China suppliers are differentiating their products by enhancing built-in functionality. Meanwhile, the market as a whole is shifting into the realm of sophisticated machine control. The motor controls industry is one of the quickest growing spaces for automation. In 2012, it achieved a $24.3 billion global value: Energy efficient variable speed drives even accounted for 47 percent of the year’s overall motor control sales.
Increasing Demand for Motor Controls
Linear and torque motors are well-known for their uses in automated industrial machinery. As vital components of electronic assemblies, semiconductors and flat-panel displays, they’ve become new tools of opportunity for many market-driving companies.
An HIS Technology report depicts the fast-paced growth of these markets—which is expected to grow more in 2019. While the demand for motor controls has historically been volatile, new market entries have filled the developmental gaps.
China Takes the Global Stage
A major contributing factor to China’s market-leading capabilities is the increased availability of new motor control products. A 2012 market shift began Asia’s ascent to the number-one consumer of motor drives—replacing Europe.
The Chinese market is large, accounting for 27 percent of the world’s motor control sales. Such a large user base has attracted motor control suppliers—furthering China’s role as a global market shaper. Distributor overcapacity, for example, has resulted in the decline of servo drive and AC markets.
Meanwhile, the country’s import demand and foreign investments declined—which impacted the world’s other markets. Interestingly, the demand for linear and torque motors reached new heights in the second quarter of 2013—which was a result of increased Chinese demand and inventory correction.
Diversity as a Driving Factor
Much of China’s success as a global linear and torque motors provider also stems from its fragmented market. It is internationally diverse, hosting a high diversity of linear and torque motor suppliers. The country’s local companies, thus, have increased their linear and torque motor market shares.
Harbin Tech Full Electric Co and Shenzhen Han Motor Technology Co are China’s current leading providers, but smaller providers are expected to have more opportunity soon.
Ongoing Market Investment
As for the future, we’ll likely see a higher degree of Chinese investment in foreign markets. Greenland, Africa and Latin America are expected to be impacted by the country’s economic health. China seeks to invest in these areas to secure market access—benefiting from the energy resources needed to sustain economic growth.
At the same time, the constant increase in motor control sophistication is changing the product types purchased by domestic motor users. Previously, many Chinese buyers prioritized price and quick availability. The new, complex motor control environment—one driven by sophistication—has changed the marketing game.
International suppliers are beginning to release low-cost alternatives to traditional products, hoping to take shares from Chinese motor control providers. While this may stagger the titanic market player, China’s linear and torque motors have become popular in Latin America and Western Europe. For now, China’s number-one spot as a global linear and torque motor provider seems to be secure.