new market study by Venture Development Corp. (VDC) projects the most rapid growth for machine automatic safeguarding equipment in Europe and North America will be for programmable safety systems (safety PLCs).
The overall machine automatic safeguarding equipment markets are forecast to grow at compound annual growth rates of 7.4% for Europe and 12.5% for North America through 2007, according to the report. However, the small programmable safety system portions of these markets are forecast to grow at significantly higher rates of 22.3% and 30.6%, respectively. This difference is primarily due to the European market's level of maturity, as well as its further adoption of programmable safety systems for these applications.
There are concerns about the reliability and safety in the use of safety buses/networks for machine automatic safeguarding, particularly when safety and nonsafety data are handled by the same bus/network. Nevertheless, usage is expected to grow significantly over the forecast period, as the use of safety PLCs grows and reliability of operations with safety buses/networks becomes proven. Usage is particularly attractive when machines and controls become more complex (for example, requiring many emergency stops and/or safety gate switches with multiple actuators).
Benefits from use of safety PLCs and buses/networks include allowing greater integration of machine controls; capability for better and easier diagnostics where intelligence is provided down to device levels; and faster and easier maintenance.
VDC is an independent technology market research and strategy consulting firm that specializes in a number of industrial, embedded, component, retail automation, RFID, AIDC, datacom/telecom, and defense markets.