25 Jul 2024


Machine safety is `fastest growing` automation sector

Machine safeguarding is the fastest-growing segment of the discrete manufacturing automation market and will expand from $1.5bn last year to more than $2.8bn by 2011, according to a new study. This growth – equivalent to a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 12.5% over the five-year period – is the result of demand for industrial machinery expanding at an unprecedented rate in almost every sector of the market, says the analyst, ARC.

The fastest growth is occurring in China, Japan, and India, it adds. Japan, in particular, is experiencing significant growth partly because the Japanese government has mandated that machinery bought by companies with more than 20 workers must incorporate safety functions.

As major manufacturers transfer production to China, they are bringing a safety mentality with them, ARC points out.

The emergence of equipment such as PLCs and drives with built-in safety features is threatening the traditional safety relay market sector. “The challenge to suppliers of machine safeguarding components is that increasingly more control reliable safeguarding components are entering the market,” says Sal Spada, ARC’s research director and principal author of the new report. “This is pulling some of the growth away from the traditional safety relay module market.”

Global manufacturers view safety as a way to offset the decline in the availability of a large pool of skilled labour, the report suggests. Strategic safety initiatives have become increasingly important for manufacturers due to an increased awareness of total return on investment. As well as ensuring worker safety, manufacturers are learning how an intelligent safety strategy can become a competitive advantage rather than a cost burden, ARC says.

It adds that consulting services are becoming increasingly important in helping machine-builders to make the right choice for their particular application.