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Analysis: MEMS making inroads in industrial automation

Posted: 23 May 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:industrial applications? industrial automation? analysis report?

MEMS-based sensors and actuators are on a slow but steady climb into taking a key role in the industrial automation sector, new analysis from Frost & Sullivan revealed.

According to the growth consulting house's "Impact Analysis of MEMS-Based Sensors and Actuators on Industrial Automation" report, MEMS-enabled miniaturization and micromechatronics is poised to boost component, device, system and subsystem development for industrial applications.

The trend is inevitable as the sector moves toward intelligent, distributed and wireless monitoring and control, the report said, noting that micro machines possess characteristics that make them preferable to bulkier devices. MEMS devices are small in size, simple in structure, highly precise and power efficient.

Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Avinash Bhaskar notes that actuators such as RF MEMS for wireless sensing applications, while still in a relatively early stage of development, are fast entrenching themselves as an industrial automation solution.

"On the other hand, pressure sensors fabricated using MEMS technology represents one of the largest applications in industrial automation," adds research analyst Menaka S.

For now, investment efforts are focused on on-demand application segments. "As a result, consumer electronics, medical and automotive segments are currently driving the MEMS industry," Bhaskar said.

Menaka urged developers and providers to work towards providing higher-value MEMS-based sensors and actuating devices that can compete with those used in more price-sensitive, higher-volume applications.

"MEMS developers and providers can focus on collaborating with users in the industrial arena to provide them with a high-value solution for key industrial applications such as intelligent networked health monitoring of machines, which involves monitoring multiple sensed parameters or distributed process control," Menaka said. "MEMS sensors for parameters such as pressure, flow, acceleration/vibration/tilt and angular velocity have started playing a vital role in the industrial automation technology arena."

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