Low power drives market to grow

The worldwide market for low power (LP) AC drives and services will grow from slightly over $3.8 billion in 1999 to $4.8 billion by the end of 2004, according to a new study by the ARC Advisory Group.

Declining prices in the worldwide low power AC drive business, says the report, continues to spur interest in new applications but the lower costs allow users to address issues such as energy conservation within their plants through greater use of AC drives. Lower capital costs coupled with energy savings are now enabling a total return on investment of one to five years. The importance of energy conservation is increasing with the uncertainty in natural resource costs coupled with the privatisation and deregulation of the utilities.

ABB Automation which, according to the ARC report, is the largest drive manufacturer and has the leading position in the LPAC drive marketplace. Its strength is providing drives and systems for its traditional pulp and paper market along with other industries such as building automation, chemicals, mining, and the utilities.

In a very close second position is Rockwell Automation with the combined product lines of Allen Bradley and Reliance Electric, which demonstrates an emphasis on high volume, lower-power drive products.

Rockwell is strong in many industries such as building automation, automotive, machinery, food and beverage, plastics and rubber. Siemens Automation and Drives maintains its hold on the third position. This business unit remains the largest contributor to Siemens corporate earnings by increasing shipments globally. Yaskawa and Mitsubishi are in the fourth and fifth slots, while GE-Fuji holds sixth position in the LP drives league.

ARC Advisory Group www.arcweb.com