Process automation I/O module market driven by intrinsic safety

Friday June 07, 2013
Written by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
The market for process I/O module sales showed growth in 2012, yet with slower pace than in the previous two years, according to a new ARC Global Market Research Study. In 2013, ARC expects the growth to stay at a low level, but will pick up the pace in 2014 and beyond.  The market for process I/O modules is mainly driven by two forces:  an increasing need for intrinsically safe I/O modules and the increasing demand from the Middle East and the BRIC countries. While the process I/O modules market is large in Europe, Japan, and North America—and is expected to remain large—the growth regions will be Latin America, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, namely China, India, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and some other countries.  Looking at specific hardware types, intrinsically safe I/O modules, network adapters, and intelligent I/O will grow above the market average. “The product portfolio of many suppliers of I/O modules shows a broad bandwidth of different types.  While big suppliers leverage their installed base, third-party suppliers of process I/O modules concentrate on specialized I/O modules and compatible I/O modules that fit to the control systems of the big suppliers,” said Stefan Miksch, the principal author of ARC’s “Process Automation I/O Modules Global Market Research Study.” Intrinsically safe I/O modules are not a new type of I/O module nor have they changed in how they work.  The increasing amount of installed automation even in harsh and explosive environments makes intrinsically safe components essential.  In turn, the demand for intrinsically safe process I/O modules will grow above average and continue to do so beyond the forecast horizon of this study. The oil & gas and the electric power industry will be the fastest growing industries for process I/O modules.  Rising demand for energy and energy distribution will push these sectors above the average growth rates of other industries where process I/O modules are employed. As these two industries are expected to perform well over the next five years, the demand for explosive protection automation solutions will rise, and in turn push demand for explosive protected or intrinsically safe process I/O modules. Asia needs to be separated into the emerging and mature countries.  While emerging Asia will contribute to the growth of the process I/O module market, mature Asia, more precisely Japan as the biggest market for process I/O modules in this region, will show growth rates explicitly below average. Europe and North America still experience great uncertainty when it comes to the debt situation and financial markets and therefore growth rates in these regions are not expected to be at a significant high level.

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