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Global sales of PLCs bounce back after a sharp decline

22 January, 2015

After slowing sharply in 2012, the global market for PLCs (programmable logic controllers) has rebounded strongly and will expand from $10.4bn in 2013 to reach $14.6bn by 2018, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. Most of the growth is coming from sales of small- and medium-sized PLCs.

The report blames the 2012 slowdown on the uncertain economic scenario in the developed world at the time – most notably in the mature markets of North America and Europe – but adds that growth has returned subsequently to all regions. In particular, emerging regions such as Asia-Pacific are benefiting from increased activity in the construction, water and wastewater, and power industries.

In Europe, the uptake of PLCs is being driven by the need to enhance efficiency, comply with regulations and improve safety and control capabilities. Progress in the rest of the world is being fuelled primarily by the desire to optimise assets, engage in reliable process planning, and achieve operational agility, says F&S.

“With increasing customer demand and intense competition among tier-one companies, the global PLC market is poised to witness a surge in technology and pricing innovation,” predicts Frost & Sullivan’s industrial automation and process control analyst, Karthik Sundaram. “Market participants have been developing products with new design and control functions that surpass traditional definitions.”

The report suggests that for this innovation to have an impact, PLC manufacturers should focus on boosting the security of their hardware, software and network infrastructures. Because cyber-security is affecting the end-user perception of PLCs, addressing such threats will be important if the market is to continue to expand.

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