Report: Integrated automation solutions become more important to PLC suppliers

JANUARY 9, 2009--Fewer differences in performance and appearance between PLC hardware from different suppliers are leading major PLC suppliers to focus more on being a "solution provider" in order to expand both their PLC and other automation business, according to Shanghai's IMS Research.

JANUARY 9, 2009--Fewer differences in performance and appearance between PLC hardware from different suppliers are leading major PLC suppliers to focus more on being a "solution provider" in order to expand both their PLC and other automation business, according to Shanghai's IMS Research (www.imsresearch.com).

Although this trend started several years ago, the firm says, the growing importance of sharing information and software developments have made integrated automation solutions more important today. Customers increasingly need to make good business decisions based on information obtained from the plant floor. The integration of a PLC into the whole system solution makes it not just a single controller but a true extension of the whole enterprise computer system. In addition, an integrated automation solution with PLCs can also perform tasks in process control, motion control, drive control, PID control, maintenance, vision systems, HMI design, and integration with higher device layers, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

According to IMS Research, the integrated automation solution market for PLCs is growing faster than the traditional PLC market, in which PLCs are sold as a single hardware component. Although it currently accounts for only a small proportion of the total PLC market, and is more related to the high-end PLC market, the use of PLCs in integrated solutions is enabling suppliers to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Further it is helping the major PLC suppliers to win more "industry automation business" to augment their "traditional PLC business."

More in Factory