World news: November 2011
Europe’s HVAC drives market is ‘set to double by 2017’
The European market for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) drives is set to more than double, from $274.9m in 2010 to $611.9m by 2017, according to a new analysis by Frost & Sullivan. It says that that the HVAC industry is “undergoing unprecedented change” and that the dynamics driving the change – innovations in building design and energy conservation – are altering the market and affecting equipment and applications.
Several factors – including spiralling energy costs and mandatory compliance with energy-efficiency standards, together with a focus on air quality and its impact on human health – are boosting the European HVAC electric drives sector,” reports Frost & Sullivan research analyst, Ramasubramanian Natarajan. “Regional trends, such as infrastructural growth in Eastern Europe, are reinforcing market potential.”
Rising energy prices across Europe are underlining the need to use drives to reduce energy bills and to achieve higher efficiencies. At the same time, efforts by the HVAC sector to minimise its carbon footprint are compelling it to limit energy usage.
Frost warns. however, that the cost of using drives for low-range HVAC applications is sometimes perceived as being too high. To encourage wider use, it says, suppliers will need to offer low-cost, off-the-shelf systems for specific tasks.
“Convincing end-users to implement drives in their HVAC applications, especially during economic slowdowns, is a challenge for drives manufacturers,” Ramasubramanian comments.
According to Frost, another obstacle hindering the growth of the HVAC drives market is declining prices for VSDs. Intense competition is causing the prices of drives to fall, reducing manufacturers’ profit margins. This trend is being exacerbated by the entry of low-cost Asian competitors that have made significant inroads into the European market over the past five years.
“Many drives manufacturers are shifting their manufacturing bases to Eastern Europe to reduce their production outlays and to cater for the increased automation needs of this region,” says Ramasubramanian. “Moreover, the heavy investments being made in infrastructure, the expansion of industrial and production bases and other discrete industries of which HVAC drives are an integral part, are luring HVAC drives manufacturers to Eastern Europe.”