Upswing projected for worldwide general motion controls

Dedham, MA—The worldwide general motion control (GMC) market has passed the $4 billion mark and is expected to grow at a 6.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years, according to a new study, “General Motion Control Worldwide Outlook,” by ARC Advisory Group.


Dedham, MA— The worldwide general motion control (GMC) market shrank during 2001-02 due to low capital investment levels across many industries. Now, there is a more upbeat view of this market’s future, including an increase in orders during 2003. In fact, the GMC market has passed the $4 billion mark and is expected to grow at a 6.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years, according to a new study, “General Motion Control Worldwide Outlook,” by ARC Advisory Group .

ARC adds that the driving factors for capital investments are expected to remain strong during the next five-year period. “Mechatronic solutions with drives and motors will encourage machine builders to replace maintenance-ridden and inflexible mechanical linkages. As a result, an increasing number of machines will have more servo or stepper controlled motion axes,” says Himanshu Shah, ARC senior analyst and the study’s principal author.

While faster/cheaper/better remains the ongoing goal of its players, the GMC market is becoming more dynamic as these suppliers take diverse paths to achieve it. As a result, battles are brewing in many fronts, with numerous open standards, diverse platforms, increased functionality, varied architectures, smaller footprints, broader solutions, and customization. The struggle for the standard motion control network is expected to heat up as major suppliers develop dissimilar motion control networks.

ARC adds its research shows that several factors will drive market growth. The semiconductor and electronics industries, which were the impetus behind the very fast market growth up to 2000, have been in a slump, but finally appear to be awakening. The food and beverage industry, which was one of the stars during the bleak years, is expected to continue its gains as investing in consumer goods manufacturing remain bright.

In addition, while suppliers coalesce in other maturing markets, entrepreneurial GMC suppliers have been aided by advances in motion control technology; difficulties in adopting commercial technology to meet inherently high performance demands of basic motion control; and users' demands for increased motion performance. As a result, newer companies often emerge with more useful, valuable solutions. Many small suppliers have carved out successful niches with their own expertise in the GMC market, where so many different applications prevail. Many established GMC suppliers, including large automation companies, are unable to effectively address the market’s vast diversity of requirements for motion control, and consequently claim smaller GMC market shares.

ARC concludes that ease-of-use and increased competition will drive suppliers to provide more embedded software to meet applications’ requirement, rather than offering unbundled software. Also, more software will be given away to secure hardware sales. This will reduce the revenue growth of the unbundled software segment, but suppliers will be able to offset some of declining hardware revenues by offering embedded software. For more information on the study, visit .

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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