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$79bn process automation market attracts discrete suppliers

15 January, 2007

The global market for process automation equipment will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% over the next few years, to reach a value of $79bn by 2010 — up from $58bn in 2005. The figures come from a new study by the ARC Advisory Group which reports that the process market is increasingly attrracting the attention of discrete automation suppliers who are striving to capture more of the hybrid and process business. It points out that many discrete suppliers now offer process portfolios and are boosting their presence in the process sector.

ARC predicts that the strong growth experienced in the process market over the past two years will continue as users and suppliers rethink the role of automation and its contribution to profitability and manufacturing success.

"Modern process automation plays a key role in enabling the integration of real-time visibility, agility, and speed into the performance management system," explains the report`s principal author, ARC senior analyst Himanshu Shah.

The growth in the process sector is coming not just from the boom economies of Asia, but also from the Middle East, where investment is expanding outside the traditional oil, gas and refining industries. While the developed economies of Japan, North America and Western Europe will experience slower growth, they are still benefiting from the need to modernise their ageing automation infrastructures, ARC states.

In a separate report, ARC forecasts that the global market for HMI software will expand at a CAGR of more than 9% over the same period, surging from $650m in 2005 to $1bn by 2010. "Over the last two years, HMI software has been propelled into applications that have previously been custom or proprietary," says ARC research director, Craig Resnick. "This has caused unprecedented market growth, and we expect the momentum to continue." Sales in Asia Pacific and Latin America will grow at around twice the rate of Europe and North America, ARC suggests. One key driver will be the release of the OPC UA (Unified Architecture) specifications for moving data between the plant floor and the rest of the enterprise.

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