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Oil and water drive demand for MV MCCs and soft-starts

16 April, 2013

The fastest growth in applications for medium-voltage motor control centres (MCCs) and soft-starters in the next few years is likely to come from the oil and gas, and water and wastewater industries, says a new report from IMS Research, now part of IHS.

It predicts that global sales of MCCs and soft-starters for use in oil and gas extraction, manufacturing and transportation, will rise from $206m in 2011 to $287m by 2016, representing a CAGR of 6.9%. Demand for similar equipment from the water and wastewater segment will rise from $90m to $117m over the same period, representing a CAGR of 5.4%.

The total market for MCC and soft starters for all uses will expand at a CAGR of 5.5% between 2011 and 2016.

The graph (above) shows projected global revenues for MV MCCs and soft-starters from the oil and gas sector (yellow bars) and the water and wastewater industry (blue bars) for the period 2012 to 2016.

IHS analyst Jared Kearby, explains that inflated oil prices during 2011 and 2012 prompted oil companies to invest to boost their production, with spin-off benefits for sales of MV MCCs and soft-starts.

There has also been increased demand from the water and wastewater market as they replace outdated systems. In addition, this segment is being fuelled by new installations that are needed to increase capacity and to mitigate environmental effects.

These investments have been particularly strong in emerging markets such as India, the Middle East and China.

In oil and gas applications, MCCs and soft-starts are most often used to start MV motors for pumps and compressors. IHS expects continuing high oil prices to keep driving demand from this area.

It forecasts that sales of MV MCCs and soft-starters to the water and wastewater industry will continue to grow in the period to 2016 as utilities replace outdated systems. Growth is also coming from new installations to meet the needs of expanding urbanisation.

Pumps are also needed for water purification, collection and distribution. The most critical function for MV motor controls in water applications is to minimise cavitation during start-up.

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