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Market shifts to ready-built linear motors

01 September, 2006

A recent study has revealed differences in the way that linear motors (LMs) are bought in different parts of the world. The study, by IMS Research, shows that while customers in Europe like to buy their LM systems as components that they can assemble themselves, those in Asia prefer to buy ready-assembled LM systems.

During 2005, Europe spent $104m on LM components, accounting for half of all global sales. But Europe accounts for less than 20% of global LM system sales — a market dominated by Asia-Pacific, with sales worth $192.8m in 2005.

IMS suggests that one reason for the difference is that Europe is the largest market for machine tools, an industry where engineers like to develop their own systems and therefore buy components. In Asia, many linear motors are used in applications such as flat panel display and semiconductor manufacturing, where linear motion is an ancillary and the specifiers prefer to buy pre-assembled systems rather than components.

Globally, the market for LM systems was worth about $354m last year — about twice the size of the components market. IMS predicts that there will be continuing shift to LM systems, with sales growing at 11% a year, compared to 8.5% for components.

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