Batch control market to exceed $3.2bn

Shipments of batch control systems worldwide are set to exceed $3.2 billion by the end of 2005, compared to $2.4 billion last year.

Shipments of batch control systems worldwide, including hardware, software, supplier and third party services, are set to exceed $3.2 billion by the end of 2005, compared to $2.4 billion last year.

According to Batch Control Systems Worldwide Outlook, a recently released study from ARC Advisory Group, the need for traceability and increased EPA and FDA requirements is fuelling the growth of batch control systems in North America, Europe and the rest of the world. With the approval of electronic batch record and signature by the American Food and Drug Administration, there is now greater incentive for regulated industries, such as pharmaceutical and biotech, to move to paper-less systems.

ARC Vice President Asish Ghosh commented: ‘Many companies in these regulated industries are already using electronic data collection to produce paper records but they do not comply with the new regulations. Consequently, many batch control systems have to be significantly upgraded or replaced to reach compliance. This is leading to increased investments in batch control systems.

‘The growth in e-business and the need to optimise the supply chain are increasing the need for real-time plant and production information, which is fuelling the growth of manufacturing automation and its integration into business systems. Market globalisation and increased competition are also fuelling the need for multifunction plants with improved operational efficiencies, which in turn are increasing the need for more efficient and flexible manufacturing,’ Ghosh added.

Large, sophisticated users are now demanding comprehensive and integrated batch control solutions with seamless interfaces to production management and business planning systems. Manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals are building flexible plants where many different products may be manufactured, and product changes can be made more quickly and easily. This is creating demand for more automated batch control systems.

The report concludes that the batch control system business is fast becoming a software and services business. Realising that hardware will become more commodity-like in the future through standardisation, most batch control system suppliers are seeking to increase revenues from software and services. Software is the largest batch control system growth area for the next five years, followed by maintenance and integration services.