value in 2016. Today, 20-30 magnetic sensors are used in a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) car. This could rise to 35 in hybrid cars, which require additional current sensors. Magnetic sensors can be used for position and speed sensing, switching, current sensing, and have the advantage of being contactless and thus very robust. Thus magnetic sensors already contribute significantly to car electrification. This will continue in coming years, in both powertrain and auxiliary brushless motors, and as reliability requirements increase for autonomous cars.
We group together industrial and other applications as a second segment, including industrial plants, transportation, homes, appliances and consumerel ectronics. The market is clearly very fragmented, with smaller volumes and more dedicated products than in automotive, which are thus also higherpriced. But similar trends as in automotive will drive market growth. The transition to brushless motors and Internet-of-Things (IoT) are boosting the market by providing intelligence and connectivity to objects either for ‘industry 4.0’ or for consumer smart homes. We therefore expect this business will have double digit growth, the highest in the magnetic sensor market.
The ‘ecompass’ electronic compass market is stabilizing after several years of shrinkage due to rapid price erosion and smartphone market saturation. Ecompasses that use 3D magnetic sensors equip a majority of smartphones to precisely give pedestrians directions in digital maps, and for a few years have assisted GPS when satellite signals are unavailable. Market growth will come back thanks to new applications such as wearables, robots and drones, but will be moderate compared to other businesses.
Overall, the market will grow by 7% per year, to reach almost $2.5B in 2022. The report identifies the key driving forces and restraints for each magnetic sensor market and provides accurate market forecasts in dollars, units and number of wafers.
THE COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE VARIES DEPENDING ON WHETHER THE MARKET IS FOCUSED ON AUTOMOTIVE, ECOMPASS OR INDUSTRIAL AND OTHERS
The market players are different in each main magnetic sensor business, but there is some overlap:
• An almost pure magnetic sensor player, Allegro Microsystems, leads the automotive business. It is challenged by large semiconductor groups focused on automotive, namely Infineon, NXP, Melexis and TDK. Those five players account for more than 90% of this sector.
• AKM dominates the ecompass business and other Japanese players such as Yamaha and Alps have beentheir main competitors until recently. However, now new entrants from the US and Taiwan including MEMSIC, Isentek and Voltafield, have gained significant market share thanks to aggressive pricing below $0.10 per device.
• AKM and Allegro both come into the ‘industrial and other’ segment from the automotive or consumer businesses. They therefore benefit from economies of scale, and their devices provide the high reliability those markets demand. The rest of the market is very fragmented, with a mix of industrial-focused companies, such as Honeywell and Diodes, or automotive- or ecompass-focused companies. The frontiers tend to blur between these markets, with ecompass and industrial players trying to enter the dynamic automotive business. Mergers and acquisitions will continue following the deals between Micronas and TDK and NXP and Freescale.
We have listed potential targets for acquisitions in the report.
xMR TECHNOLOGIES WILL SLOWLY GAIN MARKET SHARE
The technology landscape is becoming increasingly complex, as the presence of magnetoresistive (xMR) technologies grows. These include anisotropic magnetoresistive (AMR), giant magnetoresistive (GMR), and more recently tunnel magnetoresistive (TMR). Their growth comes at the expense of, or combination with, historical Hall effect technology.
xMR technologies’ main advantage is better sensitivity and thus they are mainly used for positionmeasureme nt, especially for precise angles. Most big Hall players have introduced xMR technologies into their product portfolios and intend to grow this business, including AKM, Infineon, Allegro, Melexis, TDK, Diodes and Honeywell. Thus, we expect xMR technologies will increase their market share from 27% to 31% from 2016 to 2022. xMR adoption is slow because it is generally adopted only for new applications or projects. Hall technology is still very effective, especially for its cost, and will remain the preferred option for many applications. Manufacturing strategies used to make xMR technologies vary from internal production, for Infineon, Allegro, TDK and Honeywell, to outsourcing, done by Melexis and Analog Devices, and IP licensing agreements, such as NXP’s deal with Crocus Technology. As usual in the semiconductor business, technical trends will further push product miniaturization, thanks to greater integration and smaller packaging.
This market report analyzes all the main magnetic sensor technologies, including Hall, AMR, GMR and TMR, but also other technologies such as fluxgate, magnetoinductive and superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs). We describe each technology, and provide forecasts by main market for automotive, ecompass and industrial and other applications.
OBJECTIVES OF THE REPORT
This report’s objectives are to:
- Provide an understanding of magnetic sensors business for three main applications, automotive, ecompass and industrial and other applications, spanning technologies, market trends, players and market drivers
- Offer market forecasts for the magnetic sensor business for three main applications and five technology groups: Hall, AMR, GMR, TMR, and others
- Describe magnetics sensor functions, including ecompass, switches, position, speed and current sensors, and technologies, including technical principles, advantages/limitations, main functions of each technology, main players and main technical trends.
- Identify key players and analyze player strategies by market and technology including market shares by technology and by main markets, supply chain positions, future evolutions and possible mergers and acquisitions