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17 January, 2020

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PC-based control sales `growing at 24% a year`

01 January, 2002

The market for software-based industrial controls is likely to expand by more than 24% a year over the coming four years, according to a new study*. Although PC-based logic controls will dominate initial sales, the take-up of soft motion controls "will make significant strides" by 2006, says the ARC Advisory Group.

ARC suggests that Open Control Software (OCS) now offers a viable basis for multifunction control systems, and says that the latest technology is both flexible and reliable.

"The landscape of the PC-based open control software sector has changed dramatically in the past two years," ARC reports. The market has been characterised by mergers, acquisitions and partnerships and most OCS suppliers have now moved beyond simple PLC replacement systems to offer integrated suites that include functions such as soft motion, soft CNC, batch management, HMIs, Web servers and databases.

ARC argues that as plants and factories move into the era of Internet-powered collaborative manufacturing, it will be vital to have networks of intelligent sensors and devices collecting and disseminating the data gathered at the lowest levels of production processes.

"The next generation factory architecture will close the loop from the `work` level of manufacturing to enterprise-level applications that depend on factory-floor data to implement the process of collaboration," the report says. "Factory-floor control systems powered by next-generation OCS will serve as the broker for the distribution of work-in-process information."

As these Web-enabled open control systems are put in place, the elusive promise of "sensor-to-boardroom" integration will become a reality, ARC predicts.

* Open Control Software Worldwide Outlook. Details from

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