Globalization drives PLC market growth


Emerging markets' heightened demand has created robust growth for the global programmable logic controller (PLC) market. PLCs' worldwide market should grow at a compound annual rate of 5.9% over the next five years. The PLC market was nearly $7 billion in 2004 and is forecast to exceed $9 billion in 2009, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study. This would include process and hybrid applications.

Although overall capital expenditures have remained flat in previous years, globalization is increasingly causing manufacturers to allocate ongoing investments towards automation to drive down costs and raise product quality. A modest turnaround in overall capital spending, in 2005 and beyond, is expected as manufacturers gear up to meet rising global demand.

Demands for open standards, multi-control disciplines, modular architecture, and comprehensive automation solutions software are leading to PLCs' expanded roles, especially for high-end applications. Consequently, the high-end PLC will shift towards the PAC (programmable automation controller) for plant automation.

Pressure for new infrastructure, an expanding manufacturing base, and modernized plants in many developing countries in Asia, is driving market growth. The outlook, through 2009, envisages new dynamics in Japan and Latin America—creating new opportunities for PLC suppliers.

Globalization also has fostered PLC market warfare, with suppliers vigorously: implementing strategies to expand their market share in developed regions; rapidly gaining market share in developing regions; and staying vigilant in their home markets to fend off non-indigenous suppliers.

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—Richard Phelps, senior editor, Control Engineering,

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