ARC Report: Simulated training a growth trend

Projected growth to top 9% a year over next five years, study finds.


Training is a growth market, and a recent study by the ARC Advisory Group points to the growth in the operation training simulator market.

The OTS market was at $450 million in 2012, and the ARC report projects continued growth in this sector through 2017 by about 9% per year over the next five years.

“The OTS market is at a pivot point with factors that all lead to an expanding market for the operator training simulation solutions for the process industries, particularly in the nuclear, oil and gas, and metals and mining industries,” said Janice Abel, principal consultant for the ARC Advisory Group and author of the study. “Key trends such as the aging workforce, the new digital generation worker, emerging market workers, safety and risk avoidance factors are all pointing towards OTS market growth.”

Loss of worker knowledge due to a retiring workforce, operational safety pressures, risk and regulatory concerns, and performance are all impacting manufacturing.  The younger digital generation worker that is replacing the current workforce lacks experience gained over a lifetime that can be used to operate a plant safely and efficiently.  In some emerging countries, workers change jobs on average every two years, and this too is a driver for additional OTS solutions.  “To retain knowledge, improve safety, and avert potential disasters, workers are receiving improved training using simulation solutions and this trend will continue,” Abel said. “The OTS market will benefit from a perfect storm of factors that all point to growth in the operator training simulator market for the process industries.”

Companies are losing their most experienced operators, yet continue to push operations’ limits for economic reasons.  Operators with experience are harder to come by.  All these factors increase the risks associated with operating a plant or asset safely.  In addition, the pressures of increasing government regulations to maintain safe, environmentally compliant operations while being capable of running the process efficiently and profitably are more important than ever.

Another key factor is the recognition regarding the role simulation plays in developing the next generation of worker (aging workforce issues) and how the tools can be used to capture previous generation knowledge.  The expected turnover of personnel and the loss of decades of knowledge and experience are forcing companies to build more robust training programs.  Process simulation training is vital for preventing incidents and accidents and understanding how to respond to worst-case scenarios in real life. 

The research study includes information about software technologies, tools, and methodologies for high fidelity solutions that replicate and simulate plant operations exactly.  Generic simulators are process or application specific and are being used to train operators for the process industries.  Operator training simulators considered in the study includes 2D, 3D, generic high fidelity, dynamic high fidelity, and virtual type applications. 

For more information on this study, go to

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