Statistics and predictions for motion control market

Paul Boughton

According to new statistics from IMS Research, the worldwide market for motion control equipment experienced robust revenue growth in 2007, increasing by 11.9 per cent over 2006 levels. All regions and industry segments exhibited strong growth during the year, and IMS Research estimates that total worldwide revenues for the motion control products market were $9.9billion. The first two quarters of 2008 witnessed continued rapid growth; however, the second half of 2008 and early 2009 saw the start of a significant slowdown in many segments.

The double-digit growth rates witnessed by the motion controls market over the past few years have been driven by widespread use of servo systems and position control hardware in machine tools, as well as semiconductor, robotics, packaging, material handling, food and beverage, and printing machinery. While the economic slowdown is expected to affect nearly all industry sectors that use motion control products, the degrees will vary, with some industry sectors being hit harder than others.

IMS Research has identified four distinct tiers of industries, each with different economic outlooks for 2009.

The first tier, which comprises the semiconductor, robotics and electronics industries, is the hardest hit, with demand for motion control products expected to experience a decline of nearly 20 per cent in 2009.

The second tier, which includes traditional machinery manufacturers in the paper, printing, textile and woodworking industries, was also hit hard, but the declines are expected to be less dramatic, with demand for motion products falling by about 15 per cent in 2009.

Tier three, which represents industries with links to consumer spending, such as packaging, material handling, and rubber and plastics, is predicted to hold up better than tiers one and two, with demand for motion controls falling by between 5 per cent and 10 per cent in 2009.

Finally, tier four, which includes the food, beverage and tobacco, medical and scientific, military, and renewable energy sectors, is expected to fare the best during the economic downturn, with flat or slightly positive growth forecast for motion control products sold into these industries.

IMS Research
senior analyst Alex Chausovsky comments: "Growing populations and continued urbanisation around the world are expected to increase demand for processed foods and beverages, thereby supporting OEMs active in the sector. Furthermore, aging populations in regions like the US, Japan, China and Western Europe will offer plenty of growth opportunities for motion suppliers to the medical and scientific sectors. Finally, continued political instability and conflicts around the world will encourage ongoing military spending by governments, supporting demand for motion control products used in military applications."

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