The global market for direct-drive torque motor modules grew from $98 million in 2008 to $195 million in 2012 and is forecast to be worth nearly $300 million in 2016, according to a recently released report, The World Market for Linear and Torque Motors, from IMS Research/IHS.
SEE ALSO: Do We Still Need Gear Motors?
Direct-drive torque motor modules reduce the need for power transmission components such as gear boxes, couplings and linkages, which reduces the efficiency losses in machinery built based on these components. These motors can operate with higher speeds and greater precision than achieved by the established fluid or electromechanical drive technologies. High-end industrial machinery in the machine-tool, semiconductor equipment, electronics assembly and flat-panel production sectors, that place the greatest value on highly precise motion, have been the biggest markets for torque motors.
"Market growth is driven by increased penetration of new applications in industry, and by the replacement of gear motors and hydraulic systems in industrial machinery that demands increased functionality and greater energy-efficiency," indicated Jim Dawson, senior analyst for motors and mechanical power research at IHS.
In 2012, reported Dawson, the market paused for breath; revenues from sales of torque motor modules were flat, due to a slowdown in demand for industrial machinery and a drop in torque motor prices, caused by falling rare-earth element prices. IHS believes market growth will return in 2013, driven by the growing number of applications that will be more than matched by the increasing number of suppliers. "Indeed, manufacturers of conventional servo motors are adding direct-drive torque motors to their range to tap into the growing market and ensure they do not lose customers to other suppliers that can meet the full spectrum of their motor requirements."