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V-belt and roller chain sales `may never recover`

17 June, 2010

The European markets for V-belts and roller chains slumped by 30% between 2008 and 2009, and will take at least five years to return to their previous levels – if they ever reach these levels again – according to a new study. The market analyst IMS Research reports that combined sales of these two power transmission technologies plummeted by $205m between 2008 and last year, when they accounted for about half of all industrial belt and chain sales in Europe.

“While increases in average selling prices have resulted in some revenue growth, volumes are estimated to be down over the past 5–10 years,” says IMS’ power transmission group director, Alex West. “With energy efficiency increasingly in the forefront of customers’ minds, alternative products such as motor drive electronics will contribute to the contraction of this market.”

However, he adds that there are still good opportunities for revenue growth for some product types, especially those offering higher efficiencies. One example is synchronous belts, which can improve energy efficiency by at least 5% over standard V-belts. The lifetime of these products is also longer and their need for maintenance is reduced due, in part, to the elimination of slippage.

IMS predicts that the market for synchronous belts will grow by an average of more than 6% a year between 2009 and 2013.

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