Frost & Sullivan says CNC market to boom | Automation.com

Frost & Sullivan says CNC market to boom

June 12, 2012 - The global economic crisis in 2009 severely affected the European computerized numerical control (CNC) machine tools market, with many end users radically reducing their spending. While recovery in Europe was slower than in other regions, the end of 2010 boded well for further market development.

 New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Analysis of the European Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) Machine Tools Market, finds that the market earned revenues of €8.6 billion in 2010 and estimates this to reach €17.6 billion in 2015. The research covers: CNC metal cutting machine tools and CNC metal forming machine tools.

 CNC machines enable rapid manufacturing of different types of products. These machines play a vital role in helping companies deliver products to the market on time.

 “While human beings are more flexible and trainable than machines, a CNC machine can be totally reprogrammed within a few hours to produce a completely different product,” notes Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Katarzyna Owczarczyk. “This can be done very quickly, so it is possible to have a different product within the shortest time possible and with the same accuracy.”

 Moreover, once a programme is verified and executed for single production run, it can be used repeatedly, whenever required. It is possible to refer back to archived programmes or install new ones, when a different work piece is needed. CNC machine tools also enable faster change-over. They can be setup and operated with great ease. 

 “This confers CNC machines with a significant advantage over other machines; they can quickly shift to producing a completely different product without the installation of many new parts or a major overhaul of key components,” remarks Owczarczyk. “Products can be manufactured in a short time, obviating the need to maintain a large inventory.”

 These features are in synch with current Just-In-Time requirements for product manufacturing and ensure that CNC machines can keep pace with rapidly changing customer demand.

 While these are the positives, a key challenge for manufacturers has been the emergence of a second-hand CNC machine tools market. As a result of the continual replacement of existing equipment with new, improved products, old CNC tooling machines have become available to the second-hand market. End-users who may not have specialised needs, those seeking to purchase their first basic CNC machines and those with limited budgets may prefer to acquire such lower-cost, second-hand equipment.

 “There are several companies that actually recondition and sell used CNC machines; these machines work just as well as the brand new versions but, obviously, cost considerably less,” concludes Owczarczyk. “In some European countries, the second- and market is threatening to undermine the sale of new offerings.”

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