Interview with Karen van Griensven, CFO Melexis.

Easy Engineering: How was 2021 for your business, a short summary?

Karen van Griensven: The COVID pandemic and the chip shortage gave us a strong headwind, but that being said we achieved a never seen record year in 2021. Examples are our successes in applications for electrification of vehicles. We had many design wins and considerable revenue growth on the field of current sensors which monitor the state of the battery. The same goes for current sensors which optimize the performance of the DC DC converter. Other successes were realized in the field of thermal management of electrical cars. These systems require a lot of chips like embedded drivers,inductive resolvers and position sensors. 

We have seen successes with temperature sensors for health monitoring. Our position sensors have also done well in the gaming industry and latch and switch solutions have been incorporated into power tools.

E.E: What new products/services will be launched this year?

K.V.G: Last year we launched 16 new products, this year we will launch even more of them. For obvious reasons we can’t reveal too much about it, but all our product lines will have different launches: position sensors, temperature sensors, motor controllers, pressure sensors, inductive sensors, latch & switch and LED drivers. We have a lot of innovation coming our way. Despite all the difficulties with the supply, we will manage to offer the market new solutions.

E.E: How did the market change in the last year?

K.V.G: To manage the supply we needed to increase the cooperation with our suppliers so we could upscale our capacity. We see customers and car manufacturers being open to long term commitments. Before they treated chips like commodities. Now they have discovered the truth: chips are not a commodity. It takes quite a bit of time to make them, even more time to qualify them and surely a lot of time to set up the right capacity. The mind shift towards long term cooperation is really a major game changer.

E.E: What were the best-selling products of 2021?

K.V.G: All our product lines grew in 2021. Melexis had a record year. And due to the chip shortage crisis, there was more demand than supply.  That being said, all products related to the electrification of the car are very popular. We also see a lot of interest in safety and comfort oriented products like LED drivers for animated lighting. We also noticed a lot of interest in our tools like the free Magnetic Design Simulator. In non-automotive we had many successes as well. An example is the MLX90392 magnetometer. This solution is used in appliances like white goods, home security, power tools and gaming.

E.E: What sector of business do you think is expected to grow this year?

K.V.G: The growth in automotive won’t stop. The trend to electrify cars has only started. On a global scale you see countries are pushing electric cars. This trend for more sustainability powers the demand for solutions needed for electrification.

A sector that will definitely grow for Melexis, is what we call digital health. Sensors for wearables, medical equipment and other appliances that register our well-being. We already saw an increased interest in our temperature sensors past years, this will not stop in 2022. Another non-automotive market where we expect to grow is robotics. The automation of industry is here to stay.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022?

K.V.G: Our mission is to develop and produce solutions that are beneficial for the planet and the people on it. Our microelectronics minimize fuel consumption and thus reduce CO² emissions. But we look further. We also want solutions that have a positive impact on people. In automotive that means increasing comfort and safety. Outside automotive we aim for added value in robotics, health monitoring, computing, gaming, alternative mobility and zero carbon consumption. Sustainability is in our genes and is our driver for growth. I think the coming years will be very stimulating for Melexis.

On a communication level we want to raise awareness about the technology behind our products. We will launch more technical articles, further elaborate the tech support on our website and bring more information about applications using our technologies. We also invest in achieving broader general knowledge about our technologies. We want to help people understand how essential semiconductors are for the future of the planet and our well-being. As an industry we have to bring forward how important this is for all mankind. 

E.E: A short message for collaborators for the beginning of the year.

K.V.G: Melexis is a dynamic, expanding company that focuses on developing products to support the needs of the planet while providing solutions that meet the expectations of society. Our mission is to contribute to sustainability, comfort and safety. Who wouldn’t like to be part of a growing company that creates a better future? There are a lot of opportunities to grow and to learn. We believe technology is about solving fundamental societal challenges. People in Melexis have a job of and for the future. They are part of our vision. 

More info: www.melexis.com