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Tim Dawson Administrator
Senior Research Director – UK
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Tim has over 20 years’ experience in technology market intelligence with expertise across a broad range of industrial automation technologies and industries. Tim is now Senior Research Director and Principal Analyst for the Interact Analysis Industrial Technology team, using his considerable experience to develop best-in-class research for the manufacturing sector. 

Our recent study on the motion control market shows that, despite a small decline in 2019 of 3.8%, the market will grow strongly to exceed $15bn by 2023. The report splits the motion control market in myriad ways. Here, we look at some interesting geographical trends. First, let’s examine some of the headline figures.

The study covers both General Motion Control (GMC) and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) products. In this article, we will concentrate on GMC products (GMC servo motors, GMC servo drives, and GMC position control hardware), excluding all the revenue from CNC applications (mainly accounted for by machine tools).  GMC products account for roughly twice the market share of the CNC application business, and Interact Analysis does not expect this balance to shift considerably over the next 5 years.

A global perspective

Let’s start with the global picture (Fig. 1), where Yaskawa Electric Corporation (a GMC specialist, as opposed to producing both GMC and CNC products) leads the way by a short head from Mitsubishi. So, we have two Japanese companies at the top of the market, occupying nearly 25% of the total market share, but perhaps the more interesting observations can be made further down the list, where over half of the remaining 15 named companies are from Europe (mostly from Germany) with 3 American, 3 Japanese and 1 Chinese company, Inovance, occupying the remaining places.

Figure 1 – World Market Share in 2018 – GMC Products (GMC servo motors, GMC servo drives, and GMC position control hardware)

Inovance recently signalled its intention to make waves globally with its acquisition of elevator component manufacturer BST. It’s clearly got a strong foothold in the GMC market as well. Finally, Rockwell is worth a mention here. Its improved position means it is now level-pegging with Siemens for GMC servo products at least. (Note, Siemens also has a strong CNC servo business, which would make them global market leader for total motion controls, if GMC and CNC products were considered in their entirety).

One thing that unites the top vendors is that none of them could be described as simply a servo drives or servo motors specialist. This underlines a key lesson for motion control manufacturers looking for global growth – to be a leading vendor requires being able to offer a complete portfolio of motion control products. Drives or motors isn’t enough to deliver global leadership: position control hardware and other components are required too.

What about regional markets? Are there any patterns? What conclusions can we draw?

Starting with the Americas, the USA’s Rockwell Automation is very much the leader of the pack, with almost one quarter of the total market share, and Yaskawa coming in with a significant 11% in second place. Notwithstanding Rockwell’s performance, American companies occupy fewer than half of the places in the top 9, suggesting that the Americas are very much open for global business.

How do the Americas compare with APAC? Unsurprisingly, the top 4 places are occupied by Japanese companies, taking up slightly over 50% of the market share for GMC products. An interesting observation we can make here is that although China is by far the biggest market for GMC in APAC, there is only one Chinese company in the top 14… and again it is Inovance, occupying 7th place, with a share of 5%.

Half of the top 14 companies in this table are European, demonstrating again that APAC is fertile ground for market incursion by non-APAC companies, but there are some tough local competitors at the top, and a singular lack of competition from China. Is it time for Chinese companies to follow Inovance’s lead?

Finally, we look at EMEA. Significantly, in this table of the top 18 companies, 11 of them are European, taking 63% of the market share. Yaskawa, which occupies a sizeable segment of the markets in the Americas and in APAC, is a relatively small player in EMEA.

An uneven global picture

Overall, what we have is a very uneven global picture where the GMC product market is concerned. This may suggest there are strong discrepancies in terms of technical requirements or regulations for different geographical markets. Certainly, individual companies have found that dominance in one region doesn’t easily translate to dominance in another.

One example of regionalised trends is the (relatively small) market for servo motors with an integrated drive. Decentralized systems and modular machine designs have a strong requirement for integrated servo motors and drives. And since EMEA is the most established market for decentralized systems and modular machines, the demand for integrated servo motors and drives is strongest here. It is therefore unsurprising that nearly every leading vendor of servo motors with an integrated drive is European. And it follows that these companies may find their successes in Europe are not be so easily replicated elsewhere. Similarly, over 80% of the decentralized drive market is served by European companies.

EMEA was also the largest market for custom servo motors in 2018, and the market is growing fast. By 2023 we expect the APAC market for custom servo motors will have reached a similar size to the EMEA market; and that the custom servo motor market will be worth nearly 30% of total servo motor revenues. Therefore, companies with a strong custom servo motor offering, such as Nidec’s Leroy Somer in France, may expect to have stronger relative performance in both EMEA and APAC than in the Americas by 2023.

Advanced safety technologies (such as Safe Limited Speed) have higher market penetration in North America and Europe, giving a strong advantage in these regions to companies with advanced safety capabilities. And while we expect strong growth in the APAC safety market, overall market penetration of safety technology will remain lower until 2023.

Continue the conversation…

This is just a snapshot of the Interact Analysis report on the motion control market. The actual report provides much deeper insight into the market, together with unparalleled depth of granular data presented in Power BI visualisations (and accompanying Excel spreadsheets), detailing the market performance of a wide range of motion control products, globally, regionally and by industry.

To continue the conversation with Tim Dawson, our lead motion control analyst, please get in touch with him directly: Tim.Dawson@InteractAnalysis.com

Posted by Tim Dawson

Tim has nearly 20 years’ experience in technology market intelligence with expertise across a broad range of industrial automation technologies and industries. Tim is now Research Director and Principal Analyst for the Interact Analysis Industrial Technology team, using his considerable experience to develop best-in-class research for the manufacturing sector. Read More