Entering a New Normal
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and PLC-based programmable automation controllers (PACs) are the most widely used controllers in the discrete manufacturing industries. In process manufacturing, PLCs are widely used for subsidiary activities and, at the upper end, PACs are beginning to increase their penetration for process control.
In this regards, PLCs mirror the overall automation market and this market study covers nearly all relevant aspects of todays’ industry.
The market is currently in a phase which it has not seen before: stagnation and very slow growth. Many hopes are associated with the new production paradigms IIoT and Industrie 4.0, but most suppliers struggle monetizing it.
The growth engines of the last years, the BRICs, are also losing their power and China is entering a new normal.
Suppliers take an increasing focus on adding value with software and services, and also soft factors play an increasing role, as PLCs commoditize.
Competition is a key aspect, as the market is not growing itself, it is the strategy and the go to market approach that defines winners and losers.
There are bright spots: robotics, plastics, the automotive market, but all of these growth phases are short and suppliers need to prepare to participate.
In the PLC/PAC market, different issues apply to suppliers, OEMs, and end users. Machine builders have different priorities than users. PLC suppliers must closely collaborate with their clients to generate value and thereby defend their market position. This study addresses key questions, such as:
- How can suppliers increase their value proposition?
- Are different strategies required for new installations vs. retrofit?
- Will new distribution channels be required?
- How critical is initial cost in relation to lifecycle cost?
- How will niche market products impact the total market?