Precision gearboxes and geared motor shipments were 69% higher in 2011 than in 2009 because of increased manufacturing output in 2010 and 2011. IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., projects further growth in the market for precision gearboxes and geared motors, but expects precision geared product sales to slow through 2016.
Demand for precision gearboxes surged as machine tool and industrial robot sales exceeded expectations in 2010 and 2011. Pent-up demand for machine tools and investment in industrial robots for new automobile production lines following the global recession were major driver behind the sharp increase in precision gearbox sales. Although precision planetary gearboxes sales accounted for the majority of the 69% increase in shipments from 2009 to 2011, sales of precision geared motors and right angle gearboxes also recovered to pre-recession levels due to the overall increased manufacturing output in the North American and Asia Pacific markets which drove demand for advanced materials handling, packaging and food, beverage and tobacco machinery.
“There are two reasons behind the strong growth in sales of precision gearboxes and geared motors,” says Bryan Turnbough, an analyst with IHS, “one being that demand for precision geared products continues to be more niche than standard industrial geared products, which allows for greater volatility in the precision geared products market; the other being that the standard geared products are continuing to be replaced with precision geared products in greater numbers due to growing demand for higher torque densities and precision.”
Market revenues for precision geared products are projected to grow on average 6.7% a year from 2011 to 2016. With machine tool and industrial robot sales slowing and the lingering weakness in the global economy, sales of precision geared products are expected to slow from 2012 to 2016. Overcapacity resulting from the rapid increase in investments in new production facilities amid slow economic growth is also expected to factor in the slowdown of precision geared product sales.
“After two years of very high demand for precision geared products used in machine tools and industrial robots, the cyclical nature of the machine tool and robotics industry can be expected to have the most profound impact on the market for precision geared products,” says Turnbough. The markets for precision geared products sold into the machine tools and robotics are forecast to be the slowest growing markets with respective revenue compound annual growth rates of 5.9% and 3.2% from 2011 to 2016 according to the IMS Research report, World Market for Precision Gearboxes and Geared Motors.
Slower growth in sales of precision geared products through 2016 does not mean the market for precision geared products does not have any long-term potential for further growth. IMS Research expects the sales growth of precision geared products to accelerate once industrial demand catches up to production capacity. Precision geared product suppliers are also proactively developing products for use in other industries such as chemicals, and power and energy, and this is likely to promote additional growth for sales of precision gearboxes and geared motors over the next five years and possibly over the next decade.