Market Insight

New technologies, including network connectivity, drive the replacement market for Low Voltage Motor Control Centers (LV MCCs)

July 19, 2018

Brian Arbuckle Brian Arbuckle Senior Market Analyst

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Market Background

•The LV MCC market is estimated to have been worth $3.08 billion in 2016, up 2.2% Y/Y. Growth has been most pronounced in EMEA and Asia Pacific, while the Americas market has shrunk. As a result, the LV MCC market is forecast to be worth $3.54 billion by 2021 with an overall CAGR of 2.8%.

•EMEA was the largest market for LV MCCs in 2016, followed by Asia Pacific, North America, and Latin America.

•There are opportunities in the Infrastructure segment in Qatar (FIFA 2022), Saudi Arabia, and UAE (EXPO 2020, public transport, airports, and hospitals).

•In the Asia Pacific region, there are large Infrastructure opportunities in Indonesia and Thailand. Major investments are being made in infrastructure development.

•The infrastructure sector will grow gradually over the coming years, but lower oil prices will result in OpEx plans being cancelled by oil-producing nations. This has affected the prices of the opportunities in these markets.

•The Latin American market is expected to grow fastest over the next five years.

Our analysis

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a driving force behind the increasing demand for connectivity among factories. The potential benefits for end-users to incorporate IIoT include remote diagnostics, remote access, and predictive maintenance. This can reduce downtime, increase produce life, and reduce operational costs. End-users want to be able to gather data so they can make informed decisions. For this, they need more connectivity between machines and components.

Smart machinery is more common in factories where machinery performance is vital to productivity, as well as energy intensive areas such as oil and gas, metal processing, and mining industries where increased knowledge regarding efficiency can save end-users substantial amounts of energy and money. Many smart systems are currently in place in factories, but they are struggling to connect to each other and map vast amounts of data.

The adoption of IIoT in LV MCCs requires few design changes, and most vendors already incorporate basic levels of connectivity and data collection into their products, allowing LV MCCs to aid in predictive maintenance, increased longevity, and improved connectivity.

Control systems suppliers and OEMs are increasingly targeting new technology companies that are working on solutions to improve connectivity and evaluate data. This is currently being driven by both acquisitions and partnerships. Vendors still have concerns and uncertainties about which direction the market will take and what platforms will be used to leverage the data produced over the long term.

The safety of networks is a concern for suppliers and users of low-voltage systems when it comes to adopting technology driven by IIoT. They want to see how the solutions work in the real world to understand their benefits and drawbacks, before they commit to the technology. Despite their reluctance, most customers want some kind of connectivity in their products, even if they are not going to use it immediately.

All MCCs have a finite lifetime. Typically, the life expectancy if properly maintained is around 20 years. Despite their sturdiness, even the most reliable MCCs must be retired at some point. The most common reasons for replacing an MCC include obsolescence, incompatibility with new legislation, or the condition of the MCC deteriorating. Another reason why companies sometimes opt for an upgrade is technological advancements that allow for the design of intelligent and more efficient MCCs.

Companies are frequently deciding to change or upgrade their MCCs to take advantage of the benefits that new technologies offer. One common upgrade involves replacing conventional starters with variable speed drives (VSDs) and adapting the MCC to accommodate this change. Since a VSD can reduce the energy consumption of a motor by as much as 60%, this upgrade helps companies make significant energy and cost savings over the long term.

Intelligent MCCs also feature remote controls and better data collection capabilities, which can be used for condition monitoring and preventative maintenance. In turn, this reduces maintenance and breakdown costs over the long run and helps companies minimize overall operational costs and enhance productivity.

Smart controls on the MCC can be incorporated into preventative maintenance regimes by logging, indicating and informing the operator of important information. An intelligent MCC can be used to flag problems in other parts of the plant, such as a fan motor pulling an unusually high current. This allows the operator to investigate and correct the problem before it leads to a larger failure.

In addition, intelligent systems can store data over many days or weeks, so that any abnormalities can be identified before they cause a problem. This allows more focused pre-planned maintenance regimes to be adopted. It also allows for feedback from results of maintenance activities.

Planned, periodic inspections, simple visual checks, and an up-to-date record of all maintenance and modifications are imperative for MCCs. To take things a step further, companies can use intelligent devices to predict where maintenance is required elsewhere in the plant. Predictive maintenance is key to MCCs meeting the manufacturer’s life expectancy.

 

 

 

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