C&I reported last month that the automation software market was worth $1.9 million. It is claimed that the PC-based distributed control system (DCS) software is the fastest growing sector within that market, according to a series of reports by Datamonitor.
PC-based DCS software products now account for 16% of global demand, following strong growth, especially in the smaller automation markets. However, in the larger global markets, the key growth sector has been process automation products, including software suites, accounting for more than 40% of the market. The largest global markets, Germany, Japan and the USA, have had access to PC-based DCS software products for relatively longer than other markets so that the PC based DCS sector has actually been superseded by the rapid growth in the market for software suites. The introduction of high quality software packages at relatively low prices has reduced the average value of manufacturing automation software products but the volume of products has greatly increased. In the German market, software suites have achieved by far the strongest growth, increasing in value at an average rate of 71% between 1995 and 1999, whereas, PC based software has grown at an average rate of 30% over the same period. According to Datamonitor: ” These two sectors will be the key growth areas of the German and the global automation software market.” Software suites will grow at the expense of operator interface systems and software products.