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Sales of AC drives `are growing by 5% a year`

01 September, 2001

Global sales of small AC drives will continue to grow by an average of 5% over the coming five years, according to a new market forecast. "In spite of declining hardware prices and recent sluggishness in the global economy… low-power AC drive revenue will experience modest growth, while unit growth rate will be significantly higher," says Himanshu Shah, a senior analyst with the ARC Advisory Group, which produced the study.

The survey* predicts that the global market for low-power AC drives, which was worth $3.9bn in 2000, will be worth more than $5bn by 2005.

It says that drives suppliers are being forced to form joint ventures and alliances because the combination of eroding prices and shorter lifecycles are putting pressure on their r&d activities.

The study suggests that the growth of the AC drives market is being fuelled by several factors including the emergence of new applications as drives become smaller and cheaper. Users are also turning to drives to boost their productivity and their energy efficiency, it says.

According to ARC, the falling prices for drives are opening up applications where previously contactors, soft-starts, mechanical drives or DC drives would have been used.

The report cautions that competition in the AC drives sector will remain fierce and there will be continuing pressure on prices. Suppliers may not be able to take advantage of the expanding market unless they are agile "and implement appropriate strategies to participate in this hard and long race".

* Low Power AC Drive Worldwide Outlook, Market Analysis and Forecast through 2005. Price $4,900.

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