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Sales of PC-based controls set to soar above $400m

01 January, 2001

Sales of PC-based open control software (OCS) will mushroom from just $80m in 2000, to more than $440m by 2005, a new study* suggests. The report, by the ARC Advisory Group, argues that the market has moved from the early adopter stage to a period of expansion, and predicts that sales will grow at a compound annual rate of 49% over the coming years.

Users are now finding benefits from switching from traditional proprietary systems to software-based alternatives, reports Dick Slansky, an ARC senior analyst who was the study`s principal author.

"End users and OEMs are no longer questioning the reliability of PC-based solutions for machinery, and recognise that software solutions available today provide reliability that is equivalent to traditional solutions," he contends. "Leading automation suppliers such as Siemens, Rockwell, and Schneider now offer PC-based solutions, recognising that this market segment has taken on a life of its own."

PC-based products are evolving into integrated packages, Slansky suggests. "Suppliers are moving away from a business model of separate OCS product offerings that focus on the specific domains of control, such as logic, HMI, process control, and motion," he says. "Instead, they are offering the automation user integrated packages of applications that cover all of the control domains, and are able to provide a complete business solution. These integrated solutions will drive future growth in this market."

A key attraction of PC-based controls, according to Slansky, is the way that they can expand to meet new demands on the factory floor. "The attractiveness of platforms like NT, CE, and now NTE is that they offer complete interoperability and scalability," he says.

"Still, the biggest hurdle that faces the industrial automation user remains the implementation and integration of control systems," Slansky adds. "The OCS suppliers that will be successful in this market will be those that can offer fully integrated open systems that provide a complete solution for the user."

* Open Control Software, Logic & Process Worldwide Outlook - Market Analysis & Forecast through 2004. Details from

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