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IMS notes key trends from SPS/IPC/Drives

04 January 2011

Following his attendance at the 2010 SPS/IPC/Drives show in Nuremberg, John Morse, senior analyst at IMS Research, reported: “The most important point I noted was the vibrant atmosphere. There were more happy faces this year than last.”

Morse reports that many exhibitors have experienced faster than expected growth during 2010; adding that those whose sales revenues had not already recovered to their 2008 levels, expected them to do so by mid-2011. However, growth rates from 2011 on were expected to be lower than in 2010, as stock levels will now have been replenished and delayed projects been brought back on line.

At the show, the IMS Research team noted:
* A strong presence of companies focusing on M2M communications, particularly Ethernet; more companies promoted Gigabit Ethernet than in 2009. This has been a trend for many years, and now appears to be gathering pace.

* Ethernet switch suppliers seemed particularly buoyant. There was a trend for Ethernet switches to be integrated into devices, obviating the need for ‘stand-alone’ switches in some applications.

* There was a lot of talk about wireless communications; but few new integrated products appearing for the first time at the show. The recovery in industrial markets after the recession was considered to be a factor in this, with many users preferring to employ known and trusted technologies during hard times rather than adopting a new wireless product.

* Many of the new drives introduced at the show had Ethernet connectivity, further endorsing the high growth of Ethernet use in industrial applications.

* New international directives on industrial motors appear to have been taken to heart; many companies promoted IE2 (High Efficiency) products heavily.

* A recent rise in the market price of ore has resulted in a corresponding 30% rise in the price of magnets. There was much discussion amongst motor manufacturers on the effect this would have on the price of motors.

* The proliferation of software required to operate some systems appears to be being superseded by software packages designed to serve a complete range of products, e.g. PLCs, HMIs, motion controllers etc. Some companies have had this policy for a while but the number taking this approach is increasing. Software is becoming more sophisticated; and now typically includes programming as well as system operation functionality.

* The ever increasing amount of safety legislation is considered to be one of the main drivers for a notable increase in the number of safety products. Large automation suppliers are integrating more safety functionality into devices such as PLCs, HMIs, drives, motion controllers etc. A number of manufacturers commented that the pressure to develop safety solutions was coming from the field as customers tried wherever possible to improve productivity.


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