The general motion control market, while certainly not immune from the ups and downs of the global economy, seems poised to hold its own over the next few years. A new study from the ARC Advisory Group forecasts that the worldwide market for general motion control technology will experience a compounded annual growth rate of roughly 6.7 percent over the next five years, growing from $6.0 billion in 2007 to $8.2 billion in 2012.
That’s not quite as good as the growth from 2006 to 2007, which came in at just under 9 percent. Yet it’s not bad given current economic trends. “We don’t think everything that’s going on in the world economy will last for another five years,” says Himanshu Shah, an ARC senior analyst and principal author of the study, “General Motion Control Worldwide Outlook.”
If that growth does come to pass, you can give much of the credit to globalization. “While there has been a steady demand for machinery in the highly developed regions, many machinery builders are experiencing unprecedented demand from developing countries, including China, India, as well as the countries of Eastern Europe,“ Shah reports.
According to Shah, globalization is causing manufacturing companies to invest in new capacity. Take automotive, for instance. The rapidly expanding middle class in Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America is creating demand for automobiles, resulting in new local factories and increases in capacity at the existing production facilities. Additionally, more and more parts for the automotive industry are being sourced from Asia.
He predicts that some of the same market forces will likewise trigger capacity increases in a variety of other industries, including consumer goods, food and beverage and electronics.
So what does all this mean from a technology standpoint? Shah points to “higher accuracy and higher productivity” as two overriding desires of machinery buyers throughout the world. These goals favor a variety advanced motion control technologies such as mechatronics, integrated safety, direct drive, linear motors and higher-power drives and motors. And he expects the dollar amount of these cutting-edge technologies to grow over that five year period. “As part of the normal evolution of motion control systems, these technologies will see more use in coming years than they do now,” he says.