SAN JOSE, CA – According to new research by Frost & Sullivan, end-users in a variety of industries are requiring belts with longer lifecycles, greater load capacity, and higher torque.

Belt-drive component manufacturers are responding with new designs and products that employ new materials.

The research report, called U.S. Industrial Belt Drive Components Market, to be released in July, says that the total market for belt-drive components increased from $1.04 billion in 1998 to $1.08 billion in 99. The growth rate is expected to accelerate through 2006 as manufacturers improve their products’ performance.

U.S. Challenges

Despite the promise of gains following technological advances, vendors in this country still have several challenges ahead.

U.S. markets are being flooded with low-priced products from overseas, the report notes. The effects of this trend are magnified by the fact that there are fewer and fewer customers in the United States to serve.

“As more companies move their manufacturing to locations outside the U.S., belt and pulley manufacturers will be forced to participate in global markets,” says Frost & Sullivan analyst Michael Rasche.

“U.S. companies must target new applications within the U.S. and explore opportunities in foreign markets, all while attempting to maintain adequate profit margins.”

Drives On The Rise

Meanwhile, competition from electric drives continues to loom over the industry. Some users of belt drives have been switching to the more precise and energy-efficient electric drives since the 80s.

In the past, belt drives were more economical, but the price of electric drives is steadily decreasing.

“Electric drives are now being selected for new equipment purchases as well as for system upgrades,” says Rasche. However, “electric drives are not likely to replace most belt drives in the short term.

“Many belt drive users are satisfied with the performance of their drives and do not perceive a need for the advanced functions available with electric drives.”

This report examines the several product segments within the belt and pulley markets, including the flat belt, v-belt, synchronous/timing belt, and variable-speed belt segments. It evaluates market drivers and restraints, analyzes pricing strategies and trends, and presents forecasts for each segment.

For more information on the report, contact Shantel Wilkins at 210-348-1015; (e-mail); (website).