Automation by the Numbers
Flow Research says the increased cost of oil and heightened demand for natural gas have put a premium on custody transfer in the flowmeter markets. Coriolis flowmeter suppliers have responded with an entirely new line of Coriolis flowmeters: those with line sizes of 8 to 14 inches. Formerly, only Rheonik (now part of GE Measurement) offered Coriolis meters in line sizes above 6 inches. Now other suppliers have jumped in to take advantage of the growing demand for these high-value applications. The companies include Micro Motion (part of Emerson Process Management), Endress+Hauser, and KROHNE.
A research study from Flow Research, The World Market for Coriolis Flowmeters, 4th Edition, finds that the Coriolis flowmeter market is among today’s fastest growing flowmeter markets, spurred by growing energy requirements. Worldwide sales for Coriolis flowmeters in 2011 were $1.1 billion, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 10.6 percent through 2016. The forecast is for the worldwide Coriolis market to exceed $1.8 billion in 2016.
The study also finds that Coriolis flowmeters are the most accurate meter available today and that end users continue to view this quality as decisive within many measurement applications. The worldwide growth in liquefied natural gas as an energy source is another real driver of Coriolis sales. Flow Research expects this trend to continue. The largest single industry segment for Coriolis flowmeter usage remains chemical, where growth will be strong throughout the study period. The food and beverage and pharmaceutical industries also have a significant number of users. The study also found that the downstream oil and gas industry presents interesting new opportunities for Coriolis meters to loosen the hold that traditional technologies have had on this market.
In the first quarter of 2014, the robotics market in North America posted its second-highest quarter ever in terms of robots ordered, according to new statistics from Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group. A total of 5,938 robots valued at $338 million were ordered by companies in North America in first quarter 2014, coming in just shy of the all-time record of 6,235 robots valued at $385 million in fourth quarter 2012. Units ordered grew 1 percent, while order dollars fell 1 percent when compared to first quarter 2013 figures. When sales by North American robot suppliers to companies outside North America are included, the total is 6,491 robots valued at $372 million.
The automotive industry is still the largest customer for robotics in North America, representing 58 percent of total orders, but nonautomotive industries have continued their rapid growth. The top industries in terms of growth for first quarter 2014 were food and consumer goods (+91 percent), plastics and rubber (+55 percent), and life sciences (+36 percent). RIA estimates that some 228,000 robots are now at use in U.S. factories, placing the U.S. second only to Japan in robot use.
Upcoming brownfield and greenfield projects in the oil and gas and power generation industries will sustain the demand for automation and control solutions (ACS) in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Among the countries in the region (Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Moldova), Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan will remain market hot spots. Scheduled oil and gas exploration activities as well as the anticipated modernization of the industrial automation sectors pave the way for ACS adoption.
Analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Analysis of the Automation and Control Solutions Market in CIS Countries, finds that the market earned revenues of $443.8 million in 2013 and estimates this to reach $559.2 million in 2017. While programmable logic controllers and safety instrumented systems will continue to dominate the market, the distributed control system segment is expected to have the highest growth rate.
One of the key challenges in the CIS ACS market is the lack of a well-qualified workforce. Innovative ACS systems require professional engineering resources for installation, operation, and repair, and the shortage of skilled assets affects project performance and customer service support for ACS products. Another restraint is the economic downturn that has compelled customers to tighten budgets, resulting in the temporary shelving of present projects and the delay of future ones. High inflation rates further curb the purchasing power of customers and limit investments in automation.
Bosch Rexroth opened a new hydraulics manufacturing and distribution center in Bethlehem, Penn. The facility houses the company’s valve and manifold manufacturing center for mobile and industrial hydraulics, while the new logistics and distribution facility handles shipments to more than 500 customers, including its nationwide network of drive and control distributors. This $2.2 million Brodhead Road expansion adds about 150,000 square feet, giving the company approximately 200,000 square feet over two buildings for the distribution and manufacturing operation.