Energy cost savings drive AC drive market growth

By Plant Engineering Staff January 6, 2006

Strong global economic growth and consumer demand contributed to robust growth of the high power AC drive market. Manufacturing companies in a variety of industries invested heavily to create additional manufacturing capacity and in capital equipment to upgrade existing plants. The worldwide market for high power AC drives exceeded $3.2 billion in 2004 and it is expected to grow at 8.9% over the next five years, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study, “High Power AC Drive Worldwide Outlook.” ( )

The escalating energy costs experienced in recent years has forced manufacturers to focus on energy conservation measures. Increased energy costs have spurred the use of high power AC drives particularly in energy intensive industries such as cement, chemical, and metals & mining. “With energy costs increasing and drive prices falling, the payback period is becoming shorter, helping users to justify capital expenditures on AC drives,” according to Senior Analyst Himanshu Shah, co-author of the study.

Several factors are expected to contribute to robust growth of the high power AC drive market including 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 to market growth.