Machine safeguarding is the fastest growing segment of the overall discrete manufacturing automation market, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study. The worldwide market for machine safeguarding solutions is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.5% over the next five years. The market was $1.5 billion in 2006 and is forecasted to be more than $2.8 billion in 2011, reports research director Sal Spada in ARCs Machine Safeguarding Solutions Worldwide Outlook.
The overall safeguarding market is growing as a direct result of the continued demand for industrial machinery. The challenge to suppliers of machine safeguarding components is that increasingly more control reliable safeguarding components are entering the market, says Spada.
Safety Raises Productivity
Global manufacturers view safety as a means to offset the decline in the availability of a large skilled labor pool, according to the report. Strategic safety initiatives have moved to the forefront of critical topics for manufacturers due to an increased awareness of total return on investment. In addition to ensuring worker safety, manufacturers are learning how an intelligent safety strategy can become a competitive advantage rather than a cost burden. As the availability of control-reliable servos, fluid power, and PLCs emerge on the market, safeguarding solutions in these sectors are threatening the traditional safety relay market sector, says Spada.
Consulting Services and Skilled Sales Channel Increasingly Important
Consulting services are increasingly more important in the selling process to assist machine builders in making the right choice for their particular application, explains Spada. In many ways, the machine builder today is faced with the same challenges faced when seeking to create the optimal mechatronic solution for the machine. In many cases, it required a completely new approach to the design of the machine, as the optimal balance between mechanical, electrical, and software became critical to achieving higher productivity and reliability from a machine design.
Far East Offers Largest Opportunities
The highest growth markets for machine safeguarding are China, Japan, and India, according to the study. Japan is experiencing significant growth as the aging population exits the work force, says the report. The Japanese government has mandated that companies with more than 20 workers must purchase machinery and equipment with safety integrated solutions. China, in contrast, is driven by the major growth in tourism and infrastructure projects. Also, the transfer of production to China by major global manufacturers is moving a safety mentality to the region, argues the report.