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Motion controls bounce back from a disastrous 2009

03 October, 2010

The global market for motion controls will start to recover this year, with revenues rising 15.1% above 2009 levels to reach $10.5bn, according to a new forecast. IMS Research reports that the motion controls market has been the hardest-hit part of the industrial automation market, with revenues plunging by 25% in 2009. It does not expect the sector to regain 2008 revenue levels before 2012.

The motion controls market relies heavily on global machinery production, with more than 95% of product sales going into this market in 2009. An 18.9% drop in global machinery production during 2009 led to the dramatic declines suffered by many motion controls suppliers.

The high-tech sectors of semiconductors and electronics are leading the market out of the downturn. An increased demand for semiconductors during the first half of 2010 has revived the market for semiconductor manufacturing equipment, which declined by more than 40% during 2009.

Growing populations and urbanisation are also stimulating the demand for processed foods, beverages and medical equipment, in turn stimulating growth for machinery used in these sectors. This is also helping to drive the packaging equipment market, which is predicted to be one of the fastest-growing vertical markets for motion controls in the period to 2014.
The Asia-Pacific region represents the largest opportunity for growth for motion controls. According to IMS Research analyst Jenalea Howell, “the global recession depressed the Chinese industries with high export content. As exports rise again, the sale of motion control products are once again projected to grow by more than 10% per year.

“Machinery orders in China picked up during the summer of 2010,” she adds, “and machinery production is predicted to grow by 19.2% during all of 2010, in terms of revenues. This is projected to lead to a revenue growth of 16.4% for motion control products.”

A separate IMS study reports that, despite the world recession, China managed to expand its machinery production during 2009. Although there was a dip from the massive growth rates of the preceding years, output still grew. In almost every other country, there were steep declines.
IMS predicts that Chinese machinery production will grow again this year, without quite reaching the 20%-plus growth seen before the downturn.

Of the major industrial nations, the US is expected to be one of the strongest performers during 2010. The US was one of the first countries into the downturn, and to return to growth. The recovery in the automobile industry, bolstered by government stimulus packages, is helping drive growth in US machinery production in 2010.

Recovery in Europe started slightly later than in America and is being tempered by concerns in several countries over sovereign debt and the effects of austerity programmes. Growth in Germany is being driven mainly by a recovery in exports, which are benefitting from a weak Euro.

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