PLC growth to buck automation downturn

Two reports just published focus on the automation market generally, and the PLC market in particular, and paint a mixed picture for this sector.

Despite its maturity, the European automation market has achieved strong growth over recent years, particularly in the market for PLCs. The PLC market has grown an average of 3.4% each year for the last five years, but a new report from Datamonitor – entitled Global Control Systems – indicates that this growth is unsustainable over the next five years. It highlights a slowing in the growth for the PLC market, and a decline in the DCS sector. It also reports that, although the European PC-based controller market has received a significant boost for the automotive industry, it requires far greater acceptance before the technology will boom.

The findings of the Datamonitor report is corroborated by and expanded in the recent survey findings of Frost & Sullivan, detailed in a report entitled World Programmable Controllers Markets. It also acknowledges the significant growth in the PLC market in recent times, due to technological advancements resulting in increased capability and functionality. The report recognises that there is now increasing pressure on the PLC market, but still predicts some steady growth. Key to this growth, it says, are factors including technological improvements, such as increases in processor speed, open hardware and software architecture, compatibility with Windows NT and CE platforms, and integration with business and information systems.