Gases and engineering giant Linde has teamed up with fluorochemicals distribution company Pelchem on the development of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) that are seen as crucial building blocks for M2M services.
The two companies say they have formed a strategic partnership to distribute xenon difluoride, a material used in the manufacture of MEMS - widely used in many mobile and automotive applications, such as accelerometers, pressure sensors, compasses and microphones.
Pelchem (Pretoria, South Africa) claims to have the largest share of the global xenon difluoride market, while Linde’s customers include some of the world’s biggest device makers.
“This partnership is just one component of our continued investment in advanced materials to facilitate the growth of this market,” said Peter Owen, the head of Linde’s global electronics business. “Collaborating with Pelchem enables us to support the manufacture of the latest MEMS devices as the fast growth of this sector continues.”
According to consulting company Yole Développement, the global MEMS market is set to grow at a compound annual rate of 13% between now and 2017, driven largely by advances in M2M communications.
In biomedical applications, for instance, the ability to transport fluids on a microscopic scale could improve tasks such as drug delivery and blood analysis.
“Pelchem was the first company to supply xenon difluoride to the electronics industry and we have made extensive investments to meet the needs of the MEMS market, including the establishment of the world’s largest xenon difluoride production plant,” said Petro Terblanche, the managing director of Pelchem.
“By joining forces with Linde [Munich, Germany] and tapping into Linde’s extensive, world-class distribution network and infrastructure, we are well positioned to be the supplier of choice for xenon difluoride on a global scale,” he added.
With 62,000 employees worldwide, Linde generated revenues of about €15 billion ($19.5 billion) last year, while Pelchem is the only fluorochemical production, sales and distribution company in the southern hemisphere, exporting its products to 21 countries globally.
The two companies have been collaborating in other areas since 2008.