Various business opportunities in linear and torque motor markets | Automation.com

Various business opportunities in linear and torque motor markets

By Wilmer Zhou, IHS

Linear and torque motors are important components widely used in automated industrial machinery such as machine tools, electronics and electronic assembly, flat-panel display, semiconductors and robotics. The developments within the linear and torque motors market are varied amongst different countries, industries and even different customers, meaning there are many opportunities for specialized companies diving into this market.   

Is this market concentrated?  

The supply to the market for linear and torque motors in Japan is more consolidated than in any of the other regional markets; the top-ten Japanese companies notably include Yaskawa, Mitsubishi, CKD, GMC Hillstone Co., Fanuc, and NSK. The Japanese market is very difficult for foreign companies to address because Japanese companies tend to build long-term, close relationships with suppliers. Similarly, the supply to the market for linear and torque motors is also concentrated in Korea. Local companies Dongbu Robot, Justek and Robostar hold top positions in the Korean market. 

From an industry viewpoint, the supply to the market for linear and torque motors is concentrated in dedicated industries. For instance, some companies have a particularly strong focus on supplying industry sectors, such as machine tool, flat panel and semiconductor machinery, with linear and torque motor components and systems.

Is this market fragmented?  

The supply to the market for linear and torque motors is more fragmented in emerging markets than mature ones. For instance, the linear and torque motor market is well established in Western European countries such as Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the Benelux countries, but is less so in the fast-growing markets of South East Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. 

The supply to the market for linear and torque motors in China is more fragmented than in other markets. The Chinese market is internationally diverse with various linear and torque motor suppliers and brands from around the world. Local companies have also increased their share of the linear and torque motor market. Shenzhen Han Motor Technology Co and Harbin Tech Full Electric Co are currently the leading Chinese companies in the linear and torque motor market. There is still huge market potential for both local and international suppliers. 

Supply to the EMEA linear and torque motor market is more fragmented than in the American market, which has a growing number of suppliers addressing it. One of the reasons is that there are various suppliers scattered around in different European countries, and many of them have expertise in dedicated industries. 

Is it a components or solution business?

Linear and torque motor products require a high degree of engineering support, which is in part due to the high level of customization required by machine builders, particularly when motors are bought in component form.  As a result, the companies that have technical engineering support, customer know-how and industry knowledge and experience have the advantages to gain market share. 

To maintain their positions in the market, many of the indigenous manufacturers of linear motors focus on service and providing custom and complete solutions for customers’ motion and linear actuation requirements in indigenous markets.  

For instance, companies from Germany, Switzerland, Benelux and Italy have now gained most of the leading shares of the linear and torque motor market in their home markets because they understand more about the industries and their local customers. 

Manufacturers from low-cost regions such as China and Taiwan are becoming active in the EMEA market, mainly offering standard catalogue components, modules and systems. Lacking local engineering support and local knowledge, these companies have tended not to compete in the market for complete actuation solutions in EMEA in recent years. Many of them depend on local distributors and system integrators to help on the solutions.   

However, the Chinese and Taiwanese companies have advantages in their home market – APAC. They are gradually switching from supplying components to complete linear and torque motor systems with the local engineering team. There can be significant changes to a market if a company holding a sizeable market share changes the design of a product from component-based to either modules or systems. Therefore, they can provide larger volumes of standard catalogue products and charge a premium price for engineering design and assembly. 

Conclusion

Overall, there are various business options for linear and torque motor suppliers. They can choose partners or distributors to enter a growing regional market. They can provide specialized products or solutions for dedicated industries. They also can choose to acquire an established brand or be acquired as attractive acquisition targets. Regardless, either the growing markets with fragmented supply or the Japanese and Korean markets with concentrated supply will provide businesses with a boost. 

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