The worldwide market for high power AC drives exceeded $3.2 billion in 2004, and is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 8.9 percent over the next five years, rising to $5 billion, according to recent research from ARC Advisory Group Inc., Dedham, Mass.
Escalating energy costs in recent years have forced manufacturers to focus on energy conservation, spurring the use of high power AC drives, says the study, titled ‘High Power AC Drive Worldwide Outlook.” This has been true particularly in energy intensive industries such as cement, chemicals, and metals and mining, according to ARC. “With energy costs increasing and drive prices falling, the payback period is becoming shorter, helping users to justify capital expenditures in AC drives,” observes Himanshu Shah, an ARC senior analyst, and co-author of the study.
ARC expects that several factors will contribute to robust growth in the high power AC drive market going forward. These include manufacturer energy saving and reliability initiatives, incorporation of more-user-friendly features and new solution-based drive systems. New applications such as drives for hybrid-powered automobiles will also contribute.
Positive economic developments in emerging markets such as Asia are also contributing to market growth, ARC says. As developing countries such as China and India continue to invest heavily in basic infrastructure-related industries such as cement, electric power, metals and mining, and oil and gas, high power AC drive use in these regions is expected to remain strong.