2012 will be another strong year for PLCs, IPCs, operator terminals
By the end of 2010, the world market size for programmable logic controllers (PLCs) is “estimated to have surpassed its 2008 level, almost as if the recession never happened,” according to Alex Hong, IMS Research analyst, control and automation.
“This represents a much faster recovery than most other automation equipment markets, where 2008 levels are not expected to be beaten until the end of 2011,” Hong noted. Growth varies by region, of course.
“Asia will continue to be the main contributor to PLC market development. China is now the most significant global machinery producer, largely because of its position as the world’s primary manufacturing base. The recent recovery of EMEA and the Americas has driven strong export demand and, in spite of the recovery seemingly faltering amid a flurry of recent negative news, this will continue in the longer term. This export demand, coupled with blooming domestic needs, will inspire new automation plant investment and construction. Further, while automation demand in India is relatively lower, there are end-user projects performing quite well in the region, such as automotive. Overall, the potential market for India is huge, suggesting much room for growth developments. Based on these factors, China and India will lead the developments for PLCs in Asia Pacific with a relatively high growth in 2011, projected to be nearly 20%; future annual growth is anticipated to be in the double digits over the next four years.
“Historically the U.S. has represented the main driving force in the Americas region, and it enjoyed a strong recovery in 2010. However, it is no longer the only country in the Americas that will contribute significantly to this region’s future development. Brazil, as the one of the most important countries in Latin America, is a rapidly emerging market for automation equipment. Its strength in end users, notably within the oil and gas industry, coupled with the upcoming Olympic Games in 2016, will stimulate further automation developments and infrastructure investments. Having said this, the U.S. will remain the core contributor for future PLC developments in the Americas. The overall market is projected to enjoy a growth rate of 11.5% in 2011; afterwards it is projected to return to more stable growth at the single-digit level.
“Western Europe is the most important market for EMEA, as Germany led the way and was the first country coming out of the recession. Germany will continue to be the market leader in the PLC market and be the main driving force for future demand. Greece and Spain, as mentioned in previous graph, are still struggling with their sovereign debt. However, because these two countries are not major markets for PLCs, they aren’t expected to significantly affect the entire EMEA development. The emerging markets in Eastern Europe, where automation level is relatively low but growth is rapid, will make up for some of the negative growth regions. As the EMEA market is mature, the PLC growth in EMEA will be relatively slow at 10.4% growth in 2011. Similar to the Americas, this region is expected to retain a single-digit growth rate over the next few years.
“Summarizing these points, growth at the world level in 2011 is projected to be 12.5%,” Hong concluded.
IPCs and OITs
As for industrial PCs and operator interface terminals (OITs), Mark Watson, research manager, control and visualization for IMS Research, said, “the general sentiment of suppliers is that 2012 will be another strong year. They continue to have full order books at least for the first 6-9 months…. This is somewhat surprising, when we see endless doom-and-gloom articles in the media about the increasing likelihood of a global double-dip recession. Recent data also shows that both the IPC and operator terminal markets fared well in third quarter this year. World IPC figures for the first three quarters of 2011 were up over 24% on the same period in 2010. Comparably, regional growth figures of 18%, 29%, and 23% were estimated for Americas, Asia Pacific, and EMEA respectively; although Asia Pacific revenues did drop slightly in the third quarter this year following a very strong result in the second quarter.
“The operator-terminal quarterly market tracker of IMS Research recorded similar results. Operator terminal revenues from the Americas, Asia Pacific, and EMEA all had estimated strong growth in the first three quarters of 2011. Each region was up by 32%, 19%, and 12% respectively compared with the same period in 2010,” Watson said.
Read more from both analysts and others from IMS Research.