Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Globalization fuels AC drives market growth, study finds

February 22, 2013
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

The medium voltage AC variable frequency drive (VFD) market experienced robust growth in 2011 after a relatively flat market during the previous three years, according to a new report from ARC Advisory Group.

The report found, however, this was not a bad scenario compared to other automation products, because the medium voltage AC drives market did not experience a high degree of volatility during the past recession.  The medium voltage VFD market is expected to experience high growth during the forecast period.

The medium voltage AC drives market benefited from capital investments for infrastructures, energy savings, oil & gas, and power generation.  “Growth in this VFD market is expected to continue beyond 2013 with strong market demand for power infrastructure and improving industrial efficiency and productivity.  However, strong counter currents are flowing due to the continuing uncertainty caused by the sovereign debt crisis in a number of industrialized countries, as well as specific concerns about some of the economies in southern Europe and the recent slowdown in China,“ according to Senior Analyst Himanshu Shah, the principal author of ARC’s “Medium Voltage AC Drives Global Market Research Study.”

Globalization is increasing the use of advanced automation and energy saving equipment worldwide.  Consequently, the use of medium voltage variable frequency drives will continue to increase in industries ranging from energy and infrastructure to mining & metals.  Energy suppliers are not expected to keep up with demand, further increasing the use of medium voltage AC drives.  Emerging markets will remain significant contributors of the medium voltage variable frequency AC drives market growth as they build up their electrical power generation capacity and expand industrial production.  Demand for commodities fueled by economic growth of emerging countries and the need to become more globally competitive in product quality is also expected to increase demand for medium voltage variable frequency AC drives.


Energy can be the largest component of industrial cost structures.  Despite fluctuations in energy prices, costs are still trending long-term toward higher levels, and the days of inexpensive energy are long gone.  Industries have always strived for energy efficiency, but today it has become an imperative.  Energy management practices must also be realigned for the current climate of volatile energy supply.  The use of medium voltage VFDs is a critical tool in achieving energy savings goals.  The marketplace continuously seeking energy efficiency for industrial and commercial operations, efficiency mandates due to the scarcity and price volatility of energy, along with increasing demands for sustainable manufacturing, bode well for medium voltage AC drives.

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