European food, personal computer markets show continued growth


Wellingborough, UK— European markets for food and beverage processing equipment and for industrial PCs show steady and continued growth, according to recent studies by IMS Research . Demand for food and beverage processing equipment will increase steadily to more than€9.2 billion by 2009, growing at around 4% per year, says one report. In separate research, the EMEA (Europe, Middle-East, Africa) market for industrial PCs is projected to experience a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 8% through 2010 to reach nearly €750 million.

In the food and beverage area, developing regions such as the Russian Federation and Eastern Europe are expected to register the strongest growth, says IMS, with annual rates of around 6%. These regions have lagged Western Europe in consuming processed foods and beverages, the report goes on; however, rapid development and increasing consumer incomes are now leading to more demand for processed foods and beverages and developing the local market for processing equipment. In addition, new EU member states are seeking to expand food and beverage sales into the established Western European market.

“EU membership by 10 Eastern European countries in May 2004 is having a positive impact on economic activity in these countries in general, and on their food processing needs in particular,” said Don Tait, IMS senior analyst and report author. Use of faster and more automated food and beverage processing equipment within the industry can only be expected to rise, to improve capital efficiency, and reduce labor costs. Technical innovation is enticing producers to replace obsolete mechanical solutions with more versatile handling through robotics and more extensive use of PLCs, servos, and machine vision. Apart from higher output, this is offering greater flexibility and improved process control.”

In the industrial PC area, end-user demand for greater machine efficiency and flexibility is contributing to market growth. The recent introduction of dual-core processors is expected to have a significant impact, says the report, adding that the processors deliver considerably more processing capacity without a comparable increase in power consumption, boosting efficiency while reducing cooling requirements and operating costs.

The report also analyzed a variety of product types. It found that panel industrial PCs, at 47%, accounted for the largest market share in terms of revenue, and were expected to maintain that position through 2010. It also noted that industrial PC manufacturers are adopting a modular approach to enhance product flexibility and enable customization of input method, processor, cooling method, and screen size.

—Control Engineering Daily News Desk

Jeanine Katzel , senior editor

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