Introduction – Pneumatic Cylinders
If there’s one word that aptly describes the story of the pneumatic cylinder market, it is diversification. Traditionally, demand for pneumatic cylinders has remained limited to construction, automotive, manufacturing, and aerospace. However, in the recent past, new opportunities have emerged. Pneumatic cylinder manufacturers are now eyeing opportunities across a wide range of sectors. The foray into the uncharted has been enabled by consistent advances in technology, notably, automation and robotics. Transparency Market Research (TMR), in its new offering, lays bare the overt and the covert, the subtle and the obvious, and the niche and the holistic, to present a comprehensive, 360 degree analysis of the pneumatic cylinder market.
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Evolution in Pneumatic Cylinders
Single-action cylinders are quickly being replaced by double-action pneumatic cylinders, as the requirements of end-users have witnessed a sea change over the years. Single-action cylinders, known for their easy operational method, fail-safe mechanism, and low operational costs are proving to be incongruous with the shifting demand. Double-action cylinders have catered to these limitations, and today, they remain the pneumatic cylinder of choice in a range of industries.
According to TMR’s research, over 11,000 units of pneumatic cylinders were sold in 2017. Buoyed by growing applications in novel avenues, global sales are likely to reach nearly 12,700 units in 2019. Transparency Market Research (TMR) maintains a bullish outlook on the pneumatic cylinder market, and opines that global sales will grow at over 5% consistently throughout the course of the forecast period (2019-2027).
Pneumatic Cylinder Market: The Impact of Undercurrents
The broader advances in robotics and automation has rubbed off on the demand for pneumatic cylinders. To power the robotics of tomorrow, pneumatic cylinder manufacturers are investing in R&D and collaborative development activities. The ubiquity of pneumatic cylinders is likely to create new growth opportunities for pneumatic cylinder manufacturers. Although advances in robotics will augment market growth, it will be the traditional stalwarts—manufacturing and automotive—that will hold sway in terms of total sales and revenues.
- Pneumatic cylinders coupled with sensors enable higher productivity and efficiency. These can record and transmit important information regarding temperature, cycle counts, cycle speed, and travel in real-time. Additionally, the manufacturing industry is adopting trends such as automation 4.0. The automation trend is expected to have a large impact on manufacturing industries as it makes way for various cost-effective and highly productive innovation. Hence, automation is likely to fuel growth of the pneumatic cylinder market in the near future and create opportunities for high-value sensor-laden pneumatic cylinders.
- Pneumatic cylinder market is already witnessing a rise in demand for high-end products in futuristic applications. Space exploration is increasingly being undertaken by emerging countries as well. Recent space exploration programs have resulted in advanced GPS navigation, reliable weather information, creating significant opportunities. However, electric and hydraulic technology cannot be used in space shuttle automated door technology, due to high levels of radiation in space. Pneumatic cylinders have proven to be a feasible solution as their operations are not restrained due to radiations.
- Pneumatic cylinders are experiencing robust demand due to widespread industry-use in applications such as rotary-valve actuators, slide-gate actuators, material handling services. Additionally, their deployment in ATVs, earth moving equipment, and motorcycles is also expanding as the growth of the automobile sector picks up in North America.
- TMR recommends all manufacturers of the pneumatic cylinders to consider catering to increasing demand for energy efficiency. The demand for energy-efficient solutions has witnessed a steady rise in recent years. Additionally, growing regulations regarding carbon emissions are expected to bring about a dynamic shift in the demand from a key end-use sector, automotive. Furthermore, pneumatic cylinders often use compressed air as a medium. Due to high costs associated with this energy mediums, energy efficiency is expected to become a definitive trend which will shape operations for end-users and change business operations to align with innovative mediums of energy efficiency.
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The Competitive Landscape
Considering the buyer focus on competitive pricing, many pneumatic cylinder players have a manufacturing plant in regions where labor costs are relatively lower. Also, it is a strategic move by market players to set up plants in countries where compliance costs do not add up to the final product cost.
Although China and India may have lost some of their sheen as global manufacturing hubs, as labor costs have shot up in recent years, these countries continue to serve as manufacturing hubs for pneumatic cylinder companies. Among the players that have manufacturing centers in India and China, the prominent ones include Parker Hannifin Corporation, Camozzi Group, AirTAC International Group, The Emerson Electric Co., SMC Corp, and Festo Corp.
Mergers and acquisitions have been the norm rather than the exception in pneumatic cylinder market. The spate of M&As has been especially heightened since 2016, with many top-line players making strategic moves to acquire other companies. Of notable prominence has been the acquisition spree of IMI plc, and it has got Bimba Manufacturing and Analytical Flow Products (AFP).
In addition to mergers and acquisitions, expansion and new product development remain the other key focus areas. SMC Corp, Festo, and Parker Hannifin Corporation are among the key names that have invested significantly in new product development.
The pneumatic cylinder market is also witnessing a phase where unmet end-user needs are quickly passed on to the R&D and innovation labs, and a new product is in the market to gain first-mover advantage. For instance, to meet the space-related limitations, Festo rolled out inch series pancake cylinders. Further, to offer end-users greater flexibility and application-specific customization, IMI Norgen launched the MC Series magnetically coupled Rodless cylinders earlier this year.
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