The European market for repairing and refabricating electric drives represents about a third of the revenues generated by sales of new drives to end-users, according to a new study. The market analyst Frost & Sullivan says that the market was worth just under €600m in 2011, and projects that it will exceed €940m by 2018.
It adds that the shift from traditional servicing methods to predictive and preventive maintenance techniques is allowing service providers to take measures to avert malfunctions or minimise their effects and downtime. These technologies are being made available at a reasonable price, attracting end-users.
“The implementation of more complex manufacturing processes, together with the increasing focus on improving plant profitability and reducing downtime, are expected to continue steering the European drives services market,” says Frost & Sullivan research analyst, Ramasubramanian Natarajan. “The energy-saving potential of electric drives increases with regular corrective and predictive maintenance and ensures reduced downtime and increased profitability.”
The Repairs and Refabrication Market for Electric Drives report covers AC, DC and servo drives. It does not include motors, or drives integrated with motors.
According to F&S, repairs and maintenance needs accounted for about 40% of the total servicing demands in 2011. Customised servicing packages and rising customer awareness of the potential benefits of regular servicing, combined with technological advances in repair and refabrication procedures and more competitive price levels, should all help to increase the demand for drives services in the future.
It is also likely that the demand for value-added services – such as technical consulting and total drives management – will grow in the long term.
On the other hand, the fragmented nature of the drives repairs and refabrication industry limits its pace of growth. Neither manufacturers nor independent providers of drives services hold substantial customer bases or have effective supply chain management. The looming shortage of skilled labour willing to work on field- and site-related applications could also reduce the ability to meet servicing demands.
In addition, F&S points out, the cost gap between servicing older drive systems and purchasing new advanced models is also decreasing year-on-year. End-users may therefore opt to replace their older drives with new ones at little extra cost, rather than repairing the old equipment.
The report suggests that an effective supply chain management and collaborative approach between large drives manufacturers and service providers operating in local niche markets will also work to their mutual benefit. The shift towards advanced technologies for servicing and the falling costs of these technologies may help increase their use and bolster future market growth.
“Increased awareness of the potential benefits of servicing – such as reduced downtime and improved and regularised efficiency levels – has helped the adoption of advanced maintenance technologies across varied applications,” Ramasubramanian concludes. “For instance, the trend towards electric vehicle manufacturing is likely to attract large investments in drives servicing, particularly in the automotive sector.”