Packaging machinery is one of the highest growth markets for automation products in Europe, according to a new report from IMS Research. The report analyzed 11 major machinery markets and found that not only is packaging machinery one of the largest machinery markets for automation products — second only to machine tools — but it’s also one of the most dramatic.

“Packaging machinery is a particularly attractive market for suppliers of motors and drives, which account for around one quarter of the automation content of a typical packaging machine,” says senior analyst Simon Harris. “These are usually servos, which are increasingly being used instead of mechanical drive systems to improve machine flexibility.” IMS Research estimates the total European market for automation products used in packaging machinery was worth around 1.5 billion euros in 2003.

Gears on demand

Engineers at Arrow Gear Co., Downers Grove, Ill., have developed a design and manufacturing process that turns out customized ground tooth spiral bevel gears in a matter of days.

The On-Demand Program includes 57 combinations of ground tooth spiral bevel gears with diameters to 16 in. and quality levels to Q13. In addition, the parts are carburized and hardened, as opposed to through hardening, which is common for most stock gears. Compared with true custom gears, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars to design, develop, and produce, the On-Demand gear line offers substantial cost savings.