What are the top 10 popular BLDC motor applications markets?
With the improvement of global industrial automation, intelligence, and people’s living standards, the application of motors in fields such as automobiles, household appliances, electronic audio and video, information processing equipment, and industrial automation will become increasingly widespread.
According to statistics, the average number of motors owned by each household in developed countries is 80 to 130, while the average number of motors owned by households in large cities in China is about 20 to 40, which is still far below the average level in developed countries. Therefore, there is still a lot of room for development in China’s domestic motor industry.
Compared to the more than 200 year history of electric motors, BLDC motors are actually relatively young, with a history of only over 50 years since their development. However, with the development of semiconductor technology and the popularization of MCU and driver components, the overall cost of BLDC motors has been greatly reduced. Therefore, in recent years, BLDC motors have developed, and their overall growth rate is also higher than that of motors.
It is expected that the compound annual growth rate of BLDC motors will be around 6.5% in the coming years. According to statistics, the market size of BLDC in 2019 was approximately 16.3 billion US dollars, and it is expected to reach around 22.44 billion US dollars by 2024.
Where is the market size, and what are the specific applications? Recently, at the 3rd 2020 Brushless DC Motor Control Technology Seminar held on Electronic Enthusiasts Network, industry analyst Cheng Wenzhi shared a report on the “Top 10 Potential Application Market Analysis of BLDC Motors“. In his view, the application markets with a relatively large usage of BLDC motors in the future mainly include automobiles, 5G, drones/underwater robots, electric scooters/electric vehicles, industrial robots, fans, compressors, electric tools, pumps, and personal health care.
Automotive application market
With the rise of new energy vehicles, the penetration of intelligent driving, and the pilot application of the Internet of Vehicles, the trend of automotive electronicization is becoming increasingly evident.
In the future of automobiles, in addition to driving motors, electric power steering systems, electronic suspension systems, vehicle stability control systems, cruise control systems, ABS, and body systems (such as windows, door locks, seats, rearview mirrors, wipers, sunroof, etc.) will all heavily use electric motors.
Generally speaking, economy fuel vehicles are equipped with around 10 motors, ordinary cars are equipped with 20 to 30 motors, luxury cars are equipped with 60 to 70, or even hundreds of motors, while new energy vehicles generally require 130 to 200 motors.
With the increasing attention paid to the performance of automobiles, especially the requirements for comfort, safety, fuel economy, and environmental protection, the number of electronic control devices and electrical equipment in automobiles has correspondingly increased. The use of various electric devices has led to an increase in the number of motor equipment in automobiles.
New energy vehicles have been a development trend in recent years, and global policies are simultaneously promoting the development of new energy vehicles. Developed countries such as Europe and America actively layout the new energy vehicle market, promote the development of new energy vehicles through various subsidy policies and laws, and promote the transformation from traditional fuel vehicles to electric vehicles
After July 2019 in China, due to a significant decline in subsidies, the growth rate has declined. However, with the continuous launch of new energy models by major automakers in 2020, especially the launch of models such as TESLA Model 3 and Volkswagen ID.3, the industry is expected to shift from subsidy driven to demand driven, entering a second period of rapid growth.
2020 is a crucial year for the development of 5G in China. Although there was a delay in 5G construction in the first quarter due to the impact of the epidemic, China Mobile stated that its goal of reaching 300000 5G base stations by the end of 2020 remains unchanged. China Telecom and China Unicom will also strive to complete the construction of 250000 new 5G base stations in the third quarter to recover from the impact of the epidemic. In addition to the 50000 base stations planned by China Radio and Television, China will build 600000 base stations this year.
In 5G base stations, there are also many places where motors are needed, first of all, the base station antenna. At present, the control motor products with gearbox components that are matched with the 5G base station antenna application include two solutions: stepper motor and brushless motor. Each electrically adjustable antenna is equipped with one control motor with a gearbox.
In general, a regular communication base station needs to be equipped with about 3 antennas, while a 4G base station needs to be equipped with 4 to 6 antennas. The number of 5G base stations and antennas will further increase. In addition to the base station antenna, the cooling system in the base station also requires the use of motor products. For example, cooling fans, air conditioning compressors, and so on.
