The global linear actuators market size was valued at USD 34.53 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 58.38 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 6.01% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Linear actuators help convert energy into straight-line motions, usually for positioning applications. Most linear actuators are either mechanical or electromechanical devices that deliver controlled positioning and movement. Further, these actuators are primarily utilized in industrial machinery, computer peripherals, valves, and numerous other places where linear motion is required. Typical linear actuators typically produce push and pull action. Linear actuators give the total user control over the secure and precise motion control they deliver. They are long-lasting, energy-efficient, and require little to no maintenance.
The global market is mainly driven by the favorable rise in industrial automation across all industries. Industrial automation is primarily supported by several linear actuators, due to which the potential future rise in industrial automation is anticipated to positively impact the growth of the market. With developments in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, the trend of automation has augmented. In addition, the linear actuator is essential in all actuation systems. It supports the automation of numerous designs and processes in the automotive, manufacturing, agriculture, food, transportation, medical, and many other industries.
Furthermore, the rising population is another factor in the rise in industrial automation. The requirement of meeting the demands of the increasing population propelled manufacturers to automate the procedure, which also helps in the mass production of the products. The growing usage of industrial robots to speed up production and minimize human errors in mechanical industries is projected to propel the market.
The healthcare industry is designing and producing innovative machines that require actuators. They find usage in medical devices such as wheelchairs, lifts for patients, dental chairs, treatment chairs, beds used for medical purposes, and CT, MRI, and PT scanning instruments. In addition, the growth of linear actuators in the healthcare industry is primarily attributed to expanding healthcare facilities and the growing elderly population. The number of hospitals is increasing in numerous countries like the United States, India, and China. Moreover, the increasing prevalence of cancer and other chronic diseases will result in massive traffic of patients into hospitals all around the globe. These factors positively impact the market because linear actuators are widely used for numerous purposes in healthcare.
Pneumatic linear actuators transform energy generated from compressed air into mechanical movement. The installation of pneumatic linear actuators is considerably tiresome work, and the maintenance cost of these actuators is also high. Furthermore, pneumatic actuators combine various systems that contain compressors, air filters, lube tubes, dryers, and regulators. The negligence or absence of maintenance of these systems can lead to problems like excessive noise and air leaks.
In the case of hydraulic actuators, hydraulic fluid is pumped via a reservoir, which converts energy into mechanical motion. This hydraulic actuator has several advantages over pneumatic actuators in generating force and controlling procedures. Nevertheless, the probability of fluid leakages, risk of fire, and spoiling of actuation systems owing to erosion caused by fluid leakages pose a significant threat. Therefore, leakage problems and the high noise caused by operating pneumatic and hydraulic actuators are anticipated to hamper the market growth prospects during the projection period.
The governments of different countries across the globe are supporting the development of industries to ensure the complete development of the country. This has led to the adoption of numerous automation and communication components and technologies for the structural development of enterprises. In addition, governments internationally are focusing on processes and discrete industries. For example, the Government of Singapore partnered with several associations, such as the Singapore Food Manufacturing Association (SFMA) and the Food Innovation Resource Centre, to adopt the latest automation solutions, comprising SCADA, PLC, DCS, robots, and cables, in the food and beverages industry.
Furthermore, the United Kingdom launched its industrial strategy focused on pushing the boundaries of automation in renewable energy. The strategy will see investment in numerous new technology areas, counting a promised EUR 400 million investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and EUR 176 million in 5G mobile connectivity. All these factors are anticipated to offer lucrative opportunities for the global market.
The global market is segmented by type and end-user.
Based on type, the global market is divided into pneumatic, hydraulic, electric, and others.
The electric segment is the largest contributor to the market share and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 6.46% over the forecast period. The electric linear actuators convert rotational motion from the electric motor into linear motion. The electric motors in actuators create rotational motion, which is used to turn the lead screw by a gearbox—the turning lead screw results in linear motion of the acme drive nut. The electric linear actuators offer the highest precision with easy and automatic operation controls. Moreover, electric linear actuators can be integrated into automated systems as they are easily networked and programmed quickly. Further, the International Federation of Robotics estimated that between 2014 and 2019, industrial automation and smart production rose by roughly 85%. Thus, the growing industrial automation is anticipated to boost the growth of electric linear actuators over the forecast period.
The pneumatic linear actuators use the power of compressed air to generate a linear motion. Pneumatic linear actuators generally have a piston-cylinder system in which the piston rods extend and retract to create linear motion. The piston rods are also designed with carriages that move on the cylinder tube or guideway. Compared to other linear actuators, the pneumatic ones offer better safety. Pneumatic linear actuators use air rather than harmful chemicals, or electricity, which can lead to accidents on the work floor. Moreover, pneumatic linear actuators are cost-efficient as they are cheaper and require less maintenance than other linear actuators. In addition, the better safety and lower cost associated with pneumatic linear actuators augment their adoption in the market. Products such as Parker Bestobell pneumatic actuators, Tolomatic BC3 heavy-duty pneumatic actuators, and SMCHY series linear actuators are some examples of pneumatic linear actuators available in the market.
