Giving credence to the adage “a rising tide lifts all boats,” increased investment in automation technologies is being driven by a revival in global manufacturing, according to Frost & Sullivan.
In particular, infrastructure projects in the power, water and wastewater industries in emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil and the Middle East will contribute to market revenues, the firm reports. Additionally, rising capital investments in process and discrete industries, a declining workforce, global competitive pressures, and the convergence of operational technologies (OT) with IT have given a boost to the global automation market.
The North American shale gas and tight oil boom and its ripple effect in the rest of the oil and gas as well as chemical industries have further strengthened global demand for automation solutions. "Modernization efforts influenced by recovering economies in Europe will aid the uptake of automation systems," noted Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation and Process Control Senior Industry Analyst Naveen Kumar Ramasamy in a release. "Increasing capex in the Middle East industrialization and the industrial revival in emerging Africa will also spur the need for automation."
However, market participants are unlikely to fully capitalize on this potential as many critical automation product solutions are still proprietary and remain tied to legacy architecture or to certain standards. Developing collaborative solutions that synchronize seamlessly with existing legacy systems will be vital to encourage the move from legacy platforms.
"Raising awareness on the benefits of automation, such as reduced operational expenditures, increased efficiency, and higher profitability, will be crucial," advised Naveen Kumar. "Coupled with penetration of industrial Internet of Things and stronger convergence between IT and OT, this will aid the expansion of the global automation system market."
Within the U.S., one of the manufacturing industry's leading indicators, the Institute for Supply Management's PMI, has been on a steady increase for 15 months. The August PMI registered 59 percent, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from July’s reading of 57.1 percent, indicating continued expansion in manufacturing. August's PMI reflected the highest reading since March 2011 when the index registered 59.1 percent.