December 2008

Automation by the Numbers


The European Union's food safety agency approved two genetically modified (GM) corns in November. Europe's trading partners, primarily the U.S., have been annoyed at the EU for years over their ban on GM products. Scientists at the Parma, Italy-based European Food Safety Authority gave clearance to a Bt-11 corn seed made by Switzerland's Syngenta AG and the 1507 corn made by the U.S.-based Pioneer Hi-Bred and Dow Agro Sciences.


Recession or no recession, Asia's emerging economies will be buying a massive number of automobiles in the next decades. Most of them will run at least partially on electricity. In 2006, China had about 160 million motor vehicles. By 2050, it will have nearly 700 million, or almost three times the number of registered vehicles currently in North America.


Dow Chemical Chief Executive Andrew Liveris, in a recent speech to the Detroit Economic Club, cited a variety of economic statistics as evidence the U.S. industrial sector is suffering overall. Manufacturing currently makes up less than 12% of the U.S. economy, compared with nearly 22% of the U.S. economy three decades ago. He called for lower corporate tax rates, a new regulatory framework, and judicial reforms. "We're burying our manufacturers under red tape" when it comes to regulation, and the U.S. needs to resolve "the conflicts in law and regulation that hamper our abilities to do business efficiently and effectively."


Because of above average performance from the oil & gas, refining, utilities, and pharmaceutical industry sectors, the annual growth rate for the process instrumentation and automation (PI&A) industry will be about 3.8% through year 2010 in the U.S. Industry group MCAA also forecasted that Canada's rate will be 2.8%. The 2007 total market value for PI&A products is $7 billion in the U.S. and $812 million in Canada.