Low voltage AC motors market set to benefit from legislation changes

18 January 2011

IMS Research has forecast that, by 2014 the market for low voltage integral horsepower AC motors will more than double in revenues compared to 2009, when the global market was estimated to have contracted by over 20%.

Unit shipments are expected to grow steadily at double-digit rates, reaching 51.6 million units at that time. This surge will be driven by regional legislation mandating sales of higher efficiency, more expensive motors.

Analyst Mark Meza says that there has been a marked shift in the low voltage AC industry in the past 10 years. He said: “We are starting to see how government directives for improved motor efficiencies have resulted in leveling the playing field for motor manufacturers. A supplier’s proprietary technical innovation for efficiency improvements has been supplanted by government directives, requiring all motor manufacturers to meet the same efficiency requirements. While this might seem like it diminishes a manufacturer’s competitive advantage in the motor marketplace, all industries will benefit from improved motor efficiency leading to a significant reduction in energy costs, which is the prime objective of the legislation.”

With a major transition to IE3 Premium Efficiency having already occurred at the end of 2010, the US and Canada are currently leading the way in the world in motor efficiency standards. As a result, motors sold in North America will be more expensive than in the past. IE3 efficiency class motors have average selling prices that are more than double those of IE1 Standard Efficiency motors. IMS Research estimates that market revenues for IE3 motors will skyrocket 914% in 2011 and the market is expected to be dominated by American motor manufacturers until at least 2015. At this time, the EU states will begin their respective transitions to IE3, with manufacturers such as ABB and Siemens leading the charge in this region.

However, the IE2 High Efficiency market segment is still expected to command the lion’s share of revenues through 2017 and beyond. Meza said: “The impact of China’s influence in the motor market should not be underestimated.” China is required to transition to sales of IE2 motors in July of this year, while concurrently global production of IE1 motors is expected to shift heavily in favor of Asian manufacturers. “By 2014, the IE2 market is expected to account for 57% of global low voltage AC motor revenues, with the large majority of that sum being accounted for by China.” In addition, China is expected to become the leading producer and consumer of squirrel-cage permanent magnet motors. The country has significant short and medium term advantages in the rare earth mineral market, and has been the first to legislate rebates for using these types of low voltage AC motors.

The April issue of Control Engineering Europe will include an article looking at the changing low-voltage motor regulations in Europe. If you are interested in commenting on this subject, please contact the editor. Suzanne.gill@imlgroup.co.uk

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