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Process sectors move to embedded-PLC terminals

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Process sectors move to embedded-PLC terminals

September 25
13:17 2012

Wellingborough, UK – Cost and factory space requirements, particularly in the food & beverage and packaging sectors, are being a significant rise in global demand for operator terminals with embedded PLCs, IMS Research has found.

Sales of operator terminals with embedded PLC hardware will rise from $99 million in 2011, to approximately $148million in 2016; a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 9% over the period, predicts IMS.

The largest vertical sectors for these products in 2011 were estimated to be food, beverage and tobacco machinery; machine tools and packaging machinery.

These sectors together accounted for about 35% of sales revenue. The largest unit shipment growth is also forecast to come from the food & beverage machine builder sector, with annual shipments increasing by more than 5,000 between 2011 and 2016.

“There are two principle advantages for OEMs using operator terminals with embedded PLC hardware: price and footprint,” said Mark Watson, IMS senior research analyst. “Every component has an associated cost and space requirement. By combining two systems into one, both factors are reduced.

This enables further savings as the combined unit doesn’t require extra wiring to communicate between sub-systems and maintenance departments only need to support one product type.”

That said, the advantage is most significant for small machines where price and space are at a premium, contiued Watson. Manufacturers of larger machines, he said, typically have the space and the budget to adopt a traditional solution of separate operator terminal and PLC units.

“This solution also provides flexibility in terms of the component supplier of each unit and enables OEMs to cherry pick the most suitable two components for specific applications,” he commented.

This operator terminal type is forecast strong revenue growth to 2016. However, average selling prices are projected to decrease by approximately 3% per annum to 2016, notes IMS.

Suppliers of operator terminals with embedded PLC hardware, such as Pro-Face, Unitronics and Horner APG, will therefore have to work hard to maintain revenue growth as price pressure drives down selling prices over the next few years, the report concluded.

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