Bosch bets big on tiny MEMS

Robert Bosch GmbH claims to be the world’s largest manufacturer of micoelectromechanical-system-based sensors, with production levels that exceed 100 million MEMS chips per year. In 2005 the company spun off subsidiary Bosch Sensortec GMbH to expand its MEMS offerings beyond automotive applications and into consumer and other products. Bosch has also licensed its proprietary deep-reactive ion-etching MEMS production technique to SiTime Corp. to manufacture oscillators and timing chips. Robert Bosch sensor engineering vice president Horst Münzel and Bosch Sensortec general manager and CEO Frank Melzer recounted the history of MEMS development at Bosch and shared its plans for the technology in a conversation with contributing editor R. Colin Johnson.