No Motors and Control – No Robots

Kevin Parmenter, Director, Applications Engineering. TSC, America



No Motors and Control – No Robots

­The word “robotics” sometimes conjures thoughts of factories using machines to eliminate human labor, but today’s robots and collaborative robots – “cobots” – can help humans by augmenting or replacing tedious tasks. In the home this can be a robot vacuum. Or, on a larger scale, an all-electric autonomous mower that is capable of maintaining huge land plots, saving farm operators from overseeing large manual crews and helping them reduce vegetation management costs by 30-50%. And how about the automated warehouses that ship your packages? There you will find a marvel of modern robotics and automated guided vehicle (AGV) systems that make it all possible.

Mordor Intelligence expects the global robotics market to reach USD 74.1 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 17.45% since 2020. But without motors and motor controls there is no robotics market. And without linear and rotary motion there are no robots.

So how big is the motor drive and motor control market? No one knows for sure. According to MarketsandMarkets, the motor drive market alone is projected to be a 6.3 billion market by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 6.4% since 2020. I believe the motor drive and control market is becoming both ubiquitous and diverse at the same time. Convergence is taking place such that we have to ask: What is a motor drive or motor control? Is it the industrial motor drive in a water treatment plant or the BLDC motor drive in a drone or power tool?  Or the motor drives in EVs or other vehicles? Or, of course, the robots and autonomous moving things like AGVs in warehouses?

Electronic motors and motor drives represent a larger percentage of power processed than ever before, and the energy savings potential is growing rapidly in most applications using motors. Motor drives are being embedded in anything that has a motor, some with controls designed in-house by the company making the product. The larger the motor the better ROI for implementing electronic controls. 

Although we don’t have the personal robots portrayed in yesterday’s science fiction (think Rosie the Robot on the “Jetsons” or Robbie in “Lost in Space”), new applications and approaches for robotics and motor control are being implemented daily – including human-looking and human-acting ones. In reality, most robotics today are found throughout the warehouse and industrial environments; if you name a process done by a human in these settings, there is a robot or a cobot targeting that application.

Increasingly, these robotic industrial systems run 24/7 and need to have automotive-level reliability. So, if your organization can meet the expectations of customers, and if have the products the companies making robotics need, then motor drives, robotics + control should prove to be a great segment of the industrial market.