Discrete sensor sales to rebound sharply in 2010, says ARC Advisory Group

Sensors used for discrete applications are expected to strongly rebound in 2010, according to an ARC Advisory Group study, "Proximity Sensors Worldwide Outlook."


Sensors used for discrete applications are expected to strongly rebound in 2010, according to a recent ARC Advisory Group study. "Sensor suppliers have struggled a lot during the 1990s and all major suppliers developed strategies like brand labeling, partnerships, and modular design. The current economic climate is increasingly putting these strategies to the test," according to Florian Güldner, analyst and principal author of ARC's " Proximity Sensors Worldwide Outlook ."

The study says that 2012 proximity shipments will exceed those of 2008 .
Main market drivers are emerging economies, particularly China and India, which are seeing increased investment and increasingly automated production. The second largest drivers are industries that have a stable demand for investment, the report says, since consumption is stable. These include food & beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Keeping sensor costs low

To lower production costs, sensor suppliers apply strategies also used by other manufacturers facing the build-versus-buy decision, Güldner suggests, including the following.

- Modular design builds on a standard set of components and interfaces within the sensor that creates reusable subsystems that can be produced in large volumes and used across multiple product families. This enables suppliers to buy certain modular components built by a third-party supplier.

- Brand labeling purchases and resells sensor lines or complete portfolios. Some deals are hidden; others are open collaborations.

- Network connections: CompoNet, promoted and supported by ODVA, and IO-Link, promoted and supported by Profibus are two newer sensor network options. IO-Link adds intelligence and flexibility into a standard 24 V cable, CompoNet focuses on cost and speed. Currently, CompoNet is gaining most traction in Asia (driven primarily by Omron in Japan), and IO-Link is gaining most traction in Europe (driven primarily by Siemens in Germany), Güldner says.

Read more about proximity sensors from Control Engineering .

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering www.controleng.com