TDK to acquire Chirp Microsystems, enhance its technology in fingerprint sensors, MEMS sensors

TDK Corp. announced this week that it has reached an agreement with Chirp Microsystems, a vendor of high-performance ultrasonic sensing, in which Chirp becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of TDK. TDK expects to close the acquisition within the coming days.

The acquisition will further accelerate TDK’s sensor and actuator business, providing an extensive sensor product lineup, including pressure, temperature, current, and magnetic sensors, as it continues to expand its sensor business.

Chirp is engaged in high-performance ultrasonic sensors featuring smaller sizes and lower power consumption compared with existing sensors. Chirp’s solutions are expected to find broader applications, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), in addition to areas such as smartphones, automobiles, industrial machinery and other ICT applications.

TDK’s portfolio includes passive components, such as ceramic, aluminum electrolytic and film capacitors, ferrites and inductors, high-frequency products, and piezo and protection components, as well as sensors and sensor systems and power supplies. These products are marketed under the product brands TDK, EPCOS, InvenSense, Micronas, Tronics and TDK-Lambda. TDK’s further main product groups include magnetic application products, energy devices, and flash memory application devices.

TDK focuses on demanding markets in the areas of information and communication technology and automotive, industrial and consumer electronics. The company has a network of design and manufacturing locations and sales offices in Asia, Europe, and in North and South America. In fiscal 2017, TDK posted total sales of USD 10.5 billion and employed about 100,000 people worldwide.

Chirp solutions enable extremely precise sensing, ranging from several centimeters to several meters, sensing the distance to an object and expanding the way users can operate with AR and VR, detect the proximity distance when using smartphones, and track the variance between a vehicle and obstacles when driving. In addition, the sensor operates with low power consumption and enables products to be reduced in size, providing an outstanding sensor solution that is extremely easy for consumers to use. Furthermore, the addition of Chirp’s ultrasonic sensor solutions in combination to the existing fingerprint sensors offered by TDK subsidiary InvenSense, will significantly expand TDK’s ultrasonic sensor solutions.

“TDK is committed to contributing to the growth of systems deployed in the automotive, mobile, health-care and industrial industries. Our vision is to be the leading solutions provider of sensors for motion, sound, environmental elements (pressure, temperature and humidity), and ultrasonic sensors for the Internet of Things (IoT) era,” said Noboru Saito, Senior Vice President, TDK and CEO of Sensor Systems Business Company. “Chirp’s unique and high value-added 3-D sensing technologies will fill out our lineup of sensor solutions, positioning TDK as the leader in ultrasonic MEMS technology. We aim to continue to be a reliable partner that can provide solutions to the challenges our customers face.”

“Our team is excited to be part of the TDK family. We believe together we can bring ultrasonic sensors to a wide variety of products at an even greater speed and scale than we could on our own,” said Michelle Kiang, Chirp’s CEO. “We see so many synergies with TDK technologies; EPCOS is a world-leader in piezo-ceramic sensors and actuators, and InvenSense is a world-leader in MEMS sensors for consumer electronics.”


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