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Batch control market heads towards $5bn

12 June, 2007

The global market for batch process control will expand at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 8.6% over the coming five years, taking it from $3.2bn in 2006 to more than $4.9bn by 2011, a new study predicts.

Although average selling prices for hardware will fall, this drop will be more than offset by increased revenues from software and services the report, from the ARC Advisory Group, predicts. According to ARC vice-president Asish Ghosh, who wrote the report, "this indicates that the rate of decline of the hardware price will have lesser significance on the sales price of batch control systems in the future".

The growth in the batch control market is being driven mainly by the expansion of the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries, economic growth in Asia and Latin America, and improved economies in North America and Europe. Other drivers include: a growing awareness of automation because of batch control standards; the demand for flexible production with frequent product changes; an increased requirement for comprehensive electronic batch reporting and tracking; and the need to replace older systems with more reliable modern systems.

The IEC 61512 (ANSI/ISA-88) batch control standard is providing benefits not only to users and suppliers of batch control systems worldwide, but also to those involved in other flexible manufacturing operations. According to ARC, the structure needed required for flexible manufacturing mirrors that required for many batch processes, even though the underlying process is often continuous or discrete.

This standard allows levels of hierarchy to be collapsed, eliminating one or more functional levels and making it adaptable for many different applications. The Make2Pack joint working group effort between the WBF (formerly the World Batch Forum) and OMAC (Open Modular Architecture Controls) User Group is developing standards for machine control based on ISA-88 standards.

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