Improvements in operations processes drive the European machine safety market growth
Stringent regulatory norms in Europe are supporting the strong growth of the machine safety market in the region. Enhanced productivity and profitability of processes and plants due to safer working environments provided by machine safety systems are set to boost market prospects. Many major market participants recognise that safety is a good business.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, “Strategic Analysis of the European Machine Safety Market”, finds that the market earned revenues of $422.0 million (ca €292m) in 2010 and estimates this to reach $565.6 million (ca €390m) in 2017. The following end-user industries are covered in the research: automotive, food and beverage, packaging and material handling, machine tool builders, electronic and semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, dye and press protection, and others (aerospace and defence, metals and mining, and printing).
“Rising awareness about their benefits will promote demand for machine safety systems,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Katarzyna Owczarczyk. “There is a huge latent demand in the retrofit market, with opportunities to upgrade machines that have obsolete systems.”
Machine safety solutions improve the overall equipment efficiency (OEE) of machines; they enhance production uptime by reducing the number of unprecedented shutdowns. This is critical for companies who operate in an intensely competitive environment and who have to constantly strive to obtain better profit margins through operational effectiveness.
“With higher process uptime, the reliability of the process is improved and the throughput obtained from the machine is greatly enhanced,” remarks Owczarczyk. “With safety networks and safety programmable logic controllers (PLCs) in place, a group of machines which comprise an entire process, can be controlled from a single master panel to enhance visibility and keep tabs on efficiency levels.”
The traditional method of hard-wired relays is difficult to maintain, with maintenance personnel often having to shut down the system. However, due to technological developments, it is now easier to effectively troubleshoot and maintain the entire system.
“In addition to operational benefits, the process of installing a machine safety solution has also become streamlined,” states Owczarczyk. “Improvements in the OPEX of the machine have been accompanied by greater personnel productivity as a result of higher uptime yielded by the machine.”
One of the key challenges that manufacturers face is the shift from a traditional, component-based business to an integrated, total solution based-approach. The integrated total solution has significant benefits when compared to traditional devices such as diagnostic capability, on-line repair, troubleshoot, and others. The ease of maintenance of an integrated solution is higher than hard-wired traditional systems.
“End users are also on the lookout for greater flexibility in the products they purchase and are wary about choosing different vendors for various applications,” she goes on. “The ability to supply integrated total solutions promotes a sense of mutual comfort between the customer and the vendor. The loyalty factor increases along with revenues since there are repeated purchases, repair, and retrofit costs from the same vendor.”
Hence, industry participants that have component-based product portfolios need to re-align their business strategies. To address the need for integrated solutions, companies will need to design complete product portfolios or look to outsourcing to fill in gaps in their product line.