Lulls are briefly slowing some controls markets

Like temporarily winded runners, some sectors of the U.S. economy and the controls and automation field seemed to spend late 1997 and early 1998 catching their breath. However, it's likely they'll soon regain their blistering long-term pace.While some research indicates cooling in several controls and automation areas, most also project the overall market will experience even more growth ...

08/01/1998


Like temporarily winded runners, some sectors of the U.S. economy and the controls and automation field seemed to spend late 1997 and early 1998 catching their breath. However, it's likely they'll soon regain their blistering long-term pace.

While some research indicates cooling in several controls and automation areas, most also project the overall market will experience even more growth as the new millennium begins. For instance, North American robotics firms experienced a 22% drop in units ordered and a 9% decline in units shipped in 1Q98 compared to 1Q97 (see chart), according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA, Ann Arbor, Mich.). "We had a terrific surge in the past five years with shipments up 172% and new orders up 131%. So we knew the pace would slow at some point, but we expect growth to resume soon," says Donald Vincent, RIA's executive vice president.

Likewise, orders booked for U.S. industrial valves were down just under 2% during 1997, according to the Valve Manufacturers Association of America (VMA, Washington, D.C.). VMA's survey of 70 companies found that 80% believe April 1998 shipments and orders will meet or exceed the same month a year earlier, and 90% expect 2Q98's orders and shipments to outstrip 2Q97.

Though some future gains may not be as quick as those in recent years, demand for U.S. controls is still expected to increase 6.6% per year through 2002 to $13.7 billion (see chart), according to a report, Industrial Controls , by the Freedonia Group Inc. (Cleveland, O.). The study expects gains to be fueled by a healthy maintenance, repair, and operations after-market, as controls-containing equipment bought in the 1990s is maintained and repaired. However, demand for controls from OEMs will likely decelerate due to cyclical slowing in fixed investments as the recent economic expansion matures, adds the report.

Similarly, a study by Venture Development Corp. (Natick, Mass.) discovered that use of device and sensor buses by end-users and machinery OEMs has increased during the past two years, though the rate of increase appears to be slowing (see chart). The U.S. Market for Industrial Automation Products Incorporating Device/Sensor Buses also revealed that as the share of OEMs of end-users and OEMs using these buses increases, those considering using the buses has decreased. The study further found that more instrumentation/control OEMs are offering devices for the buses.

U.S. Industrial Controls Supply and Demand
(in millions of dollars)

Item

1992

1997

% growth ('92-'97)

2002

% growth ('97-'02)

Source: The Freedonia Group Inc., Cleveland, O., 1998

Industrial control sales

6,320

9,930

9.5%

13,650

6.6%

Advanced:

2,676

4,820

12.5%

7,075

8.0%

PLCs

831

1,480

12.2%

2,125

7.5%

Adjustable speed drives

664

1,095

10.5%

1,550

7.2%

Other hardware

753

1,415

13.4%

2,075

8.0%

Software

428

830

14.2%

1,325

9.8%

Conventional

3,644

5,110

7.0%

6,575

5.2%


Author Information

Jim Montague, news editor jmontague@cahners.com




No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Robotic safety, collaboration, standards; DCS migration tips; IT/OT convergence; 2017 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey
Integrated mobility; Artificial intelligence; Predictive motion control; Sensors and control system inputs; Asset Management; Cybersecurity
Big Data and IIoT value; Monitoring Big Data; Robotics safety standards and programming; Learning about PID
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This article collection contains several articles on how automation and controls are helping human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software advance.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me