Operator terminals with embedded PLC gain popularity

19 September 2012

IMS Research is predicting that global sales of operator terminals with embedded PLC hardware will rise at an estimated compound annual growth rate of around 9% to 2016.

The largest vertical sectors for these products in 2011 are said to have been food, beverage and tobacco machinery; machine tools and packaging machinery. Collectively, these sectors accounted for around 35% of sales revenue.

Commenting on these figures, Mark Watson, senior research analyst at IMS said: “There are two principle advantages for OEMs using operator terminals with embedded PLC hardware – price and footprint. Every component has an associated cost and space requirement. By combining two systems into one, both factors are reduced. This enables further savings as the combined unit oes not require extra wiring to communicate between sub-systems and maintenance departments only need to support one product type.

“The advantage is most significant for small machines. where price and space are at a premium. Manufacturers of larger machines typically have the space and the budget to adopt a traditional solution of separate operator terminal and PLC units. This solution also provides flexibility in terms of the component supplier of each unit and enables OEMs to cherry pick the most suitable two components for specific applications.”

This operator terminal type is forecast strong revenue growth to 2016. However, average selling prices are projected to decrease by approximately 3% per annum to 2016. Leading suppliers of operator terminals with embedded PLC hardware will, therefore have to work hard to maintain revenue growth of these products.

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