Drones were already very popular a few years ago, but not all drones use brushless motors. Nowadays, many drones are switching to brushless motors to achieve a lighter body and longer endurance.
According to a Droneii report, the global drone market size was 14.1 billion US dollars in 2018, and it is expected that by 2024, the global drone market size will reach 43.1 billion US dollars, with the fastest growing regions being Asia and North America. The compound growth rate is 20.5
According to the Civil Drone Mission Registration Information System of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, as of the end of 2018, there were 285000 registered drones in China. By the end of 2019, there were over 392000 registered drones, and commercial drone flights lasted 1.25 million hours.
Especially during the pandemic at the beginning of this year, drones played a significant role, such as shuttling between hospitals and disease control centers, implementing automated transportation of emergency drugs and specimens for epidemic prevention and control; Circling on the highway, replacing manual aerial command work; Avatar disinfection artifact, complete epidemic prevention and disinfection and sterilization in rural areas and even urban areas throughout China; Transforming into a propaganda expert, preaching and persuading from afar, encouraging people to stay at home, and so on.
Due to the impact of the epidemic, contactless delivery has once again been pushed to the forefront. In China, the Civil Aviation Administration of China launched a pilot program for unmanned aerial vehicle logistics and distribution services last year. Due to the impact of the epidemic, the pace of progress in China is expected to accelerate; Abroad, logistics giant UPS and German drone manufacturer Wingcopter have teamed up to bring new vertical takeoff and landing drones into the freight industry to transport packages.
There is also an underwater drone that we are not very familiar with, and we are slowly starting to measure it. I remember interviewing an underwater drone company in 2017. At that time, they happened to be in mass production and had only a few hundred units shipped through crowdfunding. Now, they have an annual shipment volume of tens of thousands of units.
Electric scooters/electric vehicles
The electric scooter not only retains the original riding experience, but also provides intelligent auxiliary power. It is a transportation tool that falls between bicycles and traditional electric vehicles. Electric scooters mainly provide corresponding power assistance through sensors based on riding signals, reducing the output of cyclists and making riding easier for users.
Compared to bicycles, electric scooters have added motors, batteries, sensors, controllers, instruments, etc., making the riding experience more diverse. Compared with traditional electric vehicles, electric scooters do not control the speed of the vehicle through the rotation and grip of the hand, but rather capture the signals of the rider through sensors, thereby understanding the rider’s riding intention and providing corresponding power assistance, making cycling more intelligent.
The selling price of electric scooters in China ranges from 2000 to 10000 yuan. European wheel hub electric scooters are priced between 500 and 1700 euros, while mid mounted electric scooters are priced between 2300 and 3300 euros. The price of electric scooters is much higher than that of bicycles and electric vehicles.
The motor is the core component of the electrical system of an electric scooter. Due to the miniaturization, lightweighting, operational efficiency, and appearance reliability of motors, the performance of electric scooters is directly determined. Therefore, motor companies generally need to customize the development of motors according to the needs of electric scooters. Electric motors account for 10% to 30% of the cost of electric scooters.
There is a strong demand for electric scooters in Europe. According to data from the European Bicycle Industry Association, from 2006 to 2018, the sales of electric scooters in the European market increased from 98000 units to 2.5 million units. The annual compound growth rate has reached 31%.
The Japanese market is also steadily growing. Japan was one of the earliest countries to develop, produce, and sell electric scooters. In the 1980s, the first generation of electric scooters was successfully developed. However, due to Japan’s hilly terrain, rugged roads, and severe aging, electric scooters became a necessary choice.
The domestic market in China is in its early stages. There is considerable room for future growth. At present, companies such as Mobike, Xiaomi, Harrow Travel, Double Speed Travel, and Forever are starting to try to promote electric scooters in China.
Industrial robots are mainly a substitute market in China, and their space is quite vast. Although China is the world’s largest market for industrial robot applications, globally renowned manufacturers in the field of industrial robots are mainly concentrated in developed countries represented by the United States, Japan, Germany, etc., such as ABB in Sweden, Fanuc in Japan, Yaskawa Electric, and the four major families represented by KUKA in Germany.
According to data from the International Federation of Robotics, the global sales of industrial robots in 2018 were 422000 units, of which 154000 units were sold in China, accounting for 36.5%. In addition, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the production of industrial robots in China is gradually increasing, from around 33000 sets in 2015 to 187000 sets in 2018. The growth rate is rapid.
