Servo drive market recovering; will reach $2.9 billion in 2006

Dedham, MA—The worldwide market for servo drives is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% during the next five years from just over $2.0 billion in 2001 to more than $2.9 billion in 2006, according to a new study, “Servo Drive Market Outlook,” by ARC Advisory Group.


Dedham, MA— The worldwide market for servo drives is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% during the next five years from $2.067 billion in 2001 to more than $2.922 billion in 2006, according to a new study, “Servo Drive Market Outlook,” by ARC Advisory Group .

'Persistent pressure on manufacturers requires a continual focus on improving performance, reducing time-to-market, and lowering total cost of ownership. To this end, manufacturers are embracing labor saving solutions to gain a wider range of functionality in machinery. Servo drives fulfill this demand extremely well, but the choices are not simple because the servo drive market is characterized by a relatively large field of suppliers courting a growing share of new users of motion control technology,' says Sal Spada, ARC’s research director the study’s principal author.

Power range trends
Overall, the study found that demand for servo drives is recovering. The market's growth will remain unabated well beyond the foreseeable horizon because they are required in all types of motion control applications. Intelligent motion control systems applied to computer numerical control (CNC), robotics, and general motion control systems all require high-performance servo drives to interface with servo motors. As motion control systems are unbundled, this trend has lead to greater integration with entire automation systems.

ARC’s report adds that servo drive suppliers face a unique challenge because they serve a number of markets at different stages of growth. The traditional power range sweet spot in the servo drive market is expanding into both the sub-kilowatt and greater than 10-kilowatt range as many OEMs are outsourcing design and manufacture of drives on their machines. The higher power range is expanding because servo technology can also meet the demands of traditional fluid power solutions and vector drive solutions. These diverse demands in the market are driven by application and market segmentation, which is placing an increasing amount of pressure on servo drive suppliers to deploy cost-effective designs.

Networking makes inroads
In addition, distributed architectures are taking two forms in today’s servo drives market, but the common denominator is that the intelligence of the servo drive is continuously increasing. Industrial networking standards in manufacturing automation are also providing value to end-users and machine builders by reducing commissioning time, enabling interoperability, and improving diagnostics. In performance-critical areas, such as motion control, an established standard may not presently be able to meet the requirements of an application.

Also, the added benefits of networking and localized intelligence far outweigh the marginal benefits of lower drive component costs. In particular, the lower power ranges are very price sensitive, making the value proposition for networking a greater challenge to suppliers. The future in machinery architectures is to take advantage of standard device networks for positioners, and when axes are coupled or synchronized to identify a standard motion control network capable of providing a solution. ARC adds that the results of its study highlight the evolution of networking technology being introduced in each servo power range and region.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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