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Fieldbus solutions market driven by emerging markets: ARC

The worldwide market for fieldbus solutions in the process industries is expected to grow at an above average compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for the next five years, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

The ultimate goal of fieldbus is interoperability of devices, which is only achievable if system testing and validation are available.

“The primary value proposition of fieldbus was initially thought to be reduced wiring, simplification of and reduction of installation, and reduced commissioning costs. However, to the contrary, end users reveal that they are actually realizing greater benefits on the operational expenditure side of their processes in the form of quality improvements because of bi-directional digital communication, and improved process efficiency due to linked intelligent devices that are capable of remote diagnostics,” said senior analyst Kevin Crisafulli, the principal author of ARC’s “Fieldbus Solutions for the Process Industries Worldwide Outlook” study.

Deploying fieldbus in a plant environment without utilizing a Plant Asset management (PAM) suite is like buying a car without an engine, says ARC. The diagnostics and device information available through PAM applications is an essential part of the value proposition of a fieldbus deployment. End users have indicated that remote diagnostics and maintenance capabilities continue to be primary selection criteria for those that purchase fieldbus control systems. Successful suppliers must emphasize their strengths in this area as a means to differentiate themselves from their competition. This point is important now more than ever as end users continue to decrease their engineering and maintenance departments.


ARC’s experience shows that there is a dichotomy in operations between “as built” and “as designed.” Users may have a vision of their ideal implementation, but in actuality, most do not fully utilize the asset management capabilities of fieldbus when used in conjunction with a PAM application. The reality is many users are in fact still spending too much time focusing on the initial cost of a project and reductions in capital spending than in the process improvements and operating expense reductions that can be achieved coupling PAM applications and fieldbus solutions.

Fieldbus solutions lend themselves particularly well to large new installations that can best leverage the benefits of the technology. Consequently, the greatest growth will come from the emerging markets of China and India. With a CAGR of more than 24 percent, Asia will be the fieldbus growth engine, similar to that of the process automation industry. Latin America is expected to experience the next highest growth rate of over 10 percent; however, the region still accounts for just a small percentage of the total fieldbus market. The developed regions are expected to experience less than average growth, particularly in North America. However, as suppliers develop improved retrofit fieldbus solutions, and end users continue with migration projects, ARC expects fieldbus will be implemented more rapidly in these regions.

For more information on this study, visit