Thanks to capital expenditures in both the semiconductor and packaging industries, combined with growth in Asia, the general motion control (GMC) outlook is fairly rosy, according to the General Motion Control Worldwide Outlook, a new study from ARC Advisory Group, Dedham, Mass. The globally expanding GMC market is being fueled by greater capabilities and regional expansion, according to the analysts. The worldwide market for GMC systems is forecast to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of roughly 7% over the next five years, to reach $7.8 billion by 2011.

The market for GMC systems is being driven by new growth taking place in the developing regions of Asia. An expansion, driven in part by a shift of the semiconductor industry, has occurred from industrialized high wage economies to areas where production costs are cheaper. In addition, new technologies have made older machines obsolete as new form factors have presented a clear incentive to upgrade, according to the study. The semiconductor industry showed a capital expenditure growth rate of more than 11%, and GMC systems are a core element in the machinery used to produce semiconductor components. GMC systems sold in the semiconductor market are typically equipped with higher precision and greater dynamic performance than in other industries. Many applications in this sector also require custom solutions.

The role of individual packaging machines is also expanding, due to requirements of flexible machinery that is adaptable to a wider range of manufactured products. Packaging machinery continues to experience the convergence of robotics, general motion control technology, and vision integrated with machinery.

Strategic issues are also discussed in the new outlook. According to industry analysts, growth in the GMC market is due to the sustained purchase of new capital equipment in manufacturing. The report also discusses the use of digital packaging lines in food and beverage industries, modularization of motion control components, expansion into new regions by high GMC-use industries, mergers, acquisitions, and alliances, mechatronic technology, the importance of software and service, and the application of lean principles to improve business performance. For more information, visit arcweb. com/res/gmc.