High performance linear motors spur demand

Revenues from sales in linear motors are expected to double and unit sales quadruple between 2001 and 2008, according to a new study from Frost and Sullivan.

In the past, customer uptake of linear motors has been dampened due to their high costs. And low levels of customer awareness have been a major challenge to potential market expansion.

‘However, the advancing use of linear motors in a wide range of applications has raised their profile over the last few years. Moreover, positive feedback from new end-users has enhanced the reputation of linear motors, thereby encouraging the prospect of strong future sales,’ notes Industry Analyst Sean French.

Accordingly, the total market is expected to increase from $57.0 million to $125.0 million by 2008. Unit shipments are forecast to enjoy even stronger growth, soaring from 33,300 to 125,500 units between 2001 and 2008.

The largest contributor to market revenues, in the long term, is expected to be the machine tools segment. By 2008, this sector is expected to surge ahead of the semiconductors sector as the largest market for linear motors, accounting for 24% of revenue shares.

The relatively well-established semiconductors and electronics sectors were the first and second largest application sectors for revenues in the European linear motors market in 2001. While still significant, their revenue shares are likely to fall as emerging application areas experience higher rates of growth.

Germany will remain at the forefront of demand even though its revenue share is likely to decline as other regions grow at a faster rate. Italy, the Benelux countries, and Switzerland are already significant users of linear motors and demonstrate strong growth potential.

Siemens is perched at the number one position in the market with its specialist linear motors division producing technology primarily for the machine tools sector. Anorad follows in second position trailed by Baldor, Aerotech, Etel and Bosch Rexroth.