European demand for micro electric drives spurred by rising energy costs

Compact and integrated packages to gain appeal among OEM

Evolving energy legislation, paralleled by the need to regulate energy costs and improve efficiency, is boosting the uptake of micro electric drives. These trends will be reinforced by technological changes and advances in the networking capabilities of micro electric drives.

microswitchNew analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the Micro Electric Drives Market in Europe, finds that the market earned revenues of €396.8 million ($516.8m)  in 2012 and estimates this to reach €489.2 million ($637.1m) in 2016. The research covers AC, DC and servo micro electric drives.

In Europe, motor-driven applications account for almost 65% of energy consumed in manufacturing plants.

“To limit electricity consumption by motors, manufacturers are investing in energy-regulating devices such as variable-frequency drives,” noted Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation & Process Control Research Analyst Raaj Thilak Raveendran. “Moreover, as energy prices spiral and regulations promoting optimal energy usage become stricter, most manufacturers are expected to upgrade their plants with energy-efficient equipment.”

Technological advances in microprocessors and insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) technology have made electric drives more compact and user-friendly. This is encouraging more OEMs to use electric drives in their machines. Evolving semiconductor technology has resulted in electric drives that are capable of withstanding high temperatures, allowing them to be directly mounted onto motors.

“Most micro electric drive manufacturers are now offering OEMs such packaged drive solutions that reduce the use of control cabinet, complex wiring and space,” explained Raveendran. “OEMs are favouring the integrated motor drive concept because it supports lower costs and project planning time.”

However, increasing commoditisation and the availability of cheaper products from Asia threaten market prospects. To offset these challenges, micro electric drive manufacturers in Europe are focusing on product and service differentiation. Enhanced life-cycle support also help in reinforcing and expanding the customer base.

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