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Instrumentation Makers Must Shift Strategies to Thrive

After last year’s market declines, projections call for little growth for vendors in 2010, but opportunities await those who know where to look, says research firm.

The North American market for process instrumentation and automation (PI&A) products fell by more than $1 billion in 2009, from its historic high of $7.2 billion in 2008, according to estimates by the Global Foresight Group (, a Minneapolis-based market research firm. The company expects 2010 to be flat or only slightly up over 2009 with more significant annual growth beginning 2011.

But that’s not to say that there won’t be opportunities this year for PI&A vendors, says the Group, which specializes in market research and analysis for instrumentation and automation suppliers. In a White Paper titled “Growth Opportunities 2010 and Beyond,” the company looks at the North American market, and identifies seven areas—including industry wide and niche applications—in which it believes PI&A suppliers will find growth opportunities in 2010 and beyond.

These opportunities include:
•    Stimulus spending. Funding will provide opportunities for PI&A bookings directly in the electric utilities and water and wastewater industries as well as indirectly through road and bridge construction, and buildings projects through increased demand for primary metals, chemicals and mining products.
•    Oil and gas industry. The development of unconventional gas sources and continuing deepwater projects will result in PI&A bookings opportunities.
•    Field instrumentation and valve services. This will become a significant revenue source for suppliers as the installed base of PI&A products ages and core skills leave the process industries and are not replaced, the Group says.

Other areas that will see growth are the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and semiconductor equipment industries. “PI &A suppliers need to make changes in their business planning to avoid wasting resources in stagnant markets and, more importantly, identify and exploit growth opportunities for 2010 and beyond,” says Mike Willey, Managing Partner at the Global Foresight Group.

Global Foresight Group

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