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Automation Awareness, Sustainable Growth Drive Asia-Pacific PLC Market

A growing preference for automation over manual systems bodes well for sales of programmable logic controllers in the region, study says.

The increasing awareness of automation and the sustainable growth prospects in major end-user industries have galvanized the Asia-Pacific programmable logic controller (PLC) market, encouraging it to live up to its impressive potential, according to a recent report from global consulting firm Frost & Sullivan ( Asia-Pacific end-users have begun to prefer automation to manual systems to optimize processes and thereby, improve productivity and reduce down time and human error, the company says. New Frost & Sullivan analysis finds that the Asia-Pacific PLC market is expected to earn revenues of $458 million by 2015.

Industries are increasingly demanding efficient factory automation of mechanical processes, and the PLC is perceived to be the first step toward complete automation. Once installed, the PLC system requires less maintenance and presents fewer operational challenges than other automation technologies. PLC companies are making the most of this inherent product advantage by focusing on new applications, moving away from the long-established hardware ladder logic to a more structured one using sophisticated software methodologies, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Water booms

The market is sustained by strong demand from traditional industries such as food and beverage, chemical and petrochemical, as well as emerging industries such as water/wastewater and life sciences. The booming water and wastewater industry with its need to minimize water losses and optimize the treatment process has particularly benefited the PLC market in the Asia Pacific, Frost & Sullivan said.

“Further, the food and beverage end-user industry, buoyed by population growth and rising standards of living in the Asia-Pacific, is sustainable and is likely to increase the uptake for PLCs,” says Frost & Sullivan Consulting Analyst Yandan Chen. “Meanwhile, major oil-and-gas companies continue to invest substantially in the Asia-Pacific and as these projects usually last long, PLC adoption in petrochemical plants is less vulnerable to economic downturns.”

However, that is not to suggest that the market is completely insulated from the effects of the slowdown. There has been a slight shrinkage in the market due to the decline in the general manufacturing industry and the sluggish consumer sentiment in North American and European countries.

Stay flexible

“Add to that the limited domestic market in this region for general manufacturing industry products and the PLC market participants have a real challenge on their hands,” notes Chen. “Therefore, in this ever-changing globalized industry, organizations need to be flexible toward adopting the latest technologies and trends.”

PLC vendors have to stay abreast of the market dynamics and react swiftly and appropriately. The best course of action in these straitened conditions is to constantly upgrade the technology and diversify the product portfolio to satisfy customer demands in a dynamic industry landscape, Frost & Sullivan said.

Frost & Sullivan

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