Planetary gears: Energy sector fuels demand


IMS Research , a specialist supplier of market research and consultancy services on global electronics markets, predicts that markets for planetary gearboxes in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and in the Americas are forecast to experience an annual growth of almost 8% by 2009, reaching $1.8 billion and $459 million respectively. One of the main drivers for this growth is the increasing demand within the wind energy sector for high torque planetary gearboxes used in wind turbines. This increase in demand is the direct result of the recent high levels of investment into this sector as an alternative energy source to oil, fuelled by rising oil prices and sustained concerns of global warming.

The energy sector accounted for over 40% of the total EMEA planetary gearbox market, and over a quarter of the Americas planetary market in 2005. Whilst EMEA has been steadily building up a large installed wind turbine capacity for over 20 years, comparable levels of investment have been more recent in the Americas, catalyzed by increasing international demand for oil and rising energy costs. This has resulted in a smaller market for these products in America.

Rob Carter, IMS Research market analyst, commented, "continued financial incentives provided by the 2001 EU Directive on the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources for Europe, and America's wind energy production tax credit, will encourage further investment in the wind energy sector over the next few years as these regions strive to meet green energy targets. This is expected to result in the high torque planetary gearbox market growing annually by around 10% in both regions."

—Edited by C.G. Masi , Control Engineering senior editor

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