23 Jul 2024


Sales of MV soft-starters bounce back after recession

The global market for medium-voltage soft starters fell significantly during 2009 as a result of the economic downturn, but began a gradual recovery last year, with more than 5,000 systems being shipped, worth an estimated $170m. According to a new forecast by the market analyst IMS Research, sales will expand by nearly 10% this year, boosted by high commodity prices and high demand from areas such as the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East.

As long as commodity prices remain at their current levels or above, and growth in emerging economies does not slow significantly, the market should experience several years of healthy growth in the period to 2015, IMS suggests in its 2011 Medium Voltage MCCs & Soft Starters study.
In 2010, China was the world’s largest market for MV soft-starters, with sales worth more than $41m – nearly a quarter of global revenues. The US market was second-largest, valued at around $34m (or 20% of the global market), with Central and Eastern Europe close behind on $33m. Western Europe and the Middle East represent 11% and 7% of global revenues respectively.
IMS estimates that pumping applications account for 60–70% of the MV soft-starter market. Industry sectors that need a significant amount of pumping – such as oil, natural gas, power generation, and water and wastewater – are the biggest vertical markets for MV soft-starters.

“The oil and natural gas sector accounted for one third of the entire MV soft-starter market in 2010,” reports Alex Chausovsky, research director of IMS’ electric motors group, “while metals, mining, and water and wastewater, represented another third of global market revenues.” IMS predicts that sales of MV soft-starters into these markets will outperform the overall market in the period to 2015.

Oil and natural gas will experience the fastest growth, with revenues increasing by an average of more than 12% per year. The overall market for MV soft-starters is expected to grow by less than 9% per year during the same timeframe.