According to April statistics from IMS Research, Austin, Tex., the worldwide market for motion control equipment showed healthy revenue growth in 2007, increasing by 11.9% over 2006 levels. All regions and industry segments exhibited strong growth during 2007, and IMS estimates that worldwide revenues for motion control products were $9.9 billion. The first two quarters of 2008 witnessed continued rapid growth; however, the second half of 2008 and early 2009 saw significant slowdown in many segments. Double-digit growth rates in the motion controls market over the past few years were driven by widespread use of servosystems and position-control hardware in machine tools, as well as semiconductor, robotics, packaging, material handling, food and beverage, and printing machinery.

IMS has identified four industry tiers, each with different economic outlooks for 2009. The first tier — semiconductor, robotics, and electronics — is the hardest hit, with demand for motion control products expected to experience a decline of nearly 20%. The second tier — paper, printing, textile, and woodworking industries — was also hit hard, but declines are expected to be less dramatic, with demand for motion products falling by about 15%. Tier three — packaging, material handling, and rubber and plastics — is predicted to hold up better than tiers one and two, with demand for motion controls falling by between 5% and 10%. Finally, tier four — food, beverage and tobacco, medical and scientific, military, and renewable energy sectors — is expected to fare the best during the economic downturn, with flat or slightly positive growth forecast with regard to motion control products. For more information, visit www.imsresearch.com.