Higher growth seen for linear motors

By Control Engineering Staff August 24, 2006

Many companies are seeking to purchase complete industrial automation systems rather than components assembled in-house. Engineering staffing reductions in recent years has accelerated this trend and influenced the direct drives market, says IMS Research . A recent IMS Research study on direct drives says the global market for linear motor (LM) systems, forecast to be $354.1 million in 2005, was almost double that of the LM components market.

Growth rates also indicated that there will be a continued shift to pre-assembled systems with linear motor systems growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% compared with 8.5% for linear motor components, IMS Research says. Results vary by region.

The most notable disparity is between EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) and Asia Pacific regions, the largest two markets for linear motors, the research firm says. EMEA is the dominant region for LM components, with $104.3 million in revenues and accounting for half of all global sales. Still, EMEA makes up less than a fifth of the total systems market. The largest region by far for this market was Asia Pacific, with sales of $192.8 million in 2005. Systems were also forecast to experience the highest growth in this region.

One answer to the differences in market structures can be found in the prevalent industry sectors within each region, the IMS study says. EMEA is the largest market for machine tools, and the flat-panel display and semiconductor machinery markets dominate the linear motor market in the Asia Pacific.

IMS Research says these industries prefer different architectures for linear motors. In the machine tool sector, for example, engineers prefer to develop their own systems, and therefore purchase components. Purchasing the components rather than pre-assembled systems lowers capital costs and adds flexibility in designing products into machines. For markets such as flat-panel display or semiconductor machinery where the linear motion component is only an ancillary product. In these applications customers typically prefer pre-assembled systems rather than assigning expensive in-house engineering in assembly of sub-systems for a machine.

For more on motion, search related topics atop www.controleng.com . For other industry meetings, scroll to the bottom of the page.

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—Edited by Mark T. Hoske , Control Engineering editor in chief