Demand for integrated solutions to 'propel' European servo and stepper systems market

Paul Boughton
The European servo and stepper systems market has witnessed an increase in demand in recent times. Several key factors are promoting market expansion, such as compact design, reduction in installation time, enhanced efficiency and the move towards decentralised motor drive systems.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Analysis of Servo and Stepper Systems Market in Europe, finds that the market earned revenues of €1623.3 million in 2010 and estimates this to reach €3385.4 million in 2017.
Servo systems generate significantly more revenue than stepper ones. This is due to their lower costs and ability to support greater control and accuracy in various applications.  Industrial automation and automotives are the major end user segments for both servo and stepper systems, contributing almost 40 per cent of market revenues.
“The drive for energy efficiency and decentralised systems is highlighting the need for efficient servo and stepper systems,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Raaj Thilak Raveendran. “This shift towards energy efficiency will boost demand levels over the next seven years.”
Signs of economic recovery, paralleled by increasing investments in end user segments such as automotive, industrial automation and packaging, will also enhance growth prospects.
In addition, the end user need for customised and energy efficient products is creating demand for integrated drive solutions. The potential increase in functionalities of servo and stepper systems is projected to expand the range of applications across various end user segments, which in turn will increase overall revenues. The benefits of integrated servo and stepper systems, such as networking capabilities and application oriented programming, will underpin market growth over the forecast period.
“The major challenge faced by manufacturers will be to provide integrated package solutions for servo systems,” states Raveendran. “Integrated solutions can be used directly for specific applications; this is a challenge for both end users and OEMs, since they have to find the best fit for existing servo motors/servo drives.”
At present, servo systems’ efficiency is good. However, it can be further improved by integrating the drive and the motor, which will eventually reduce the wiring components.
“AC motors and drives are accepted in all industrial areas, due to their capabilities and comparatively lower price than servo systems,” remarks Raveendran. “Manufacturers who are shifting from pneumatic and hydraulic systems will look at the cost factor, so AC motors and drives will be preferred over servo systems in some applications.”
Tier 3 servo and stepper manufacturers are moving towards integrated technology to allow better focus on specific end user segments and their applications. This strategy will also push tier 3 companies into direct competition with tier 1 participants. This could in turn reduce market concentration over the long term, even while underlining the importance of continued investments in new product development.
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