Medium Voltage Motor Control Industry Slowly Recovers

The global market for medium voltage motor control centers was worth more than $140 million in 2010, with more than 5,300 vertical sectio...
January 20, 2012—

The global market for medium voltage motor control centers was worth more than $140 million in 2010, with more than 5,300 vertical sections or "columns" shipped during the year. Sales of these products declined heavily in 2009 as a result of the global recession, and the market recovery over the last two years has been painfully slow. The U.S. market comprised more than 60 percent of the global market during the year, while Canada accounted for nearly 20 percent of total revenues. The markets in EMEA and in Asia Pacific were much smaller, together comprising only 13% of total market revenues in 2010. These are some of the latest findings from the 2011 Medium Voltage MCCs & Soft Starters study published by IMS Research.

The main reason for the market's concentration in North America stems from the fact that end-users have a different approach to systems engineering in this region than in markets outside North America. In the United States, for example, much of the engineering expertise at many OEMs and end-users continues to be downsized, and companies increasingly rely on large industrial automation suppliers such as ABB, Eaton, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric and Siemens. These suppliers represent one-stop-shops that offer complete automation solutions, and by selling true "motor control centers" take the responsibility for the associated system engineering. In other markets, the most common approach to starting and stopping medium voltage motors is to use vacuum breaker based medium voltage switchgear, normally designed and installed by a panel builder, an engineering house or a systems integrator.

Pumping applications account for the majority of the global medium voltage motor control centers market. From an industry perspective, this market is heavily concentrated in the oil & gas and mining sectors. These industries accounted for more than half of total revenues in 2010 with a value of nearly $75 million. Other notable industries in this market included chemicals, commercial HVAC, power generation, pulp & paper and water & wastewater. Together, these sectors contributed another 26 percent of market revenues during the year. As in the medium voltage soft starters market, the highest growth forecasts are projected for the oil & gas and mining segments of this market from 2010 to 2015, largely due to high commodity prices that are expected to persist during this timeframe.

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