MRO Magazine

North American motion control market rebounds

Dedham, Mass. -- The North American general motion control (GMC) market shrunk significantly during 2001 and 2002 d...


September 15, 2004
By MRO Magazine


Dedham, Mass. — The North American general motion control (GMC) market shrunk significantly during 2001 and 2002 due to the weak economy and a low level of capital investments across most industries. The market, however, is rebounding and will experience healthy growth with a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.2% over the next five years.

As a result, the North American market will cross the $1.0 billion mark, according to a new ARC Advisory Group market study, <I>General Motion Control Outlook for North America, Market Analysis & Forecast Through 2008.</>

Manufacturing in a variety of industries has become more challenging due to greater product variations, faster production speeds, and increased quality requirements at every stage of the production process, the study notes. "GMC systems present one of the key technologies capable of meeting these challenges which manufacturers face," according to senior analyst Himanshu Shah (, the principal author of the study.

Manufacturers employing discrete production processes are facing intense pressure to improve the financial bottom line. An adoption of GMC equipment, therefore, will continue to increase as motion control solutions offer greater flexibility, higher performance, and lower cycle times across a wide range of industries.


New standards in manufacturing automation for interfaces, programming languages, physical connections, and protocols help lower the cost of machinery, and, therefore, end users prefer to use newer controls that employ these standards. Some OEM machine builders, however, adopt automation solutions that optimize application-form-factor and deviate from established standards in order to increase performance, reduce cost, or shorten time-to-market. Nowhere is this more evident than in the motion control arena.

The GMC market is vibrant with new battles brewing on networks, increased standard programming language options, and varied architectures. The motion network battle continues as suppliers make significant investments in the development of dissimilar motion control networks.

<B>Feisty battle on horizon</B>

The use of Ethernet for motion control networking is one of the most active areas suppliers are addressing due to the rising demand from end users and OEMs. Although many of these protocols are open, they are different and only a limited number of suppliers participate with each of them. With the Profibus and SERCOS organizations announcing upcoming Ethernet-based solutions, the battle for the standard motion control network is expected to get feisty.

The debate between centralized and distributed architectures for motion control solutions also continues. The distributed architecture is growing at a rapid pace due to high processing power at a lower cost. This market study forecasts how this battle will play out during the forecast period.

<B>Market growth factors</B>

According to ARC’s research, a number of factors will drive the growth in the GMC market. Food & beverage, semiconductor, and plastic & rubber industries, which are some of the major users of GMC equipment, are expected to increase capital investments. This report also identifies other growth industries that North American GMC suppliers should target.

Also addressed are factors that influence the purchasing decisions of users in North America as well as the dynamics of the supplier landscape in the North American region.

Additional information on this study can be found at, by calling 781-471-1000 or e-mailing