Demand for Smart Sensors and Rising Price Pressure
Photoelectric sensors are used in all industries as light barriers, diffuse sensors, or fiber optical sensors. Demand for photoelectric sensors is influenced mainly by the overall global investment climate. Other factors that impact growth are development in the automation market, needs of end users, and innovation in the photoelectric sensor market.
A major trend in the photoelectric sensor market is smart and flexible sensing. This trend goes hand in hand with the demand for more flexible machinery in key vertical markets such as food & beverage. Product lifecycles are getting shorter and this trend will accelerate over the forecast period. The trend towards more intelligent sensing is supported by the increasing acceptance of IO-Link, a protocol that supports remote sensor calibration and the exchange of process data modulated on top of the sensor signal.
While photoelectric sensors are becoming smarter and more intelligent, they also face increasing competition from vision sensors as well as from ultrasonic proximity sensors. In many areas, photoelectric sensors can compete only on price. The current price erosion is expected to continue.
Suppliers of photoelectric sensors are eager to avoid price erosion and are creating customer value through the portfolio rather than through products, or by developing more specialized, application specific sensors.
The market for photoelectric sensors is very competitive and suppliers have developed various strategies to differentiate themselves. ARC recommends the following strategies:
- Avoid price competition
- Develop a modular sensor design
- Use brand labeling wisely
- Offer network technologies
- Search for new markets opportunities
- Move away from product business
- Get closer to customers
- Employ intelligent sourcing strategies
- Identify and focus on growth markets along the business cycle