The AC Drives Market is expected to grow at a sizable CAGR over the forecast period. Key drivers for this market are rapid industrialization and urbanization, rising need for energy efficiency, and regulations conducive to the maintenance of energy efficient operations. Burgeoning demand in the automotive aftermarket and automation of remote facilities using Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) will open new avenues for this market share on the forecast horizon. But the fact that this a fragmented market due to stiff competition from local regional players, and decline in foreign direct investments is challenging market growth. It is a horizontal market catering to various downstream verticals including oil & gas, power generation, home/building automation, water and wastewater, food & beverage, chemicals & petrochemicals. Market ecosystem consists of basic component suppliers (Converters, Inverters, Transistors, DC rectifiers etc), OEMs, distributors, and end users.
AC drives are VFDs that change voltage and frequency of the supply in order to control the AC motor’s speed. Most popular application of an AC drive is the steeples control of a squirrel cage induction motor. An AC drive typically consists of a rectifier or converter that converts AC voltage to DC voltage, a DC link, and an inverter that converts DC voltage back to AC voltage which is fed to the AC motor. Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) VFDs in combination with Field Oriented Control and Direct Torque Control methods is employed for controlling asynchronous AC machines. PWM drives also facilitate the operation of multiple motors on a single VFD.
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The AC drives market is segmented on the basis of voltage, application, end user industry, power rating, and the geographical region. The input voltage can low or medium. Applications of AC drives include the control of conveyors, fans, pumps, compressors, extruders, and others. End user industries include building automation, metals & mining, oil & gas, power generation, home automation, water & wastewater, food & beverage, chemical & petrochemicals, and other industries. Classification based on power rating includes low power drives (< 40 kW), medium power drives (41 – 200 kW), and high power drives (> 200 kW). The geographical regions for this market are Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, South America, and Middle East & Africa.
Low voltage AC drives have so far accounted for the largest market share. This can be attributed to the better ROI due to energy savings and efficient motor control. Consequently, low power AC drives have a chunk of the market share. But, medium voltage AC drives are expected to lead the market share over the forecast period due to their applications in kilns, fans, mills & crushers employed in end user industries like metals & mining, cement, water & wastewater, petrochemicals et al. Utilities also require AC drives to control synchronous machines. AC drives for pumps have so far lead the market share and are deemed to dominate in the forecast period. Oil & Gas industry is the largest consumer of AC drives, due to the prolific use of pumps and compressors in this sector, and the need to control them effectively. But, stagnant Greenfield investments due to falling oil prices are restraining this segment’s growth. Asia Pacific region has so far held the largest market share and is projected to reach the high
water mark in terms of CAGR in the forecast period; along with Middle East & Africa. This can be attributed to rapid industrialization and urbanization in emerging markets. China is on the forefront of the current AC drives market. Key players in the AC drives market are Toshiba, Parker Hannifin, Rockwell Automation, Hitachi, Emerson, Siemens, Fuji Electric, YASKAWA, WEG, ABB, Danfoss Group, Schneider, Mitsubishi Electrical Co Ltd, Hiconics Drive Technology Co Ltd.
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