The worldwide PLC market will grow at 6.5% compound over the next five years from nearly $9.0bn in 2007 to over $12bn in 2012, according to ARC’s newly published ‘Programmable Logic Controller Worldwide Outlook.’ 2007 saw strong growth in Asia and Eastern Europe and, while a cooling-off period is expected, automation demand is expected to continue to grow during the forecast period. ARC identifies growing demand for programmable automation controllers (PACs) capable of providing real-time logic, motion and process control together with HMI and other functions on a single platform. With major vendors extending PLC functions beyond pure logic, especially in higher end models, it sees PLC-based PAC market growth outstripping overall PLC market growth. Most of today’s small and large PLCs and even some micro PLCs will morph into PACs, it predicts, with pure PLCs becoming confined to the nano and lower micro level. PLC applications, it concludes, are set for growth across discrete, process and hybrid sectors as manufacturers respond to the need to raise productivity while reducing energy consumption.