Global sales of motion control products recovered in 2013 to reach $12.2 billion, but growth was far too weak to overcome the 2012 market declines, leaving market revenues well below the peak level reached in 2011. According to the latest IHS study on the market for motion controls, strong growth is forecast to return to the market in 2014, propelling market revenues to a new record high by the end of the year.
The motion control market reached a record level of $13.2 billion in 2011 following two years of market growth in excess of 20 percent. In 2012, the motion-control market suffered from the poor economic situation in the Eurozone, a weak semiconductor market in Japan, and the fallout from overproduction in China. Market revenues declined in all three of these regions, and the global motion-control market decreased by 8.3 percent. Conversely, the American market provided a bright spot for motion controls, growing over 5 percent in 2012.
When finalized, the results for 2013 are expected to reveal another year of subdued growth. Stable industries like packaging, materials handling, and food, beverage and tobacco continue to propel growth in machinery production and correspondingly, the motion-control market. However, motion-control sales have been constrained in 2013 by the market’s dependence on volatile industries like semiconductor, machine tool, and robotics, which are known for their cyclic growth patterns. Large declines in these industries in 2009 contributed significantly to the severe decline in the motion-control market that year, and high growth in these industries in 2010 and 2011 boosted the post-recession recovery of the motion-control market.
In 2013, machinery production declined at the global level for the semiconductor and robotics industries and grew very little in the machine tool industry, according to the latest research from IHS on machinery production. Combined, these three industries account for approximately fifty percent of revenues in the motion-control market, while the more stable industries like packaging, materials handling, and food and beverage account for only sixteen percent of market revenues. Still, the motion-control market is estimated to have grown between 1.8 percent in 2013, as small declines in the machine tools and semiconductor machinery sectors were offset by growth in the rest of the motion-control market.
The outlook for 2014 is more optimistic. In the Eurozone, GDP growth is expected to accelerate and renewed confidence should spur investment in machinery upgrades, leading to an increase in motion control sales. In the Americas, recovery of the semiconductor machinery market will boost growth of motion control revenues in 2014, while in Asia, the machine tool market is forecast to recover. Globally, the motion-control market is forecast to grow by over 8 percent to reach $13.3 billion in 2014, exceeding the 2011 record value by 0.6 percent, as illustrated in the figure.