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Global motion control market heads for $7bn

01 August, 2006

Continuing investment in automation equipment, driven by globalisation, will push the worldwide market for general motion control (GMC) equipment to nearly $7bn by 2010, a new report predicts. The study, by the ARC Advisory Group, says that the GMC market was already worth more than $5bn last year and will expand at a average CAGR of 6.1% over the next few years.

The growth is being driven primarily by manufacturers wanting to cut lifecycle costs for their equipment, while making product variants quickly in small batches on the same manufacturing lines.

"While faster-cheaper-better remains a continuing background trend in the GMC market, these goals translate into high productivity, flexibility, and agility — which GMC equipment provides," says Himanshu Shah, the ARC senior analyst who was the study`s main author.

The report says that specifiers are looking for motion systems that offer seamless integration, easy installation, and smaller packaging sizes.

In terms of technology, Ethernet-based networks tuned for motion control are "opening the door to high-end application performance by enabling levels of speed, capacity and determinism unthinkable just a few years ago," ARC suggests.

Another factor driving the market is the integration of safe drive functions into new motion control equipment, avoiding the need for external safety equipment. ARC says that these functions will increase machine productivity by allowing operators to perform tasks without removing power from the drives.

In the past few years, flat panel displays have become an important market for GMC equipment. This market has experienced "phenomenal growth" ARC reports, and Japanese suppliers, in particular, have benefited by developing related semiconductor and LCD manufacturing equipment.

In a separate report, ARC predicts that the global CNC (computer numerical controls) market will expand slightly from $4.45bn last year to $4.6bn by 2010. It says that the market will experience "significant fluctuations" as rapid growth in the industrialised nations turns to rapid decline, but demand from developing countries continues to rise. The CNC market has traditionally been highly cyclical, but the emerging markets will help to smooth this through continuing rapid growth.

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