Prosperous `05 for motor drive markets worldwide; how about 2006?

By Control Engineering Staff July 27, 2006

Years 2004 and 2005 represented the strongest consecutive years of worldwide market growth for motor drives (both ac and dc) in more than a decade, says recent data produced by IMS Research . All drive product categories, power ranges, and geographic regions contributed to the market’s strength.

China, with its manufacturing boom, and North America continued to show excellent revenue growth, especially in 2005. “The biggest surprise was the strength in EMEA [Europe, Middle East, and Africa]. After lagging for the past few years, growth in the EMEA market sector was surpassed only by growth in China,” according to IMS Research.

Given the size of the EMEA market, relative to the four major worldwide regions, the double-digit growth rate seen in 2005 was a substantial development. Key growth driver for the EMEA market sector was strong exports to China, North America, and Eastern Europe. (IMS Research’s 2005 figures for the four markets are given below.)

2005 regional comparison for ac and dc motor drives

Revenues ($ Billion) Revenue growth (%)
Americas 1.37 10
Asia Pacific 1.34 16
EMEA 2.48 11.5
Japan 0.60 3.5

No pullback is seen for EMEA as the latest IMS figures show (see diagram), however first-quarter 2006 results for North America show a substantially slower rate of growth, slowest in more than a year. The obvious question is whether the market’s recent “exuberance” for industrial motor drives is about to end?

It’s too early to tell: 1Q06 figures for the sizable North American market may be an early warning of growth moderation in the overall motor drives market or just an example of “outlying” quarterly data. Some expectation of a pullback is possible, following two successive years of well-above average growth, concludes IMS Research.

After double-digit revenue growth in 2005, North American drives market experiencing its slowest growth rate in five quarters.

Frank J. Bartos , executive editor , Control Engineering