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Global drives sales surge by 15% to $7.6bn

15 November, 2007

The global market for low-voltage AC and DC drives experienced unprecedented growth during 2006, according to a new report. High energy prices, combined with wider awareness of the energy-saving benefits of VSDs, contributed to a 15% expansion compared to 2005, says the market analyst, IMS Research.

The global drives market totalled more than $7.6bn last year, and IMS expects it to keep growing by an average of 9% per year in terms of revenues over the next few years, to surpass $11.2bn by 2011.

The fastest-growing regional market is Asia-Pacific, which is being driven by the explosive growth in the Chinese and Indian economies. IMS predicts that sales in this region will overtake the Americas this year, and forecasts that revenues will continue to expand by more than 10% per year over the coming five years.

The EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) market also experienced robust growth during 2006, due largely to high demand for drives from the regionís booming heavy industries, IMS reports. The American and Japanese markets also performed well, but grew at a slower pace than the Asia-Pacific or EMEA regions.

End-user sectors that are leading the demand for LV drives include the HVAC, food and beverage, metals processing, textiles, and utilities industries. Together, these represent more than a third of the total LV drives business.

In addition, new areas such as renewable energy are providing opportunities for further growth. "The renewable energy sector is a great prospect for motor drive manufacturers," says IMS research analyst, Alex Chausovsky. "Electricity generation from wind power is growing by 25% per year, requiring some $23bn of new generating equipment, most of which is currently using motor drives.

"Furthermore," he adds, "there are new technologies on the horizon that will attempt to harness the energy in ocean waves and sub-glacial ice flows, and present tremendous opportunities for motor drives manufacturers."