Using motion control to upgrade motors for machine design

Inside Machines: Motion control product demand has increased for many machine design applications as the economy has improved. However, different markets have different expectations and needs, forcing suppliers to be flexible.

By Sudhakar Chaudhary June 2, 2019

The global motion control market achieved record high growth in the last two years, growing from $12.1 billion in 2016 to $15.7 billion in 2018. This is largely because of the global economic upturn and increasing machinery production investments. The global motion control market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7% from 2018 to 2022, reaching $20.5 billion in 2022, according to an IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO) study on the world market for motion controls.

The growth in global motion control market has triggered substantial demand for motion control products, particularly in robotics, electronics assembly, semiconductor, machine tools and renewable energy sectors.

Modularity, decentralization

The demand for flexible, modular machinery equipment is affecting the motion control market, resulting in a higher number of servo axes per machine and increasing use of decentralized drives.

End users increasingly are demanding complete production lines, namely in the food and beverage, packaging and machine tool industry sectors to fulfill various production requirements. Modularity in machines is a good fit for end users seeking more flexibility and increased output with low levels of investment; it also limits the downtime for a production line due to the failure of an individual part. For example, packaging machines used in the food and beverage industry may incorporate functionalities for feeding materials, forming and filling the pouch, and cutting and sealing.

Decentralized designs also have been gaining traction from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end users, particularly in Europe. Such designs help machine builders provide flexible, space-conserving, independent modules by removing central cabinet for drives and associated components, as well as cabling for installation. Multi-axis machines, in particular, benefit from this modular design and decentralization trend.

Drive integrated motors also are expected to experience a faster-than-market-average growth in Europe and the U.S. However, the adoption in the Asia-Pacific market is expected to be much slower because of concerns due to high purchase price, technical barriers and customer acceptance.

With increasing use of advanced and automated processes for factory automation, the OEMs are focusing more on industry-specific capabilities.

New capabilities

Many motion control suppliers are transitioning from emphasizing devices and components to system-based offerings, via approaches of software development, product integration, etc. Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and U.S. market suppliers have strong advantages for industry based system offerings to gain high margins with value-added services.

In the Asia-Pacific market, local suppliers have started to (or plan to) provide offerings, either through building in-house production or cooperation with outside partners, to increase customer satisfaction and achieve higher profit margins than those from component sales.

Industry-specific systems

Although motion control products are used in a variety of industries, suppliers also may design products for use within an industry or specific to certain applications.

Suppliers are also seeking opportunities for expansion in new industries while striving to enhance their footprints in the existing industries. There will be a continued move towards industry-specific and application-specific product and solution offerings by manufacturers.

Software development to specific requirements is also a major differentiator for many suppliers to provide added value to customers.

Sudhakar Chaudhary is analyst, manufacturing technology, IHS Markit. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media,


Keywords: Motion control, motors and drives, machine design

The growth in the global motion control market was triggered by increased demand for motion control products.

The demand for flexible, modular machinery equipment is affecting the motion control market.

Priorities for specific functions in the Americas differs from Asia and other markets due to experience and expertise.

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Author Bio: Sudhakar Chaudhary is analyst, manufacturing technology, IHS Markit