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European gears market set to grow despite fierce competition

01 January, 2006

Despite intense competition from manufacturers in Eastern Europe and Asia, the Western European market for gearboxes and geared motors will expand from €2.48bn in 2004 to €3.13bn by 2011, says a new report. The study, by Frost & Sullivan, suggests that the increased revenue will come from the growing need for planetary designs and sustained demand from the mechanical handling, wind energy, and food and beverage sectors.

The need to cut costs and improve productivity is driving manufacturers to invest in more efficient power transmission technologies, boosting the demand for planetary gearboxes, F&S says.

F&S research manager, Danny Solomon expects that expansion in the packaged food industry, with factories being modernised across Europe, will provide growth opportunities for gearbox and geared motor manufacturers. Another factor likely to drive the market is the emergence of modular, off-the-shelf gearboxes and geared motors, which can be used in different applications.

The gearbox market alone is expected is forecast to grow from €1.33bn in 2004 to €1.72bn by the end of 2011. Sales of helical boxes (the largest segment of the European gearbox market) are poised for growth as demand continues for these efficient, reliable gearboxes.

Demand for planetary gearboxes will also rise, despite their being more expensive than helical boxes. However, the growth prospects for relatively inefficient worm gearboxes are limited.

F&S predicts that sales of geared motors will rise from €1.15bn in 2004 to €1.41bn by 2011. The availability of various designs of helical geared motors - such as in-line and helical bevel - make them suitable for a wide range of applications and this is likely to result in increased revenues. Planetary gear motors, despite being more expensive than wormgear motors, are also expected to enjoy greater demand because of their suitability for larger applications.

The German market for gearboxes and geared motors, which represents nearly half of European total, is likely to remain the largest national market and is expected to rebound this year. Growth in the UK market will depend on the state of the manufacturing sector and on UK suppliers` ability to compete with manufacturers from countries such as China and India. Despite this, F&S forecasts that the UK market will grow from €186.1m in 2004 to €228.0m by 2011.

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