Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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New study predicts growth in industrial computer market


September 18, 2012
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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A new study says the market for industrial computers will top $3 billion by 2015, thanks to the rapid growth of computer and communication technology.

 The new research from Frost & Sullivan’s Analysis of the Global Industrial Computers Market research that the global industrial computers market earned revenues of $2.13 billion in 2011 and estimates this to reach $3.22 billion in 2015.

“Currently, competition has intensified across all industries, leading companies to increase their process efficiency, quality and productivity, thus raising the need for industrial computers,” Frost & Sullivan research analyst Katarzyna Owczarczyk said in a statement.  “In each industry, automation systems have progressed beyond programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems to include robotics or machine vision systems.”

While competition is heating up at a global level, and computer technology is striving forward at an increasing rate, most companies prefer to make immediate and maximum profits by using the latest technologies available. This is creating a need to expedite the decision-making process for investments into the industrial computers market, as companies aim to refresh and update their processes with modern technology to remain competitive.

“Key factors to establishing successful automation systems include faster and more reliable networking solutions such as industrial computers that, when combined with advanced process control software, function as automation supervisors with the ability to connect external machines and plants,” said Owczarczyk. “Furthermore, recent increases in computational and storage capability and the integration of several tasks on one platform have allowed for the creation of computing platforms capable of recording and analyzing terabytes of raw data, resulting in increased process efficiency, quality and productivity.”

The industrial computers market has thrived in the Far East – especially in South Korea, Taiwan and China. These countries have produced industrial computers, exporting them at extremely low prices. As their quality matches the expectations of the Western market, the continued increase in competition from the Far East has put pressure on the established European market players.

“With many end users being price sensitive and importing inexpensive products from Asian countries such as China or Taiwan, it is expected that these countries will penetrate the market as low cost options, especially among the small and medium sized companies, which cannot afford high price, best quality products,” said Owczarczyk.

European and American industrial computer suppliers are therefore forced to keep their prices down in order to compete, which may be difficult to achieve due to higher production costs. This in turn puts pressure on industrial computer manufacturers to drive down prices, as customers will be seeking to reduce their own costs. The impact of this restraint remains strong in the short and medium terms, as many end users – especially in the Asian and Eastern European countries – will prefer low cost industrial computers.

“Once end users recognize the need of having highly effective machines, the adoption is expected to increase,” said Owczarczyk.