Machinery Growth Gets Motion Moving

Nov. 23, 2010
With a New Year Comes Renewed Hope for Growth in Motion Control
Unlike many other industrial automation suppliers, which get a higher percentage of their revenues from infrastructure expansion or energy efficiency markets, the motion controls sector relies so heavily on the machinery production market that it was particularly hard hit in 2009 as machinery production fell almost 19% globally. But the motion controls market is expected to begin its recovery in 2010, with revenues increasing about 15% over 2009 levels, according to the latest numbers from IMS Research (

The motion controls market is always dependent on machinery production, with more than 95% of motion controls sold in 2009 going into machinery production, says Jenalea Howell, IMS Research analyst. A pick-up of machinery orders in various industries in late 2009 and early 2010 is expected to lead, therefore, to a gradual recovery for motion controllers.
Motion controls revenues declined 25% in 2009. Although the market is expected to recover to the tune of $10.5 billion this year, it will get back to 2008 revenue levels only by 2012, analysts predict.

The high-tech sectors of semiconductor equipment and electronics and electronics assembly equipment are leading the market out of the downturn. Motion controls in semiconductor equipment are expected to grow 35% in 2010. That said, that same market sector dropped by more than 40% in 2009, although it could see a return to 2008 levels as early as 2011, Howell notes. "But the semiconductor industry is so cyclical, so it's not expected to keep that high growth rate," she adds.

Equipment manufacturers—including packaging equipment—also see significant growth from the food and beverage, and medical industries. Packaging equipment is expected to constitute one of the fastest growing vertical markets for motion controls through 2014.

Geographically speaking, it's the Asia-Pacific region that offers the largest opportunity for motion controls growth, driven by economic growth in China. In fact, China was able to maintain machinery production growth in 2009 while almost every other country saw steep declines. And that growth is expected to near 20% in 2010, affecting the motion controls industry there in kind.