Recovering from the economic downswing, process industries got back on track in 2010 and pressure transmitter shipments saw positive growth in subsequent years, according to Inderpreet Shoker, an analyst at ARC Advisory Group. However, the growth in 2012 was not as strong as the previous year. The European debt crisis and slowdown in China’s and India’s growth presented uncertainty in short-term expectations. The growth, however, was mainly due to growing industries such as oil & gas, chemical, and electric power.
The continued emphasis on Plant Asset Management (PAM) also proved to be a strong growth enabler for smart pressure transmitters. Manufacturers have begun to realize the cost saving benefits of implementing HART and other digital protocol standards to enable PAM solutions, particularly in the maintenance and operation phase of the asset’s lifecycle. Growth and spending for plant asset management systems continue to outpace that of the automation industry in general as end users seek to reduce maintenance cost and increase production availability using tools such as predictive diagnostics and software-based configuration solutions.
Owing to this asset management focus, the worldwide market for pressure transmitters will continue to grow next year according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.
Beyond basic replacement, users now have an opportunity to improve both the performance and availability of their plants by upgrading to highly sophisticated, intelligent pressure transmitters. By adding functionality, suppliers are able to deliver more value to the end users and hence able to command higher prices.
“Advanced transmitters, such as multivariable transmitters, wireless transmitters, and transmitters with diagnostic capabilities dictate higher prices and help drive the pressure transmitter revenues,” according to ARC analyst Inderpreet Shoker (firstname.lastname@example.org), the principal author of ARC’s “Pressure Transmitters Global Market Research Study” (www.arcweb.com/market-studies/pages/pressure-transmitters.aspx).
Increased Implementation of Wireless Technology, especially WirelessHART
The adoption of wireless field devices continue to affect the dynamics of the market for pressure transmitters and other field devices. Although wireless pressure transmitters represent a small portion of the overall pressure transmitter market, the wireless market is poised for strong growth over the forecast period.
Wireless technology allows users to install field devices in measurement points that previously were not feasible due to the high cost of wiring. This is particularly true for hazardous or inaccessible areas. Encryption and mesh networking technologies have largely addressed user concerns about the security and reliability of wireless transmission of process data. This is particularly true for monitoring applications.
Due to the tangible cost advantages, we are likely to see increased adoption of wireless-enabled measurements.
The IEC62591-WirelessHART standard helps users, many of whom have been non-committal or skeptical towards wireless, to more easily deploy wireless field devices or connect existing stranded assets (the majority of which are HART-compatible), to plant asset management systems.
Increased Implementation of Multivariable Transmitters
The emergence of multivariable pressure transmitters that measure two or more process variables in a single unit has been driving growth in recent years. Increased accuracy, multi-measurement capabilities, and wide applicability have caused sales of multivariable transmitters to increase at rapid pace.
Multivariable pressure transmitters are capable of transmitting multiple process measurements, such as differential pressure, gauge pressure, and process temperature (in conjunction with an external RTD or thermocouple). In large-pipe-size gas applications multivariable pressure transmitters can often replace more expensive technologies such as Coriolis flowmeters.
Multivariable transmitters are sold at a premium relative to conventional pressure transmitters; helping sustain revenue growth for suppliers.