Machine safeguarding solutions growing at 8.4% rate

By Control Engineering Staff November 3, 2005

Machine safeguarding solutions is one of the highest growth segments in the industrial automation sector. Safety—human, machine, and environment—has moved to the forefront in manufacturing. The worldwide market for this sector is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4% over the next five years. In 2004 the market was over $1 billion and is forecast to exceed $1.5 billion in 2009, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

From the demand-side perspective, manufacturers are leveraging an intelligent safety strategy as a competitive advantage rather than a cost burden. Sal Spada, ARC’s director of research and the principal author of “Machine Safeguarding Solutions Outlook, said, “This paradigm shift on the demand side is a key contributor to the acceleration of the revenue growth of the overall market.”

The Safety Relay, which has dominated the myriad of safety solutions in the wide breadth of vertical machinery sectors, has come under strong attack from several directions, he says. Alternative architectures and integrated solutions, which include Safety PLC, configurable safety relays, and Safe Motion, are all competing for a share of the safety relay market. The analysis contained in the outlook report discusses the impact that each of these technologies has on each sub-sector.

The global market for machine safeguarding solutions remains highly fragmented overall, consisting of a diverse mix of suppliers with generally one area of specialization, the report says. Machine safeguarding has traditionally been a component business rather than a solutions or systems business. However, the market is now reshaping the supply side, as a new set of players is challenging the historically strong brands. Long-standing safety-component suppliers are being blind-sided by new technologies, acquisitions, and partnerships. In effect, the supply side is re-orienting to service the emerging requirements of the demand side, which includes manufacturing users and machine builders, the report says.

— Richard Phelps, senior editor, Control Engineering