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Economic turmoil will slow discrete automation growth

17 March, 2009

Recent economic events have badly shaken confidence in environments for capital investments, and as a result, growth in the global market for discrete automation systems will slow to 3.5% over the five years to 2012, predicts the US analyst, the ARC Advisory Group. It forecasts that the market will then be worth more than $22bn – up from $19bn in 2007.

“One reason the automation business did so well during the past few years, and will continue to do well after settling of recent economic turmoil, is the huge list of challenges and changing conditions in the global business environment that manufacturers must respond to,” says ARC senior analyst Himanshu Shah, the principal author of ARC’s Automation Systems for Discrete Industries Worldwide Outlook.
ARC says that the market is demanding PACs (programmable automation controllers) – the multi-disciplinary controllers that can provide real-time logic, motion, and process control, as well as HMI and other functions, on a single platform. PACs offer one programming and engineering tool as well as one programming language and a single tag database for complete systems.

In a second report, ARC predicts that the global market for production machinery automation – including AC drives, PLCs, and motion controls – will grow at a CAGR of 3.4% over the coming five years. It says the market was worth $18bn in 2008 and will expand to more than $21.2bn by 2013.

“Increasingly, machinery applications are moving to much higher speeds of operation as well as providing more capability to reduce changeover time,” says ARC research director, Sal Spada, the principal author of ARC’s Production Machinery Automation Worldwide Outlook. “Production raw materials are becoming less consistent as recycled materials enter the market. The result is that machine-builders need to consider a wider range of operation in the original design to accommodate changes.”

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