According to recent market study by ARC Advisory Group, the growth in the machine safeguarding market defied the global slowdown.
The market for machine safeguarding solutions continued to undergo rapid expansion in 2012 with double-digit year-on-year growth.
While dampened economic activity cast a shadow on the industrial automation market in the latter half of 2012, the machine safeguarding market continued to expand, despite the overall slowdown in machinery shipments.
New applications and increasing adoption of safety by every facet of the machinery market is expanding the market for safeguarding suppliers.
An increasing number of suppliers are entering the market as safety becomes a driving force across all industries and machine sectors.
The market continues to expand outside of its dominant discrete automation segments. Machine safeguarding suppliers are seeing a demand for products in the process- and energy-related industries.
Furthermore, two factors have helped drive growth in the Asian market. Domestically, Asian manufacturers are under pressure to improve safety in the manufacturing environments.
Countries in this region continue to follow the European standard and governments in Asia are modeling their machine safeguarding regulations after the European standards.
Secondly, Asian machine builders are seeking to increase business by exporting machinery to regions where they must comply with regional regulatory requirements.
Machine safety product specialists in the market are experiencing very strong growth by increasing their “brand labeling” for the larger automation suppliers.
This allows niche players to build a larger market share than would normally be possible using their own channels. Machine safeguarding specialists have developed a core strategy around brand labeling and licensing rather than trying to compete head to head with suppliers that offer a broad product portfolio. Other market players also practice brand labeling, but not as a singular strategy.
The use of contact-less interlocks has begun to accelerate as end users and machine builders alike now seek more reliable and easier-to-install solutions. The market will continue to seek technologically advanced solutions, such as non-contact sensors, that extended operational life and speed integration.
This trend leads to integrated more technology into the interlocks and safety relays. The use of intelligence in the switch technology is allowing prices to stabilize as customers immediately recognise the value.
The long-anticipated requirement in Europe to certify a safeguarding solution based on the EN ISO 13849 standard has finally been instituted. However, efforts are under way to merge the ISO 13849 and EN 62061 standards into ISO 17305 to make it less challenging for machine builders to employ the newly adopted standards.
“Machine builders want to be self-reliant, but the standards require a high level of expertise. While, consulting services are helping to fill the gap, it is not enough to allow the market to grow to its potential,” according to Research Director Sal Spada, the principal author of ARC Advisory Group’s “Machine Safeguarding Solutions Global Market Research Study”.