According to a new ARC Advisory Group study, the worldwide market for servo drives is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6 per cent over the next five years. The market was $3.07million in 2005 and is forecast to be over $3839million in 2010.
Servo drives are becoming a more integral part of overall machine automation. Additionally, the availability of very high power servo drives will replace many actuation alternatives in heavy machinery to provide improved performance. Research Director Sal Spada, the principal author of ARC's Servo Drive Worldwide Outlook, comments: "These high-power servo drives bring down the overall cost of machines, provide precise control, reduce operating costs, and enable repeatable operations. Combining high power servo drives with integrated machine safeguarding solutions will enable many machine builders to lower the complexity of machine automation."
Increasing local consumer demand in developing countries for goods similar to those used in developed countries has increased the demand for high-performance servo-driven machinery. Moreover, manufacturing centres in a wide range of industries are shifting to developing economies to take advantage of the lower costs plus the domestic demand. Many OEM machine builders are also moving closer to these emerging economies. These developing markets will provide high growth for servo drive equipment which will enable manufacturers to preserve high quality and consistency of their products.
Servo drive-based systems are now tightly aligned with lean initiatives, as servo drive-based machinery is equated with greater reliability in production machinery. This is particularly true as servo drive suppliers continue to develop easier-to-maintain and easier-to-diagnose systems for production equipment. The servo drive is now an important element of a reliability-centred manufacturing strategy. Large manufacturers are moving toward all-electric manufacturing systems, so the hydraulic and pneumatic systems that have dominated machinery applications are now steadily being replaced by all-electric servo drives.
According to ARC, the servo drive market will continue to expand on a worldwide scale during the next five years, as there will be continued infusion of capital for automation in many industries and regions driven by globalisation in the automotive, food and beverage, and high-tech electronics. Globalisation is increasingly causing manufacturers to allocate investments in automation in order to drive down costs and raise productivity by increasing agility and flexibility in their manufacturing operations. Servo drives are at the core of every piece of automated equipment that plays a key role in achieving higher agility and flexibility in operations. In many ways, the growth of manufacturing in the Asian sector has driven the growth of the servo drive market, whereas in more mature manufacturing regions in North America and Japan, the growth is a function of increasing manufacturers' competitive advantage through agility.