To cope with continuing market growth, Epson Toyocom plans to invest up to 10 billion yen (US$120 million) in fiscal 2010 (from April 2010 to March 2011) to install new equipment aiming to maintain its leading market position, Yajima stated.

As ASPs for crystal devices are likely to continue drifting down, Epson Toyocom will focus on the development of high value-added products, said Yajima, noting that the efforts include integration of semiconductor and crystal technologies that will enable development of new devices such as a combination of 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope for automotive applications.

Giving that a smartphone needs at least six crystal components and an automobile needs up to 50-60 crystal devices, total demand is set to continue growing in the future, Yajima commented.

While Epson Toyocom's expansion projects are covering upstream and downstream products, the company is currently ramping up the production of crystal devices in 2520, 2012 and other small sizes. The company still keeps front-end production in Japan, while outsourcing over 70% of production to overseas factories, including China, Malaysia and Thailand.

While enjoying a high market share in the sensing component segment, Epson Toyocom has also entered the gaming and automotive segments and plans to launch 3-asix gyroscopes in 2011, according to Takeshi Miyazawa, director of product strategy at Epson Toyocom.

Differentiating from silicon-based MEMS products, Epson Toyocom's crystal devices are being developed and manufactured with the company's QMEMS process featuring high accuracy and low noise, said Miyazawa, noting that the QMEMS process is more suitable than silicon MEMS for the production of automobile parts and components.

In view of growing applications for MEMS devices and the MEMS market as well, Epson Toyocom is looking at the development of the motion sensor and pedestrian dead reckoning (PDR) segment, Miyazawa indicated.