With significant energy consumption built into production, the chemical industry has been pushing to improve energy efficiency through improved processes, recycled waste, new renewable raw materials and more. Like other parts of the world, the chemical and petrochemical industry in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand is seeing a move toward improving energy efficiencies drive the growth of the automation and software market.
Recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan points to a number of trends affecting the region’s chemical and petrochemical industry. In addition to the energy efficiency drive coming from producers, other factors steering market direction include increasing environmental regulations, a growing focus on safety, continued shift of production to lower-cost countries, and a lack of skilled labor. All in all, Frost & Sullivan expects market earned revenues of $195 million in 2012 to reach more than $270 million in 2019.
Like the push for energy efficiency, increased focus on both carbon footprint and safety is expected to result in upgrades to control systems for chemical and petrochemical plants. “With most chemical and petrochemical plants running continuously throughout the year with no allowance for downtime, there is a need for highly redundant systems,” said Vineeth Purushotham, industrial automation and process control research analyst for Frost & Sullivan. “As a result, automation solutions such as distributed control systems are becoming popular owing to their redundancy and higher availability.”
The growing trend of shifting chemical and petrochemical plants to lower-cost, higher-output countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia provides significant opportunities for automation manufacturers in Southeast Asia. On the other hand, plants in Australia and New Zealand are also moving their operations to other lower-cost countries such as India and China, which could curb market potential in Southeast Asia.
The region’s chemical and petrochemical industry faces a lack of skilled labor for the installation and maintenance of automation systems—a fact that is deterring end users from shifting away from traditional legacy systems. Multinational automation vendors are looking to address this challenge by leveraging their talent pool from across the globe.
“Adopting the main automation contractor (MAC) approach will ensure the training of personnel working on automation,” Purushotham noted. “End users also prefer the MAC model as this single point of contact is the most convenient way to meet all their automation needs.”
Automation manufacturers in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand will also be scouting for mergers and acquisitions in a bid to provide integrated solutions and appeal to a larger consumer base, analysts said.