Increasing demand for civil aircraft due to rise in global population and rapid advancement in technology are anticipated to drive the global aircraft actuator market over the forecast period. Moreover, factors such as growing urbanization and rapid development of emerging economies are expected to contribute to the industry growth. Technological advancements characterized by shifting trend towards electric aircraft by replacing pneumatic and hydraulic actuators with electrical actuation systems are projected to drive the industry demand. The electric aircraft are also known as More Electric Aircraft (MEA) and help reduce body weight, achieve fuel economy, improve efficiency and enhance control over the aircraft.
Aircraft actuators are widely used in land gear, flight control, position feedback, clutches, load limiters, manual drives, seat actuation, landing gears and electromagnetic brakes for commercial aircraft. Actuators limit and control engine speed and velocity by adjusting levers and valves. In the case of emergencies, valves interrupt the flow of a medium, thus ensuring safety. The fresh air in an aviation body is consistently moistened by a humidification system valve.
The industry can be segmented by product into mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic and electric actuators. The hydraulic actuator market is the dominant sector at present. It can be attributed to increasing demand for hydraulic actuators in operating wheel brakes, retractable land gear, and constant speed propellers. Hydraulic actuators are also used to deliver flight control at high power without consuming excess weight or space, which facilitates pilots to undertake mechanical tasks without wasting more energy.
However, there is a shifting trend towards electric actuators. Advances in electric actuators technology such as improvements in permanent magnet material, robustness, efficiency and electromagnetic designs are expected to increase the demand for electric actuators over the future. Such advancements in electric actuators have increased the power density while offering superior performance in wide range of applications at reduced cost. Moreover, electric actuators have lower weight as compared to their hydraulic and pneumatic counterparts. The reduced pressure which diminishes energy consumption of the flight control system further increases the attractiveness of electric actuators. This result in electrical systems was increasingly replacing mechanical and hydraulic systems. Further, hydraulic actuators are being replaced owing to their heavy weight, low performance, rising concerns over vulnerability due to security issues and high maintenance requirements.
By applications, the market can be segmented into flight control system, health monitoring system, power distribution system, avionics system, landing and braking system and fuel management system. The health monitoring system segment is expected to grow significantly over the forecast period. Rising demand for increased aircraft availability and lower costs by reducing operational delays, aircraft downtime, and unscheduled maintenance have propelled demand for the health control systems.
In the aviation sector, the actuator is required to achieve very high dynamic forces at low weight and should be able to fit into small spaces. Moreover, they have an obligation to withstand harsh conditions such as cycling temperature and high vibration. Actuators are required to present in almost all systems of an aircraft including water, oxygen, hydraulic, fuel and air system.
By type, the market can be divided into narrow body, wide body, and enormous aircraft. The narrow body segment is expected to witness exponential growth in North America due to rise in aircraft sales, technological advancement, and increasing passenger traffic. Narrow body aircraft are therefore preferred in commercial aviation industry both on domestic and international routes. Asia-Pacific region is expected to observe significant growth in demand for aircraft and actuators owing to increase in disposable income, migration, and overseas education. Thus, the Asia-Pacific region is projected to witness a significant rise in air traffic and an increase in the number of commercial aircraft.
The actuator industry in North America is anticipated to see positive growth owing to increase in adoption of the modern standardization policies for safety by North-American Airlines. Increasing investments in redesigning the wide-body aircraft in the U.S. is anticipated to impact favorably demand. Boeing is expected to increase its aircraft production rate in the forecast period, facilitating the greater need for actuators in North America. Increased need for up gradation due to high air traffic in developed economies such as Europe and North America has surged to the requirement for an improved efficiency and reliability backed aviation actuators.
The global aircraft actuator market faces intense competition by vendors regarding cost, reliability, product quality and post sales services. The participants, therefore, have to supply cost-efficient and good quality products with advanced material and technologies to sustain in the highly competitive market.
The prominent vendors include Honeywell, Moog, Parker Aerospace, Rockwell Collins, UTC Aerospace Systems. These players adopt expansion strategies ranging from agreements, contracts, development of plant capacities and joint ventures to achieve growth.
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