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IMS analyst James Dawson has calmed fears that manufacturers of linear motion components, such as ball screws and linear guides, may have to mothball production lines or even close whole factories.

‘We will undoubtedly see a slowing in demand for linear motion components, as companies postpone and even cancel investment in machinery due to the downturn in the world economy and the difficulties in raising finance.

‘However, the majority of manufacturers have been quite shrewd in where they have built additional factory capacity.

‘We have seen companies open new factories in regions of the highest growth, such as Asia Pacific and China.

‘Demand for ball screws and linear guides in these emerging markets will continue to remain robust even through the downturn; when the global economy recovers they will be in place to take advantage of the recovering demand for linear motion products from machine builders.

Indeed, the market is expected to remain relatively healthy worldwide, as a result of replacement trends and increased levels of factory automation.

‘However, don’t expect to see in the next two or three years the double-digit annual growth the linear motion industry has recently enjoyed.’

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