Manufacturers in developed economies have been at the forefront of adopting digital manufacturing to streamline production planning and improve their manufacturing efficiency, according to Frost & Sullivan.
The emerging global digital manufacturing market has immense potential for growth over the next decade. Frost & Sullivan's, Analysis of the Global Digital Manufacturing Market, finds the market earned revenues of $704 million in 2012 and is estimated to reach $928 million in 2016. The research covers applications in automotive and transportation, aerospace and defense, hi-tech and electronics and industrial machinery.
Developed economies are anticipated to dominate growth over the forecast period, with North America leading the way. The ongoing economic crisis in Europe, however, is likely to deter investments in new automation and control solutions within the region, slowing growth.
"The quest to reduce capital expenditure, shorten lead times, and boost productivity is expected to spur investments in digital manufacturing," noted Frost's & Sullivan Industrial Automation and Process Control Senior Research Analyst Karthik Sundaram. "The heightened emphasis on product innovation will catalyze enterprises to cultivate the digital manufacturing path for ensuring consistent business profitability."
At present, reported Sundaram, the digital manufacturing pursuit is more aligned toward large enterprises. Small and medium businesses do not achieve adequate return-on-investments when they adopt digital manufacturing.
Nevertheless, Frost & Sullivan believes that the trend towards product innovation across all end-user segments will boost market prospects. Besides product design, the ability of manufacturers to generate new products is greatly determined by manufacturing process planning.
"Digital manufacturing provides an able platform for discrete manufacturers to design and validate their manufacturing process in line with new product design and engineering requirements," Sundaram surmised. "This helps in considerable savings on costs incurred by the trial-and-error method that is popularly followed in the manufacturing landscape today."