Motion System Design

Low-voltage ac motor revenue on the rise

The market for low-voltage integral horsepower ac motors will more than double its 2009 revenues to $19.4 billion by 2014, say analysts at IMS Research, Austin. The strong revenue growth expected over the next four years will be driven by legislation mandating sales of higher efficiency — and thus more expensive — motors.

During the past 10 years, a big shift has occurred within the low-voltage ac motor industry. According to analyst Mark Meza, “Government directives for improved motor efficiencies have resulted in leveling the playing field for motor manufacturers. A supplier's proprietary technical innovation for efficiency improvements has been supplanted by government directives requiring all motor manufacturers to meet the same efficiency requirements.”

With a transition to IE3 Premium Efficiency levels completed in 2010, the U.S. and Canada are now global leaders in motor efficiency standards. As a result, motors sold in North America will be more expensive than in the past: IE3 efficiency class motors have average selling prices that are more than double those of IE1 Standard Efficiency motors. IMS Research estimates that market revenues for IE3 motors will increase 914% in 2011, with the market to be dominated by American motor manufacturers until at least 2015. At this time, the states of the European Union will begin their transitions to IE3, with manufacturers such as ABB and Siemens leading the industry in this region.

However, the IE2 High Efficiency market segment is expected to command the largest portion of revenues through 2017 and beyond, due to sales in China. China is required to transition to sales of IE2 motors in July, while at the same time global production of IE1 motors is expected to shift towards Asian manufacturers.

What's more, China is forecast to become the leading producer and consumer of squirrel-cage permanent magnet motors: The country has significant advantages in the rare earth mineral market and has been the first to legislate rebates for using these types of low-voltage ac motors. For more information, visit

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