Based on the end-user, the global market is segmented into automotive, steel, construction, medical/healthcare, IT/semiconductor, agriculture, chemical, and others.
The automotive segment owns the highest market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.70% during the forecast period. Linear actuators are used for various applications in the automotive sector, including hoods, trunks, tailgates, tonneau covers, and rumble seats. The linear actuators used for automotive applications vary in shape and sizes ranging from small to large. Moreover, the segment's growth is entirely dependent on the sale of vehicles. New car sales have dropped over the past few years, hampering the demand for linear actuators. The International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers estimates that the number of new vehicles sold globally decreased from 93 million units in 2017 to 78 million in 2020. Further, the reduced sale of new vehicles restricted the growth of the automotive segment over a short period in the global market. However, the market is expected to increase over the forecast as the sale of electric vehicles surges in the next few years.
Linear actuators are used for several applications in the steel segment, including material handling and cutting equipment. Production units such as steel mills, steel sheet production and processing, pipes and tubes production, and wire manufacturing use linear actuators for different applications. Further, the production and consumption of steel globally influence the steel segment in the global market. According to the World Steel Association, global crude steel production reached 1,877.5 million tons in 2020, while the sale of finished steel products reached 1,771.8 million tons in 2020. Thus, the growing production and consumption of steel are anticipated to boost the steel segment in the global market.
Based on region, the global market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and RoW.
Asia-Pacific is the most significant global linear actuators market shareholder and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 6.44% during the forecast period. The improving economic conditions, rapid industrialization, and initiatives to promote industrial digitalization are the significant factors driving the growth of the market in the Asia-Pacific. The growing automotive sector has augmented the adoption of linear actuators in the Asia Pacific. In addition, several countries across the Asia-Pacific region stand out as vital participants in the automotive industry. The growing investment by the telecom operators and the government is anticipated to boost the development and deployment of 5G technology across the Asia Pacific region.
Furthermore, the increasing deployment of 5G technologies in the major Asian-Pacific countries is expected to support the growth of sensors and actuators in IoT used to enable automation at an industrial scale. The healthcare industry in Asia-Pacific is a fast-growing industry. Linear actuators find applications from lift chair and patient hoist actuators to hospital adjustable bed actuators. With the continual inception of clinics, hospitals, and healthcare centers in Asia countries such as China and India, linear actuators will find increased demand in the region from the healthcare sector.
North America is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.97% over the forecast period. The rise in automation and growing emphasis on safety in the automotive sector is crucial for the growth of the market in the North American region. As the transition to a digital economy takes momentum, more than half of the business leaders polled had already automated certain organizational operations. Higher adoption of connected devices, automation, and industry 4.0 technologies for industrial application in North America is driving the growth of linear actuators in the region. In addition, the U.S. holds the maximum market share. It is expected to retain dominance over the forecast period, owing to the growing demand from the manufacturing, aerospace, and healthcare sectors. Electromechanical actuators powered by flight engines are becoming increasingly common. Moreover, the United States possesses the world's largest aerospace, and industrial complex, contributing to the growth of the market in North America. In addition, the presence of several players, such as Rockwell Automation, Inc., Parker-Hannifin Corporation, General Electric Company, and Moog Inc., is also a significant factor contributing to the market growth in this region.
A sizeable automotive sector in Europe is one of the critical end-users of linear actuators, driving the market growth in this region. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, European Union exported about 5 million passenger cars in 2019, valued at over EUR 124 billion. Moreover, the growing emphasis on developing and adopting industrial automation and industry 4.0 technologies by the governments is expected to boost the market in Europe further. For instance, the I4.0 NTP (Industry 4.0 National Technology Platform) national effort was implemented in Hungary to support the manufacturing and industry transition following the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Furthermore, the rise in the funding from public and private sectors into industry 4.0 technologies is augmenting the growth of the market in Europe.
The rest of the world, including the Middle East and Africa and South America, is developing slowly in the market. The relatively stable and growing economy in the Middle East and Latin America is majorly influencing the industrial output and driving the market in these regions. In addition, the increasing expansion of the Oil and gas and metal and mining industries in the Middle East and Africa region promotes the motion controller market in the Middle East and Africa region. The use of linear actuators in complex industrial activities for safety and optimization in production drives the market in the Middle East and Africa regions.
In South America, the patterns of industrialization in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Colombia show favorable growth prospects for the market. The increasing inclination towards industrialization and the high emergence of automation in their industries drives the growth of the market in the region. The adoption of automated devices and rising investments from foreign players in South America are creating more significant growth opportunities in this region.
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