Integrated brushless DC motors becoming major competitors for AC servo integrated motors

The DC motor market are becoming a major competitor because of their overall functionality, which was shown by reaching an estimated record high of $360.6 million in 2011.


Integration as a trend in the automation electronics industry has continued in different forms, with one of the prominent solutions being an integrated motor and drive. In 2011, the market for integrated motors is estimated to be valued at $360.6 million, increasing even after reaching record sales growth in 2010 of over 30%.

Although the market was long dominated by the AC brushless servo technology, integrated DC brushless motors are becoming a major competitor in the overall market due to increasing functionality. Integrated brushless DC motors grew by 47.7% in 2010 as applications that were once operated exclusively by an integrated AC servo motor are now able to use DC brushless motors. The use of integrated DC brushless motors as substitutes for integrated AC servo motors is seen predominately in applications within the packaging and material handing industries due to the lower number of axes and less precision necessary for the machines to operate.

The market is gradually more accepting of this technology as an increasing number of brushless DC integrated motors are now shipped with advanced feedback, with a 16.5% average annual growth rate for absolute multi-turn encoders from 2009 to 2015. In addition to feedback, position control electronics play a major role in integrated DC brushless motors competiveness with AC servo motors, with an 11.6% CAGR is expected for integrated DC brushless motors with position control from 2009 to 2015. Profile photo of Jenelea Howell, a research manager for IMS Research who specializes in motor controls and switchgear. Courtesy: IMS Research

While DC brushless integrated motors are competitive in certain areas of the integrated servo market there are still many applications where the DC integrated motors are not as prominent, such as those in the machine tools and robotics industries that require control of more axes, determinism, and higher precision. With that said, integrated DC brushless motors will continue to have improved functionality and, combined with the relatively lower cost to AC servo integrated motors, will continue to compete in less demanding servo industries.

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