The need for critical measurements from end-user sectors such as automotive, aerospace and defence as well as metal industries is promoting demand for gages. End-user preference for tighter tolerances coupled with custom specifications is boosting the need for accurate gages.
Uptake is projected to be especially strong in the automotive industry where gages meet the need for specific measurements and high accuracy. Key automotive applications include alignment, profiling, dimensional measurement and control.
With no recent technological advancements, manufacturers are discovering new application needs with the available technology and equipment. By catering to specific end-user needs and targeted applications in select industries, manufacturers have managed to build a strong customer base.
Currently, globalisation is acting as a double-edged sword. Due to limited technological advancements, price has emerged as a key product differentiator. To optimise costs, there has been a shift in focus towards eastern Europe and a few Asian countries, including India and China. In a global economy, the key challenge for European and the US manufacturers is to match the cost advantage of their Asian-based competitors.
On the other hand, strong growth in Asia Pacific is actually supporting market expansion. A robust manufacturing sector with sustained construction and infrastructure expansion is offering immense growth opportunities for sales of gages. China and India, with their vast populations, offer attractive prospects in the automotive, telecommunication and electronic industries. This, in turn, will drive uptake of gages in the region. Already, many participants are looking to establish new branch offices in China and India in order to have a global presence, while leveraging tremendous opportunities anticipated in the Asia Pacific region.
Supported by these trends, the $147.7 million world measurement gages market (comprising height, depth, ring as well as plug and bore ID gages) is poised to accumulate $187.42 million in 2012. Key competitive factors include price, geographic coverage and multi-functional product capabilities.
The ability of well-established companies to offer customised product solutions has stifled smaller companies while creating strong entry barriers to new competitors. In the highly fragmented gages market with different market participants having strengths in distinct segments, the top 3 market participants accounted for a share of 55.8 percent in 2005.
“With the increasing competition in the gages market and companies offering customised solutions, it becomes evident that all market participants need to meet specific end-user needs and requirements,” suggest Frost & Sullivan (http://testandmeasurement.frost.com) Research Analyst Prathima Bommakanti. “In order to maintain a strong customer base, manufacturers need to develop more custom related solutions, broad product folios, timeliness in delivery, value-added services and institute an efficient customer feedback programme.”
A major challenge will remain the lifecycle of gages. With end users demanding durable machines with increased productivity, gage manufacturers are working on optimising the machines and increasing their lifecycle. This longevity is resulting in lower unit sales.
Despite this, growth projections are optimistic. “By having a global focus, forging strategic alliances and achieving a strong customer base through the provision of enhanced products and value-added services, gage manufactures can raise their competitive edge, while charting out a successful blueprint for future growth,” concludes Ms. Bommakanti.
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List of key industry participants:
Fred V. Fowler Co., Inc,
The LS Starrett Company, Gagemaker, Inc.,
Kurt, Mitutoyo America Corporation,
Micro Encoder, Kawasaki development centre,
Flexbar Machine Corp,
Brown & Sharpe, Inc.,
Brown & Sharpe, Inc. (Hexagon Metrology (Qingdao) Co.), S-T Industries, Inc.,
Greenslade & Company, Inc.,
Edmunds Gages, Deltronic,
Glastonbury Southern Gage,
B. C. Ames Incorporated,
Changda Machine & Tools Co. Ltd.,
Brunswick Instrument, Inc.,
Blanchette Tool & Gage Mfg. Corp.,
Beijing NDT instrument Co., Ltd.,
Scienscope International Corp,
Pratt & Whitney Measurement Systems Inc.,
Mahr, Mahr Federal Inc,
Chicago Dial Indicator Company,
Meyer Gage Company, Inc.,
A . G . D a v i s – A A G a g e,
Dorsey Metrology International,
FRANK J. COX SALES LTD.,
GROZ ENGINEERING TOOLS (P) LTD.,
Leitech U.S. Ltd.,
Leitech Instruments ApS,
Mid-Tech Gage, Inc.,
R.L. Schmitt Company Inc.,
Vermont Gage, MTG, Inc.
Products Engineering Corporation,
Yorkshire Precision Gauges Ltd,
Zero Gage Company,
Mueller Gages Company,
Bowers Metrology UK,
Bowers Metrology Export,
Bowers Metrology Export,
Moore & Wright,
Mercury Gage Company,
PMC Gage, Inc.,
Trimos SA, A
irtronics Gage & Machine Company,
Albion Devices, Inc.,
Control Gaging Incorporated,
DIATEST Hermann Koltgen GmbH,
DIATEST Gages and Tools,
ETAMIC Deutschland GmbH,
Flite Technology Inc,
Widell Industries, Inc,
Alpha Thread Gage, Inc.,
Meru Precision Industries,
Metrics Unlimited, Inc.,
Micron Company, Inc.,
Osborn Products, Inc.,
Regal Cutting Tools,
S.G. Prittie Precision Gauges Pty. Ltd.,
Van Keuren – Kennametal Division,
United California Corporation,
MSC Industrial Supply Co., Inc.,
Atlas Thread Gage Inc.,
Dura Thread Gage Inc.,
Kennametal IPG, Greenfield Gage – Division of Kennametal,
HENDERSONVILLE INDUSTRIAL TOOL
– Kennametal Division,
Size Control – Kennametal Division,
Hi-Tech Tool Corp,
Swanson Tool Manufacturing, Inc.,
Ozaki Mfg.Co., Ltd.,
Heidenhain Corporation – Germany/Shaumburg , IL,