Moreover, with the continuous introduction of industrial support by the Chinese government in recent years and the continuous breakthrough of domestic enterprises, the localization rate of industrial robots in China has been continuously increasing. In the first half of 2018, the proportion of domestic robot body sales increased from 19.42% in 2015 to 28.48%. At the same time, the overall sales of industrial robots in China have also maintained growth.
Fans include: fans, range hoods, hair dryers, air curtains, HVAC fans, and so on. The main downstream manufacturers include Midea, Emmett, Gree, Pioneer, Huadi, Boss, and so on.
From the perspective of household fans, this is a very large market, and the production of household fans in China is very large. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the production of household fans in China was 180 million units in 2018. There was no data for December 2017, but the data for 11 months was 160 million units. In 2016, it was 160 million units, and it is estimated that there were around 190 million units in 2019.
At present, mainstream small home appliance manufacturers in China, such as Midea, Pioneer, Nissan, Emmett, etc., have basically launched products using brushless motors. Among them, Emmett has the largest quantity and Xiaomi has the lowest cost.
With the entry of some cross-border manufacturers such as Xiaomi, the conversion rate of brushless motors in the field of household fans is starting to accelerate. Now, in the field of household fans, Chinese domestic brushless motor manufacturers have a place.
In addition to household fans, there are also device cooling fans, and device fans actually began to switch to brushless motors many years ago. There is a benchmark enterprise in this field, which is EBM. The company’s fan and motor products are widely used in multiple industries such as ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, home appliances, heating, and automobiles.
At present, many domestic companies in China are producing brushless cooling fans similar to EBM, and have already seized a considerable share of the EBM market.
Especially with the rise of domestic charging stations in China, there should be great opportunities for domestic manufacturers. Now China has also included charging stations in the “new infrastructure” project, and there should be greater development this year.
There are also freezer cooling fans. Due to the influence of industry standards and China’s national energy efficiency standards, freezer cooling fans have started to shift towards BLDC motors, and the conversion speed is relatively fast, resulting in a large number of products. It is expected that 60% of freezer coolers will be replaced with variable frequency motors before 2022. At present, the domestic supporting manufacturers of freezer cooling machines in China are mainly concentrated in the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta regions.
In terms of fans, there is also a range hood, which is an important component of kitchen appliances. However, due to cost reasons, the brushless conversion rate of range hoods is not yet high. At present, the frequency conversion scheme is about 150 yuan, but non brushless motor schemes can be solved within a hundred yuan, and low-cost ones can even cost around 30 yuan.
Many fresh air fans and air purifiers also use brushless motor solutions. At present, small products on the market generally use Nedic’s external rotor motors, while large air purifiers generally use EBM fans.
In addition, there is an air circulation fan that has been in production since the past two years, and currently has a relatively high value. Generally, the finished product requires 700-801 units, and there are also some more expensive ones of 2000-3000 units.
Due to the fact that the speed of the refrigerator compressor determines the temperature inside the refrigerator, the speed of the variable frequency refrigerator compressor can be changed according to the temperature, allowing the refrigerator to make adjustments based on the current temperature situation and better maintain a constant temperature inside the refrigerator. In this way, the preservation effect of food will be better. Most variable frequency refrigerator compressors choose BLDC motors, which result in higher efficiency, lower noise, and longer service life during operation.
This field used to be dominated by products from Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese manufacturers, but since 2010, domestic Chinese manufacturers have started rapidly. It is said that a manufacturer in Shanghai has an annual shipment volume of nearly 30 million units.
With the progress of domestic semiconductor manufacturers in China, whether it is main control MCU manufacturers, pre drive Gate Drivers, or power MOSFETs, Chinese domestic manufacturers can basically provide them.
Another thing is the air conditioning compressor. Currently, variable frequency air conditioning has basically become popular, and variable frequency air conditioning is the trend. The production of air conditioning in China is also quite large. According to the statistics of the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the production of air conditioning motors in 2018 was 360 million units, and the production of BLDC motors for air conditioning was about 96 million units. Moreover, the production of BLDC motors for air conditioning is increasing almost every year.
