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Sales of decentralised drives set to surge

01 May, 2004

European sales of decentralised drives and motors with built-in drives will grow by an average of 16.8% a year over the five years to 2007, according to a new forecast. The study, by the market analyst, IMS Research, predicts that the market will expand from €19.3m in 2002 to reach €41.9m by 2007.

Decentralised drives are designed to be installed close to the motors they control. They are usually protected to a minimum of IP54 and often use fieldbus communications. They are particularly attractive for installations such as long conveyor lines or production lines with many stations. (The picture above shows decentralised motor-drives from Lenze.)

Although decentralised drives usually cost more than standard systems, they "provide considerably lower lifetime costs when factors such as installation, cabling and maintenance costs are factored into the equation," says the report`s main author, Alex West.

Last year, materials handling accounted for the lion`s share (42.3%) of the European decentralised drives market, with baggage handling being a particularly lively part of the market. Other large users include the automotive sector (15.4%), food and beverage (11.3%), HVAC (7.7%) and OEM pump manufacturers (7.2%). IMS expects these sectors to remain the main markets for the foreseeable future.

The North American market for decentralised drives and integrated motor-drives is growing even faster - at 43.5% a year over the five years to 2007 - but it is starting from a lower base. This market has lagged behind Europe in adopting the technology and was worth just $10.1m in 2002.

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