Servo-drive market is recovering

AUGUST 7--The worldwide market for servo drives is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 7.2% over the next five years.

AUGUST 7--The worldwide market for servo drives is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 7.2% over the next five years. The market was $2,067 million in 2001 and is forecast to reach $2,922 million in 2006, according to a new study from ARC Advisory Group (Dedham, MA; www.arcweb.com).

"Persistent pressure on manufacturers requires a continual focus on improving performance, reducing time to market, and lowering total cost of ownership. To this end, manufacturers are embracing labor-saving solutions to gain a wider range of functionality in machinery. Servo drives fulfill this demand. But the choices are not simple, as the servo drive market is characterized by a relatively large field of suppliers courting a growing share of new users of motion-control technology," according to Sal Spada, director of research and the principal author of ARC's "Servo Drive Market Outlook."

Overall, the demand for servo drives is recovering.The market's growth will remain unabated well beyond the foreseeable horizon as these products are required in all types of motion control applications. Intelligent motion control systems applied to computer numerical control, robotics, and general motion-control systems all require high-performance servo drives to provide the interface to servo motors. As motion-control systems are unbundled, they will lead to greater integration with entire automation systems.

Distributed architectures are taking two forms in the market today; however, the common denominator is that the intelligence of the servo drive is continuously increasing. Industrial networking standards in manufacturing automation are also providing value to end users and machine builders by reducing commissioning time, enabling interoperability, and improving diagnostics. In performance-critical areas like motion control, an established standard may not currently be able to meet the requirements of an application.

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