Electric tools are one of the most widely used hardware and electromechanical products. Due to its lightweight structure, convenient portability, high production efficiency, and low energy consumption, it is widely used in drilling, cutting, and grinding processes in various application industries such as construction, decoration, wood processing, metal processing, and other manufacturing industries.
With the continuous development of technology and the gradual acceptance of DIY concepts, the application scope of electric tools is also constantly expanding. Many traditional manual tool operations are being replaced more by electric tools, and electric tools are also expanding from industrial applications to family life. The demand for electric tools is increasing year by year.
The brushless development of electric tools actually began very early. In 2010, some foreign brands in China launched electric tools using brushless motors. With the maturity of lithium battery technology and the increasing affordability of prices, the scale of handheld tools is increasing year by year, and they can now be evenly matched with plug-in tools.
According to statistics, electric wrenches in China have basically achieved brushless operation, while electric drills, high-voltage types, and garden tools have not yet been completely brushless, but the conversion process is still ongoing.
This is mainly due to the energy-saving and high efficiency of brushless motors, allowing handheld electric tools to run for longer periods of time. Nowadays, many international and Chinese manufacturers have invested a lot of resources in product development, such as Bosch, Dewalt, Milwaukee, Ryobi, Makita, etc.
At present, the development of electric tools in China is also very rapid, especially in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang regions, where many electric tool manufacturers are concentrated. In recent years, the cost of brushless motor control solutions in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang regions has decreased rapidly, and many manufacturers have launched price wars. It is said that the cost of a brushless motor control solution for an electric tool is only about 6 to 7 yuan, and some even only require 4 to 5 yuan.
Water pumps are a relatively traditional industry with a wide variety of types and solutions. Even for driver boards with the same power, there are currently various options available on the market, ranging in price from less than two yuan to between forty and fifty yuan.
In the application of water pumps, three-phase asynchronous motors are mainly used for medium and large power, while AC bipolar pumps are mainly used for small and micro water pumps. The heating renovation in northern China now presents a good opportunity for technological innovation in pump solutions.
If only from a technical perspective, brushless motors are more suitable for application in the field of pumps, as they have certain advantages in size, power density, and even cost.
Personal Health Care
In terms of personal health care, there are two representative products, one is Dyson’s internet famous product, the air duct, and the other is the fascia gun.
Since Dyson launched a fan product using high-speed digital motors, it has become a sensation in the entire fan market.
According to the introduction of Qian Zhicun from Jingfeng Mingyuan in the past, there are currently three main directions for wind tunnel design in China: one is based on Dyson as the benchmark, using an ultra-high speed brushless motor scheme, with a general speed of around 100000 revolutions per minute, and the highest speed of 160000 revolutions per minute; The second option is to replace the U-motor, which has a speed similar to that of the U-motor, but its advantages are light weight and high wind pressure; The third is the external rotor high-voltage scheme, whose motor is mainly modeled after Nedic’s scheme.
At present, China’s counterfeit products are not simply copied in the past, but have basically achieved patent avoidance and made certain innovations.
The shipment volume of fascia guns has started to surge in recent years. It is said that gym coaches and sports enthusiasts are now equipped with fascia guns. The fascia gun utilizes the mechanical principle of vibration to transmit the vibration to the deep fascia muscles, achieving the effect of relaxing the fascia and reducing muscle tension. Some people regard the fascia gun as a relaxing tool after exercise.
However, the water in the fascia gun is also very deep now. Although it looks similar in appearance, prices range from over 100 yuan to over 3000 yuan. The market price of the BLDC motor control drive board used in the fascia gun has now dropped to 8. x yuan, and even a control drive board of around 6 yuan has appeared. This has led to a rapid decrease in the price of fascia guns.
It is said that there was an electric motor manufacturer that was on the verge of bankruptcy, but with the help of a fascia gun product, it immediately came back to life. And it’s also quite nourishing.
Of course, in addition to these two products, there is also a trend towards brushless motors in products such as male razors and female beauty devices.
Overall, BLDC motors are still in their early stages and their applications are now flourishing. In addition to the ones mentioned here, there are also many other applications such as service robots, AGVs, floor cleaning robots, wall breaking machines, stir fryers, dishwashers, and so on. In fact, there are many places in our lives where we use motors, and there are still many applications waiting for us to explore in the future.