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18 September, 2019

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US motion controls market shrinks by 17.5%

01 August, 2002

The US market for motion control products including servo and stepper systems, and position controllers, shrank by an around 17.5% last year - and will contract again this year, according to a new market report. However, the study - from the analyst IMS Research - predicts that a slow recovery will start in the second half of this year, leading to a full recovery next year.

In August last year, IMS predicted that the motion market would start to recover this year, but the events of last September have set back any recovery. Most suppliers in the sector report that sales in the first half of 2002 were 10-20% lower than in the same period last year.

As a result, IMS now predicts that the North American motion control market will amount to around $930m this year - significantly lower than the $1,154m it achieved in 2000. Worst hit has been the stepper market, largely because of its heavy dependence on the semiconductor machinery market which experienced an unparalleled contraction during 2001.

However, the semiconductor industry has recently reported an upturn in orders and this is one of several positive indicators that lead IMS to predict a slow recovery starting in the latter half of this year. This is backed up by data from key motion suppliers who are reporting a more positive start to the second half of the year.

Further optimism has been generated by production figures from the US Federal Reserve which indicate that the machinery markets bottomed out at the end of 2001 and have been growing since then. Although IMS expects OEM machine builders to continue limiting their expenditure in the second half of 2002, it predicts that they will start to restock during 2003, giving the motion control industry a much-needed fillip

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