The world market for control and processing equipment hit a speed breaker during 2008-2009 as reduced manufacturing activities and declines in industrial production temporarily weakened the business case for industrial automation technologies. Slowing levels of economic activity, complete collapse of global production and trade, fall in industrial production, commercial activity, plant closures, capacity idling, scaling back of operating capacity and the resultant sputtering investments in industrial production resulted in broad based declines in manufacturing execution systems and manufacturing automation technology. One of the causalities of the recession has been the capital goods sector, which received the hardest blow from the financial hardships inflicted by the downturn. Therefore, industrial machinery and process equipment have come directly under the yoke of recession induced capital rationalization process with freezing of capital expenditure in the manufacturing and industrial sectors indirectly impacting the market for control and processing equipment. Fall in the business confidence index, tighter lending standards, rising borrowing costs and the resulting shortages of credit availability to finance investments in new machinery, new plant establishments, upgradation, renovations and refurbishments, represented common woes that cut through all end-use sectors, thus weakening demand for products and services across the length and breath of the manufacturing technology/system's value chain.
Against this backdrop, demand for control and processing equipment softened with the number of new orders posting declines. The decline was especially steep in the developed markets, with the United States leading the pack, falling from grace by over 19 percent. Outsourcing and shifting of production activities to low cost destinations such as China and India also played instrumental roles in drying up the business opportunities in these markets. The ensuing lethargy in industrial automation in the United States, Europe and Japan forced significant declines in new orders for automation controllers, particularly programmable logic controllers and distributed control systems. The PLC market especially suffered due to the recession-induced slump in production in automotive, electronics and semiconductor industries, the product's primary end-use segments. Meanwhile, valves and actuators too suffered hurting declines in the market as key end-use sectors, strained by economic burden, cutback budgets for new installations and retrofit expenditure, and opted for only short-term strategic purchases. While short-term recovery from recession induced slump stands imminent in the immediate future, long-term revival in heady growth of the yesteryears will depend upon the evolution of new technologies and manufacturing methods.
The recession, interestingly, has not endangered the economic fundamentals of automation/control and processing systems, which continue to remain firmly rooted in advantages of manufacturing, production and labor cost efficiency. The fact is mirrored by the market's quick recovery staged in the year 2010. A key reason fingered for the quick resurgence is accumulation of postponed and deferred orders, and re-investment of manufacturing majors in plant renovation, and modernization and capacity expansions. Revival in end-use markets, such as, oil & gas, electronics/electrical, chemicals and petrochemicals, textile, plastics, pulp & paper, food and beverage, automotive, construction and primary metals, is being guided by improving consumer spends. Additionally, also emerging clear over the post recession horizon is the new age of thrift, wherein the prolonged financial hardships continue to chisel the emergence of post recession cost wary manufacturers keen on exercising renewed focus on long-term cost savings, and benefits. This trend therefore has, and will continue to witness manufacturers reevaluate investment priorities on technologies/products that help improve efficiency, and reduce costs, thus benefiting the market for control and processing equipment. Automation controllers, PLC in particular, for instance will find increased opportunities in the immediate future, as manufacturing and infrastructure sectors increase their investments on automation post recession, in order to increase machine productivity, save energy, reduce cost of operations, enhance existing facilities and become more sustainable.
Driving the market out of the recession are the emerging economies in Asia-Pacific. Robust industrialization, and increased manufacturing activity in most industrial sectors in developing countries such as China and India, offers a strong potential for industrial growth, which in turn creates increased demand for control systems and processing equipment in various sectors. As stated by the new market research report, Europe continues to remain the largest regional market for control and processing equipment. Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing regional market, displaying a CAGR of about 2.7 percent over the analysis period. By product, the control systems market represents the largest segment. The market for control systems, particularly distributed control systems (DCS) will be driven by the need to modernize aging installed base of DCS systems. The sensors, transducers and transmitters market remains the fastest growing product segment.
Major players in the marketplace include ABB, Cegelec, Danaher Corp., Dresser, Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser, GE Infrastructure, GE Fanuc Automation, Honeywell Industrial Automation & Control Solutions, Invensys PLC, Metso Automation Oy, MKS Instruments Inc., National Instruments Corp., Omron Corp., Rockwell Automation Inc., Schneider Electric SA, Siemens Energy & Automation Inc., Spectris Plc, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. and Yokogawa Electric Corporation.
The research report titled "Control and Processing Equipment: A Global Strategic Business Report" announced by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides a comprehensive review of market trends, issues, drivers, company profiles, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic industry activities. The report provides market estimates and projections in value sales for major geographic markets including the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe (France, Germany, Italy, UK and Rest of Europe), Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Latin America. Product segments analyzed include Control Systems, PLCs, Sensors, Transducers & Transmitters, and Indicators, Displays & Recorders, among others. For more details, visit the website below.