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Market for control valves using electric actuators to double by 2017

The market for electrically actuated control valve assemblies was estimated to be $298 million in 2011, and still far smaller than the market for products using air as the power medium.

However, recent advances in electric actuation technology have dramatically increased the addressable market base for these products. IMS Research expects the market for electrically actuated control valves to experience CAGR growth of 13.4 percent through to 2017, more than twice the rate of any other control valve type.

As a result, IMS Research expects the market for electrically actuated control valves to double in size, exceeding $630 million by 2017, representing more than ten percent of global control valve assembly revenues.

Pneumatic actuation still represents the dominant market for control valves and in 2011, air power was required for approximately 93 out of every 100 valves sold during the year.

This is despite the generally accepted advantages of electric actuators, which include higher efficiency, and greater levels of control.

However, fail safe limitations, increased integration complexity, fragility perceptions, and a higher price tag have provided an effective barrier for many end-users considering electric actuation over traditional pneumatic actuation.

This has severely limited the applications in which it was feasible to use electric actuators. As a result the global market for control valve assemblies using electric actuation was estimated to represent little over six percent of global control valve revenues in 2011.

Recent developments in electric actuation have seen a dramatic increase in the customer base for these products.

Rugged electric actuators with armored cables and water resistance capability have expanded the instances where it is feasible to use electric actuation to include increasingly hostile environments.

The ability to now fail-open, fail close, or anywhere in between, has also expanded the market base to include a variety of fail-safe applications, which have further increased the ability of electric actuation to compete with air power in control valve markets. 

IMS Research Senior Analyst and report author Rob Carter comments, “The increased ability to address hostile environment and fail safe applications has significantly increased the customer base for control valves using electric actuators.

"However, there still remain barriers that will prevent electric actuators from fully realizing this new potential. Firstly, the higher price tag and technical complexity of these components compared with more basic pneumatic alternatives.

"Secondly, most control valve suppliers manufacturer pneumatic actuators in-house, but have to source electric actuators from third parties, which can make it difficult to be price competitive and still maintain required profitability.

"Despite these barriers, electric actuators are expected to show strong growth in the control valve market over the next five years, especially in low speed applications.

"By 2017 electrically actuated valves are forecast to exceed 10 percent of the global market for process control valve assemblies.”

[Image courtesy Emerson Process Management.]

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