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PIEZOELECTRIC ACTUATORS AND MOTORS – TYPES, APPLICATIONS, NEW DEVELOPMENTS, INDUSTRY STRUCTURE AND GLOBAL MARKETS
Publish Date: Jul 2010,   Pages: 154,   Report Code: ET-112
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Piezo actuators are electromechanical “motors”, based on the solid state piezomechanical deformation effect of piezoceramics (PZT lead zirconium titanate). Highlights are unlimited positioning sensitivity (sub-nanometers), high load capability, and high force generation, resulting in ideal mechanical dynamics with reaction times down to microseconds. Only piezo actuation allows top innovations in mechatronics like nano-positioning or high pressure common rail fuel injection.

 

Piezoelectric actuators are at an important stage of development into a large component market. Market pull is generated by large demand for ultra-small scale precision motion devices used in manufacturing and inspection equipment, high volume, low cost auto-focus assemblies required in phone cameras, and high volume, moderate cost ink printing cartridges used in printers; and partly by demand for micro actuator medical tools used in minimally invasive surgery and micro-grippers required in manufacturing micro-sized objects such as stents; and partly by dynamically-driven high temperature actuators for diesel injector valves in automobiles. Cost, yield and reliability are important concerns for each of these six applications. A number of these concerns relate to basic material science issues in the manufacture of the piezoelectric actuators for these targeted, diversified applications.

 

This report also deals with ultrasonic motors (USMs) that belong to the class of piezoelectric motors. In this work, the term “USM” will be used for the motor only (in other words, power electronics and closed-loop controls are not included). The system composed of the motor, power electronics, and closed-loop control will be called the ultrasonic actuator or piezoelectric actuator. The working principle of these motors has been well known for at least 50 years. However, they generated widespread interest only with the influential work of Sashida in 1982. Before that time, piezoceramic materials with high conversion efficiency and fast electronic power control of ultrasonic vibrations were not available.

 

Due to their specific advantages compared to conventional electromagnetic motors, USMs fill a gap in certain actuator applications. A key advantage of USMs over electromagnetic motors is their compactness, i.e., their high stall torque-mass ratio and high torque at low rotational speed, often making speed-reducing gears superfluous. Additionally, with no voltage applied, an inherent holding torque is present due to the frictional driving mechanism. It is also notable that their compactness and the high frequency electrical excitation make quick responses possible. USMs also offer a high potential for miniaturization. These actuators produce no magnetic field, since the excitation is quasi-electrostatic.

 

STUDY GOAL AND OBJECTIVES

 

This study focuses on key piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors and provides data about the size and growth of these markets, along with company profiles and industry trends. The goal of this report is to provide a detailed and comprehensive multi-client study of the markets in North America, Europe, Japan, China, India, Korea and the rest of the world (ROW) for piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors, as well as potential business opportunities in the future.

 

The objectives include thorough coverage of underlying economic issues driving the piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors business, as well as assessments of new, advanced piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors that are in development. Also covered are legislative pressures for more safety and environmental protection, as well as users’ expectations for economical actuators and motors. Another important objective is to provide realistic market data and forecasts for piezoelectric operated actuators and motors. This study provides the most thorough and up-to-date assessment that can be found anywhere on the subject. The study also provides extensive quantification of the many important facets of market development in piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors. This, in turn, contributes to a determination of the kinds of strategic responses companies may adopt in order to compete in these dynamic markets.

 

Users of piezoelectric actuators and motors in developed markets must contend with twin pressures – to innovate and, at the same time, to reduce costs. New applications, such as piezo fuel injectors, ink cartridges in printers, micro-pumps, micro-grippers, and micro-surgery tools for piezoelectric actuators and motors, have been proposed in recent years. This study condenses all of these business related issues and opportunities.

 

REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY

 

The piezoelectric actuator and motor market is an attractive and still-growing multi-million dollar market characterized by very high production volumes of actuators and motors that must be both extremely reliable and low in cost. Growth in the market continues to be driven by increasing demand in camera phones for auto-focus mechanisms, data storage, semiconductors, micro-electronics production, precision mechanics, life science and medical technology, optics, photonics, nanometrology, robots, toys, HVAC control systems, and other applications such as piezo fuel injectors, ink cartridges in printers, micro-pumps, micro-grippers and micro-surgery tools.

 

The piezoelectric-operated actuator and motor industry is complex and fast moving, with manufacturers increasingly adopting a truly global view of the market. Around the world, consumers are demanding a high power density as well as extremely long cycle life. Against this difficult background, manufacturers have attempted to achieve growth through company mergers and acquisitions, and by implementing global strategies. Piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors, once a technological novelty, have now entered the mainstream and are showing significant sales volumes.

 

iRAP conducted this study in 2007. However, with increased demand for these devices, and with improved and emerging technologies as well as applications, iRAP felt a need to conduct a detailed study and update technology developments and markets. The report identifies and evaluates piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors and technologies which show potential growth.

