Third-party I/O suppliers aren't quite primed for world domination, but they've been gaining increasingly strong footholds in niche markets, and have taken over one-fourth of the market for remote PLC I/O modules, according to a new report from IMS Research (www.imsresearch.com). Traditional PLC system suppliers still get the lion’s share of the I/O module revenue, but they have seen increasing competition from non-traditional PLC suppliers and third-party I/O suppliers.
Large system suppliers sell I/O modules as part of their total solutions across several industries, leaving niche industries more open to third-party I/O suppliers, which have been quicker to develop modules with advanced features.
The trend toward remote I/O modules has also helped, mixing and matching controllers and I/O to get the best fit at better prices. Also, as more vendors adopt Ethernet for communications between controllers and I/O modules, the open systems have made it easier to use a controller from one vendor with I/O from another, expanding third-party device possibilities.
The situation is a good one for users, who benefit from increased competition driving new features and a better price-performance ratio, according to IMS Research.