The influence of information and communication technologies on automation is growing. The upcoming Interkama will show how corporate integration increases.
According to experts, the world market for process automation will be between $ 40 billion and $ 42 billion this year. And it will continue to grow at an estimated rate of 8% per year. The most substantial growth is expected in Asia. The world market is shared by manufacturers from America, Europe with the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
US companies are currently at the forefront of IT solutions, while Europe is ahead in process-related components such as sensors and Fieldbus devices.
This year’s Interkama President, Dr Uwe Martens, identifies several factors as the causes of the growth expected for the beginning of the decade:
- Cost pressure in the chemical industry will lead to increased automation in the manufacturing processes
- Increasing demands on safety and environmental standards also in the young industrialized countries
- Increased functionality thanks to IT technology and digital communication.
The interaction between the automation markets and the process markets is driving this change, for example, in the chemical industry, pharmaceuticals, food, oil and gas, paper and pulp, and water and waste management.
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More Information About The Technology Drives The Automation
At the same time, the markets are facing a dramatic change in their structures.
On the part of the providers, the Interkama President predicts far-reaching mergers and a drastic shrinking of the number of providers. He believes that only four will remain of the ten global generalists in today’s automation market. The number of process equipment suppliers will even shrink from 4,000 to just 400.
New fields of work arise for the automation technology suppliers through diversification into previously foreign industries. There are opportunities for automation in building services, such as remote meter reading for gas, water and power supply, facility management, plant operator companies, etc.
A change in values can be observed in automation. The focus is no longer only on certain levels of a company – classically, on pure production – but rather the entire company is moving into the direction of automation efforts. According to this, automation defines itself in the future as a company network for more competitiveness, more economic efficiency, economical use of resources, quality assurance, more security and adequate environmental protection.
“Innovation in automation is happening today,” “not least driven by the progress of information technology, that is, by the progress of microelectronics and system technology, communication technology and software.” According to Steusloff, information technology is also the essential basis for system solutions to emerge, which take into account and comprehensively meet users’ needs.
The presentation of such system solutions will be an outstanding feature of this year’s Interkama. The user/visitor should not only be presented with an extensive range of components that he can integrate himself, but the complex integration task itself will also be the subject of Interkama.
As an example of the information link within the entire company, Steusloff cites the use of data from measurement and automation technology to validate production processes. And the quality of the automation processes can also ensure the product quality, which is indispensable, for example, where legally regulated markets are involved – for instance, in the pharmaceutical industry.
Here, the verification of the product properties is indirectly based on the information generated in the individual measurement and control devices of the automation systems. For this, however, it must be ensured. The control quality is understood in its complex effect on the product quality.
Scientists are in demand here, and they can get new ideas from the exhibitors. Because in teaching measurement and automation technology, with the rapid progress of the supporting technologies from information technology, constant updating of the teaching content is necessary. Measuring, controlling and regulating are primarily seen in connection with the information implemented in the process. There will be an opportunity to discuss this new understanding of automation at the fair.