According to a recent IMS Research report "The World Market for Linear Motion Products -2010 Edition" the combined ball screw and linear guide markets were estimated to be worth $3.8 billion, nearly 45 percent of which came from the large, established sectors making machine tools and semiconductor production equipment. However, these established markets for linear motion components have fluctuated considerably in recent years. To gain access to stable and high growth revenues, manufacturers of ball screw and linear guide products are seeking out new markets. They are increasingly developing products suitable for the industry sectors that will enjoy stable growth, such as those that produce equipment for pharmaceutical production, agriculture, and food & drink processing. Government-backed infrastructure projects, such as in power generation & distribution and mass transportation, will provide stable revenues, even during recession.
Companies are also identifying markets offering high initial growth with sustained long term revenues, in emerging regional markets and markets for new technologies, such as production machinery for lithium-ion batteries and photovoltaic panels. James Dawson, the author of the recently published report, believes that competition within these markets will be fierce. He comments ‘Many companies are keen to gain a foothold in them, to make up for business lost in the recent downturn and to provide a stable revenue base in future downturns.'