Bosch open to making MEMS for others

September 19, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
Robert Bosch GmbH (Reutlingen, Germany) is open to manufacturing MEMS for other companies although not simply as a "hands-off" foundry, according to Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO of Bosch subsidiary company Bosch Sensortec.

Bosch Sensortec is the subsidiary of Bosch set up to handle sales of MEMS in consumer applications while the parent company continues to focus on MEMS for automotive. Both the parent and Sensortec share access to the fabs.

"We would be open to talking but in the end it would be a question of the business case," Finkbeiner told EE Times Europe on the fringes of the European MEMS Summit, held in Stuttgart last week. "It would probably be somebody who wanted to make a more complex process or develop a process we were interested in as well. It might be a means to share the risk on process development," said Finkbeiner.


Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO of Bosch Sensortec

Finkbeiner emphasized Bosch would not operate as a simple foundry partner selling capacity in its wafer fabs on standard processes. "There would have to be some sort of strategic reasoning and it could involve investment as well," he said.

Bosch has a dedicated 200mm wafer fab in Reutlingen, Germany, built along side a 6-inch wafer fab that has been in operation since 1995. The 200mm facility was formally opened in March 2010 and created with a budget of €600 million, the largest single investment in Bosch's history.

Bosch already has one foundry client, SiTime Corp. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) a wholly-owned subsidiary of MegaChips Inc. of Japan and a pioneer of MEMS resonator devices as replacements for quartz timing devices. However, that is mainly for historical and legacy reasons. The core of the technology used by SiTime started within Bosch, but the company did not want to exploit it. Markus Lutz and Aaron Partridge thought they could make a business round the technology and co-founded SiTime in 2005 and received investment from Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmBH. Bosch has been the foundry manufacturer of MEMS die for fabless SiTime since then. However, Bosch has not been particularly active seeking out foundry partnerships as it