Global manufacturing strength helps PLC market grow

ARC study projects 33% growth; market wants programmable automation controller (PAC)


Strong economic growth in Asia and Eastern Europe significantly boosted the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) market in 2007. While economic expansion is expected to continue, future growth will be at a slower pace. The worldwide market for PLCs is expected to grow at a rate of 6.5% over the next five years. The PLC market reached nearly $9 billion in 2007 and is forecasted to grow to over $12 billion in 2012, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.
Robust investments in manufacturing and infrastructure industries continued worldwide. “Emerging economies, such as those in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and Eastern Europe, helped propel the growth of the PLC market, which was driven by increasing consumer demand from the growing middle class in those countries, adding new infrastructure within those countries to boost their quality of life, and a positive environment for capital investments in emerging markets,“ according to senior analyst Himanshu Shah , the principal author of ARC’s “Programmable Logic Controller Worldwide Outlook” ( ).
Globalization is causing manufacturing companies to invest in creating new capacities in various industries such as chemical, cement, metals, pharmaceutical, and textile. Building automation is also experiencing strong growth with massive commercial, industrial, and residential building projects around the world. PLCs, which are used across all major discrete and process industries, will continue to experience growth as robust, emerging economies create buoyant demand for increasing automation. While a cooling off period is expected, automation demand is expected to continue to grow during the forecast period.
The market is demanding the Programmable Automation Controller (PAC), a multi-disciplined controller capable of providing real-time logic, motion, and process control, in addition to HMI and other functions, on a single platform. Major automation suppliers have extended PLC functions beyond just logic, especially in higher end models. The PLC-based PAC market growth is expected to be higher than the overall PLC market growth. This growth will be driven by the logical extension of PLC functionality to a multi-discipline platform. ARC predicts that most of the small and large PLCs of today, as well as some of the micro PLCs, will morph into PACs, and the pure PLCs will remain at the nano and some of the micro level.
PLC applications cut across discrete, process, and hybrid automation segments, and are poised for steady growth across all manufacturing. Manufacturing companies, acutely aware of the need for more automation, and for both producing and saving energy to cope with rapidly rising energy demands and costs globally, are increasingly using PLCs.
In addition to the quantitative assessment of the PLC market, this report provides an insightful analysis of the products and strategies of leading PLC suppliers and explores issues that will impact this business in the future.
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