Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Wireless market for process manufacturing to reach $1.1 billion in 2012

April 23, 2008
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Dedham, Mass. – The market for wireless devices and equipment in process manufacturing will grow to more than US$1.1 billion in 2012, a growth rate of 32 per cent per year, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study “Wireless in Process Manufacturing Worldwide Outlook.”

The study also found the market will change its character during the
period, as new standardized wireless sensing products and hardened
wireless local area networks (LAN) penetrate the process market.
Deployment of wireless in continuous process manufacturing industries
has lagged other manufacturing industries, such as automotive and
aerospace, because process plants are often larger and located mainly
outdoors, and because the presence of dangerous and potentially
explosive materials mandates use of equipment carrying special
Wireless process sensing is expected to be the fastest growing market
segment. Today it accounts for only a small portion of the total
market, but according to ARC, it will become the largest segment during
the next five years as the market absorbs a deluge of new wireless
sensing products that comply with wireless versions of industrial
standards. Two industrial networking standards, WirelessHART and
ISA100, both use the same sensor radio hardware as the ZigBee standard,
but with their own software. The driving force for wireless process
sensing is its dramatically lower installation cost, which ARC believes
will cause the normal change-averse process industries to use it
wherever they can, leading to more rapid adoption.
The study also found that Wireless LAN use will also grow rapidly,
spurred by the introduction of new access point products that can
safely be installed in the hazardous environments that may be present
in such plants. The longer range and clearer signals of future IEEE
802.11n wireless will also make them attractive to process industry
Another area of operations where improved (and wireless-enabled)
practices have high potential is major equipment “turnarounds”. These
are pre-planned major maintenance activities that are becoming
increasingly complex and involve huge numbers of coordinated tasks,
contractors, suppliers, and materials over ever-shorter outage periods.

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