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Sales of motor-drives and on-machine VSDs ‘will hit $1.4bn’

05 February, 2019

The global market for integrated motors and machine-mounted drives will expand with a CAGR of 6.8% in the five years from 2017, reaching $1.4bn by 2022, according to a new study from IHS Markit. Factors driving the market include an expansion in machinery production and additional revenues being generated by sales of AC brushless servo and AC induction motors and drives.

In 2017, integrated motor-drives accounted for almost two-thirds (65.6%) of the revenues in this market, with machine-mounted drives making up the remaining third. In terms of numbers shipped, integrated motors accounted for more than 75% of the market, with machine-mounted drives representing less than a quarter.

The biggest application for integrated and machine-mounted drives is in materials-handling equipment, which represented 16.6% of revenues in 2017. IHS attributes this to increasing demand for conveying systems in applications such as postal sorting and baggage handling.

Large numbers of integrated motors are also needed for packaging machinery, which often involves large numbers of axes driven by low-to-moderately powered motors. Packaging machines often perform multiple tasks and require the flexibility to adapt to new package shapes and materials.

The need for flexibility is also contributing to the increasing use of modular machine designs in this sector – a trend from which the integrated-motor market is benefiting. Furthermore, the packaging machinery sector is closely tied to the performance of the food, beverage and tobacco market, which IHS Markit predicts will expand at a CAGR of 7.7% between 2017 and 2022.

The most common types of integrated-motor in the food, beverage and tobacco industry are AC brushless servo and AC induction. However, their adoption has been held back by the need for the machinery to withstand washdowns.

In the material-handling sector, integrated motors are widely used in conveying applications, on long machines that benefit from the reductions in cabling that daisy-chaining integrated motors can achieve. Conveying applications typically need speed control, rather than position control, and materials-handling is the largest user of AC induction and DC brushless integrated motor-drives.

The global market for integrated motors and machine-mounted drives, by industry
Source: IHS Markit

The way that the variable-frequency drive is matched to the motor in an integrated motor can lead to efficiency levels exceeding 90%. This compatibility also makes them easier to deploy than buying separate motors and drives, helping to boost productivity.

Turning to machine-mounted drives, IHS Markit reports that sales are being driven partly by their high efficiencies and the need to reduce energy consumption. Manufacturers tend to prefer machine-mounted drives over stand-alone drives, provided that they are affordable and deliver functional improvements.

IHS suggests that the machine-mounted drives market will continue to benefit from product replacement, as motor suppliers expand their machine-mounted drive portfolios. The growth of the market is being driven by expanding demand for machinery in the packaging, labelling, materials-handling, food, beverage and tobacco sectors.

In 2017, materials-handling and packaging were the fastest growing markets for machine-mounted drives, with an estimated value of $57.5m and $45.1m, respectively. These two sectors are predicted to grow at a CAGR of 8.8% and 8.9%, respectively, between 2017 and 2022.

While these growth figures are positive, IHS Markit warns that the immediate challenge for machine-mounted drive manufacturers will be to reduce high initial costs and to communicate the benefits of their products more clearly to end-users. Another issue is the inability so far to develop machine-mounted drives in higher power ratings.

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