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Motion control sales slumped in 2015, but are starting to recover

07 June, 2016

The global market for motion control hardware suffered a 10.6% decline during 2015, with total revenues amounting to $10.4bn, according to the latest research from the IHS Motion Controls Intelligence Service. But the analyst suggests that the market will gradually return to growth starting this year.

According to IHS, the motion control market as encountered a “perfect storm” during 2015, following a 8.4% growth in revenues in 2014.

The European and Japanese suppliers that dominate the global motion controls market – with nine of the top 11 slots – were hit badly by currency depreciation against the US dollar during 2015. A significant devaluation of the Japanese yen against the US dollar led to considerable revenue losses in the European and Japanese motion-control markets, which dropped by 13.7% and 10.8% respectively during 2015. 

IHS expects investment in motion controls to be “continuously constrained” during 2016 by various economic, geopolitical and political concerns, including the unfavourable economic climate in the emerging economies. Other worries include China’s economic slowdown, stagnant commodity prices, the migration crisis in Europe, and the US presidential election.

But as Europe’s economic climate improves slowly during 2016, it will lead to renewed market growth, IHS suggests. The analyst predicts that EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) will still be the largest regional market for motion controls by 2020, with nearly $4.8bn in revenues, including software and services. However, it believes that the Asian and American markets will overtake Europe’s growth momentum by 2020. It forecasts that Asia-Pacific will be the fastest-growing region between 2015 and 2020, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 3.7%.

The motion controls market depends critically on global machinery production. Machine tools are the biggest application sector, with revenues worth $4.2bn in 2015 – or 42% of the total. This sector suffered a severe decline during 2015, particularly in China and the US, which are the leading markets for machine tools.

The global motion controls market, by region, showing 2015 revenues and predicted CAGR from 2015 to 2020
Source: IHS Motion Controls Intelligence Service

Because the machine tool sector accounts for 80% of CNC (computer numerical control) hardware revenues, the CNC market suffered a 14.8% contraction last year. This market is continuing to experience short-term growth pressure, due to weak demand from China and the US. IHS expects revenues from motion controls used in machine tools to expand at a CAGR of 1.9% between 2015 and 2020. 

One trend that is helping the motion controls market is the global boom in robotics. Motion-control revenues from the robotics sector will expand with a CAGR of 12.6% from 2015 to 2020 – making it the fastest-growing application sector ­– and robotic applications are predicted to account for 9.6% of all motion control revenues by 2020.

IHS includes the following products in the motion controls market: general motion controls; computer numerical controls, servomotors and servodrives, and position control hardware.




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