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Alternative technologies threaten future of industrial hydraulics warns Frost & Sullivan

28 June 2011

The industrial hydraulic equipment market is mature. Electromechanical alternatives, such as electric drives are replacing hydraulics in industrial applications, as they are more efficient, cheaper and available at shorter lead times. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that the impact of recession was severe on the European hydraulic equipment market for industrial applications with revenues dropping by 31.8 per cent in 2009, as a result of low investments in major end-user segments.

Despite manufacturers investing heavily in improving the reliability and performance of hydraulic equipment, revenues in this market were mainly due to retrofits rather than new installations in 2010.

“Manufacturers have been integrating electronic controls with hydraulic equipment for increased accuracy and efficiency,” says Frost & Sullivan's Sivakumar Narayanaswamy. “These improvements have played a significant role in sustaining the demand for hydraulic equipment.”

To a certain extent, the integration of electronics into hydraulic systems has helped the hydraulic equipment market sustain revenues. However, as rapid technological developments in the various fields of alternative motion control continue, it is widely accepted that many hydraulic equipment applications may be replaced by more effective methods in the future.

Hydraulic equipment has a large installed base, which will have to be replaced or repaired within a specific time frame. The major factor sustaining the replacement market has been leakage related issues caused by ageing and corrosion in hydraulic cylinders and accessories. Even during the economic slowdown, many end users postponed new installations and invested instead in repairs and replacements.

“The use of hydraulic systems in mechanised processes is being threatened by the increased use of electrically-operated drives and motors that offer accurate performance and re-programmable digital control and settings, except in high pressure applications,” Narayanaswamy continues. “Electrically-operated equipment is able to meet customer demands for greater levels of accuracy and efficiency from automation apparatus.”

The new report -
European Hydraulic Equipment Markets for Industrial Applications - is part of the Mechanical Power Transmission Growth Partnership Service programme, which also includes research in the following markets:  European Low Voltage AC IHP Motors Market, European Medium Voltage AC IHP Motors Market, Strategic Analysis of the European Hydraulic Cylinders Market and, Strategic Analysis of the European Fractional Horsepower (FHP) Motors Market.  

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