 

CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE STUDY

 

The report covers technology, product analysis, manufacturers’ profiles, competitive analysis, raw material suppliers, electronic suppliers, system integrators, material and material cost analysis, market dynamics and patent status of leading players ,to provide a complete picture of the status and growth of the piezoelectric actuator market on a global scale from 2009 to 2014.

 

This study provides the most complete accounting of the current market and future growth in piezoelectric actuators and motors. The study also provides extensive quantification of the important facets of market developments in emerging markets for these actuators and motors, such as China.

 

SCOPE AND FORMAT

 

The market data contained in this report quantify opportunities for piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors. In addition to product types, this report also covers the many issues concerning the merits and future prospects of the business, including corporate strategies, information technologies, and the means for providing these highly advanced product and service offerings. This report also covers in detail the economic and technological issues regarded by many as critical to the industry’s current state of change. It provides an overview of the piezoelectric actuator and motor industry and its structure, and of the many companies involved in providing these products. The competitive positions of the main players in the market, and the strategic options they face, are also discussed, along with such competitive factors as marketing, distribution and operations.

 

TO WHOM THE STUDY CATERS

 

Audiences for this study include marketing executives, business unit managers and other decision makers in piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors companies and companies peripheral to this business. The study will benefit existing manufacturers of actuators and motors who seek to expand revenues and market opportunities by expanding in new technology such as piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors, positioned to become a preferred solution for many applications. This study also will benefit users of piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors who deal with actuators where electromagnetic field generation is an issue and operational performance parameters and space are important considerations, such as in auto-focus lens mechanisms of camera phones, nanometrology, precision linear /rotary drives, drug delivery systems, antenna array deployment, and other fields such as piezo fuel injectors, ink cartridges in printers, micro-pumps, micro-grippers and micro-surgery tools.

 

REPORT SUMMARY

 

A confluence of new piezo-based technology has breathed new capability into the nano- and micro-positioning world. Piezo actuation is increasingly suitable for applications formerly addressable only by magnetic motors, and the technology offers significant benefits in terms of size, speed, fieldlessness, reliability, vacuum compatibility, resolution and dynamics. These benefits, in turn, enable significant advances in existing and new applications. Examples of these applications abound. For instance, optical assemblies of escalating sophistication require multiple axes of nanoprecision alignment that must remain aligned for months of round-the-clock usage. Another example is emerging nano-imprint lithography methods which demand exacting positioning and trajectory control and must retain alignment integrity under significant physical and thermal stresses. Applications ranging from cell phone cameras to endoscopy and fluid delivery mechanisms require exceedingly small but stiff, responsive, and reliable positioning of optics, probes and shutters. Until recently, these conflicting requirements had no solution.

 

Piezomotors and actuators typically eliminate any need for gear reduction because they drive loads directly. One way to understand how a piezomotor generates motive force is to examine the SQUIGGLE® motor. It can move with 1,000 times more precision than an electromagnetic motor while hitting nanometer resolutions. In contrast, electromagnetic motors struggle to give micrometer resolution.

 

Piezoelectric actuators have been commercialized in various areas such as information technology, robotics, biomedical engineering, automotive, ecological and energy engineering.  They are coming to be preferred over electromagnetic-type actuators, due mainly to suitability to miniaturization, lack of electromagnetic generation, higher efficiency and non-inflammability.

 

Piezoelectric actuators and motors vary significantly in shapes and manufacturing technologies in order to address distinctly different market segments such as ultra-small scale precision motion devices in manufacturing and inspection equipment, phone cameras, ink printing cartridges, micro-actuator tools used in minimally invasive surgery, micro-grippers required in manufacturing micro-size objects such as stents, and high temperature actuators for diesel injector valves in automobiles.

 

Major findings of this report are:

 

·        The 2009 global market for piezoelectric operated actuators and motors was estimated to be $6.6 billion, and the market is estimated to reach $12.3 billion by 2014, showing an average annual growth rate of 13.2% per year.

 

  • The market for piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors in ultra-small scale precision motion related applications will be the largest segment, estimated to have reached $3,200 million (48.6% share) in 2009 and projected to reach $6,000 million in 2014, for an AAGR of 13.4%.  The other major segment includes phone cameras, digital cameras, microscope lenses, mirrors and optics, estimated at $2,800 million (42.5% share) in 2009 and $5,200 million in 2014, for an AAGR of 13.1%.

 

  • The remaining 8.9% ($587 million) is a third market segment consisting of auto fuel injectors, micro-pumps, micro-blowers, printer cartridges, surgical instruments, mini-robots, etc.). In 2014, this market segment will have a share of 8.7% ($1,090 million).

 

  • The manufacturers of optics, photonics and nanometrology equipment have been the major consumers of piezoelectric-operated motors and actuators.

 

  • Life sciences and medical technology also constitute a high-growth segment of the piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors market. This area is expected to grow at 18.7% annually and could record an even higher growth rate if there is wider acceptance by end users. It is still going through a gestation period.

 

  • Over the projected period of five years, market share of piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors will increase, taking share from electromagnetic motors.

 

  • In terms of regional market share, North America leads, with 40.5% in 2009, followed by Europe with 34%, Japan with 20%, and the balance 5.5% for China and the rest of the world.
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