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Motion control sales will fall by 7.5% in 2020, but rebound

08 June, 2020

The global motion controls market will fall by 7.5% this year, before starting to recover in 2021 and slowing down again in 2023, according to the latest predictions from Interact Analysis. The smaller CNC (computer numerical controls) market will be particularly badly hit, with a 24.7% decline this year, partly because of its exposure to two major sectors – aerospace and automotive – that have been almost completely shut down by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The GMC (general motion controls) market for servodrives and servomotors will experience a much smaller impact, partly because of its wide application range and the fact that demand for machinery from the food and beverage industry has held up because “demand for food rarely falls, even in times of global shock”. Interact expects GMC sales to the food sector to dip by just 0.85% this year. Although the pandemic may cause supply-side issues, the analysts expects these to be short-lived.

Turning to three other key GMC markets:

Packaging machinery This is strongly linked to the food and beverage industry, and Interact expects it to follow a similar trajectory and to ride the storm. Most regions will either flatline on 2019 figures, or dip only slightly.

Materials-handling equipment Interact predicts a strong uptake for logistics and warehouse automation applications. Sales will dip in 2020, but recover by the end of 2021.

Growth forecasts for the global market for general motion controls, before and after Covid-19
Source: Interact Analysis

Semiconductor and electronics machinery This sector historically experiences boom and bust cycles, with machinery that is expensive, ordered well in advance, and becomes outdated quickly. Interact expects the sector to expand by 1.7% in 2020, followed by significant growth over the coming five years.

The CNC market is highly dependent on the machine-tools industry, which has been hit badly by the Covid-19 crisis. Interact predicts that the global machine tool industry will plummet by almost 30% during 2020, adding that few of the major machine-tool-producing regions will come close to 2019 levels in the next five years.

The Japanese, German and Italian CNC markets are expected to see the biggest contractions during 2020. The machine tools sector also faces longer-term challenges, such as the growth of the electric vehicle industry, which needs much less tooling, and the expansion of additive manufacturing, which competes with machine tools. “It is therefore clear that the industry is at a potential turning point in its future evolution,” says Interact’s research director, Tim Dawson.

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