Motion controls market feels the brunt of the global economic downturn

MARCH 26, 2009--IMS Research says four different tiers of industries will see declines in motion-control product demand.

Mar 26th, 2009

MARCH 26, 2009--According to the latest statistics from IMS Research (Austin, TX, USA; www.imsresearch.com, the worldwide market for motion control equipment experienced "robust revenue growth" in 2007, increasing by 11.9% over 2006 levels. All regions and industry segments exhibited strong growth during the year, and the market research firm estimates that total worldwide revenues for the motion control products market were $9.9 billion. The first two quarters of 2008 witnessed continued rapid growth; however, the second half of 2008 and early 2009 saw the start of a significant slowdown in many segments.

The double-digit growth rates witnessed by the motion controls market over the past few years have been driven by widespread use of servo systems and position control hardware in machine tools, as well as semiconductor, robotics, packaging, material handling, food and beverage, and printing machinery, says the research firm. While the economic slowdown is expected to affect nearly all industry sectors that use motion control products, the degrees of effect will vary, with some industry sectors being hit harder than others.

IMS Research has identified four distinct tiers of industries each with different economic outlooks for 2009. The first tier, which comprises the semiconductor, robotics, and electronics industries, is the hardest hit, with demand for motion control products expected to experience a decline of nearly 20% in 2009. The second tier, which includes traditional machinery manufacturers in the paper, printing, textile, and woodworking industries, was also hit hard, but the declines are expected to be less dramatic, with demand for motion products falling by about 15% in 2009. Tier three, which represents industries with links to consumer spending, such as packaging, material handling, and rubber and plastics, is predicted to hold up better than tiers one and two, with demand for motion controls falling by between 5% and 10% in 2009. Finally, tier four, which includes the food, beverage, and tobacco, medical and scientific, military, and renewable energy sectors, is expected to fare the best during the economic downturn, with flat or slightly positive growth forecast for motion control products sold into these industries.

According to IMS Research senior analyst Alex Chausovsky, "Growing populations and continued urbanization around the world are expected to increase demand for processed foods and beverages, thereby supporting OEMs active in the sector. Furthermore, aging populations in regions like the US, Japan, China, and Western Europe will offer plenty of growth opportunities for motion suppliers to the medical and scientific sectors. Finally, continued political instability and conflicts around the world will encourage ongoing military spending by governments, supporting demand for motion control products used in military applications."

-- Posted by Vision Systems Design, www.vision-systems.com

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