New analysis from Frost & Sullivan ( http://www.industrailautomation.frost.com), European Belts and Chain Drives in the Industrial Automation Sector, finds that the belts and chain drives markets in Europe earned revenues of $1058.6 million in 2006 and estimates this to reach $1100.5 in 2013.
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"The belt and chain drives market in the industrial automation sector in Europe is being driven primarily by the end users' need for increased accuracy in motion control," Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Satheesh Natarajan. "In addition, retrofitting of existing units and inadequate maintenance is likely to sustain after sales market."
End users are looking at ways to increase their manufacturing efficiency and productivity while maintaining low costs and are thus switching to synchronous belt drives. These belt drives allow better motion control and also increase productivity by synchronising different plant functions. The concept is popular in processing plants where the final product is a result of several progressive steps. A good example is the mixing of chemicals for pesticides.
In the context of retrofitting, as most of the end users do not follow the recommended operation and maintenance instructions that are provided by manufacturers, the life of belt and chain drives is reduced. Failure to keep a proper maintenance schedule is thus resulting in greater wear on the belt and chain drives. Accordingly, an increase in unit shipment and revenues is expected.
While the above trends augur well, the absence of advanced technology is affecting the market. With the market being mature, there is little potential for expansion and manufacturers are finding it difficult to increase their market share.
"Competing for the existing customer base offers the only possibility for growth, apart from the few opportunities to focus on sophisticated technology such as direct drives," explains Natarajan. "However, manufacturers are experiencing challenges in penetrating and establishing themselves in these niche markets."
The reduction in the price of direct drives is making the market more competitive for belt and chain drives. Moreover, the manufacturers of variable-speed drives are more affected by this restraint than those producing V-belt and flat belt drives.
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