Global sales of motion control products recovered in 2013 to reach $12.2 billion, but growth was far too weak to overcome the 2012 market declines, leaving market revenues well below the peak level reached in 2011, according to the latest IHS study on the market for motion controls. Strong growth is expected to return to the market in 2014, propelling market revenues to a new record high by the end of the year.

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The motion control market reached a record level of $13.2 billion in 2011 following two years of market growth in excess of 20 percent. In 2012, the motion-control market suffered from the poor economic situation in the Eurozone, a weak semiconductor market in Japan, and the fallout from overproduction in China, the report says. Market revenues declined in all three of these regions, and the global motion-control market decreased by 8.3 percent.

IHS, Motion ControlConversely, the American market provided a bright spot for motion controls, growing over 5 percent in 2012.

When finalized, the results for 2013 are expected to reveal another year of subdued growth. Stable industries like packaging, materials handling, and food, beverage, and tobacco continue to propel growth in machinery production and correspondingly, the motion-control market.

However, motion-control sales have been constrained in 2013 by the market’s dependence on volatile industries like semiconductor, machine tool, and robotics, which are known for their cyclic growth patterns.

The outlook for 2014 is more optimistic. In the Eurozone, GDP growth is expected to accelerate and renewed confidence should spur investment in machinery upgrades, leading to an increase in motion control sales, the reports says.