N.A. Proximity Sensor Market Being Won by German Vendors

Sep 12, 2007

Natick, Mass.—The North American market for proximity sensors—including capacitive, inductive, magnetic, magnetic actuated, photoelectric and ultrasonic products—totaled $718.8 million in 2006 (exclusive of another $38.4 million in photointerrupter sensors), according to a new market study by Venture Development Corporation.

The market for these products has increased at a moderate single-digit average annual growth rate over the past 15 years. However, during the same period, and particularly during the past three years, two German vendors, Hans Turck and IFM Electronic—through their U.S. subsidiaries Turck and IFM Efector—have each achieved approximately double the annual market growth rate, and are now the two leading suppliers in the market.

Other leading suppliers in the market with shares above 5.5% in 2006 included:

By far the largest product segments of the proximity sensor market are inductive and photoelectric sensors. Inductive products are the principal proximity sensors for both Turck and IFM, and these have accounted for most of the overall market gains for both firms. Hans Turck is headquartered in Mulheim, Germany, and has operated in the U.S. since 1971. Its proximity sensors are produced in the U.S, Germany, Switzerland, and China, as well as in its newest manufacturing facility built in Saltillo, Mexico in 2004. IFM Electronic was founded in 1969 and is headquartered in Essen, Germany. Nearly all of IFM Efector’s proximity and photoelectric sensors are manufactured by its parent company in Germany.

VDC’s study forecasts a North American market growth rate of 4.3% for these proximity sensors over the next 5 years.