Demand for calibration services is expected to be high over the next 2 years in Europe, as regulations become more stringent and quality more essential across verticals. With competition in the European market being intense, turnaround time – without compromising quality – will be a key criterion for end users in selecting a calibration services supplier.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the European Calibration Services Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $1.09 billion (€0.84b) in 2011 and estimates this to reach $1.55 billion €1.20b) in 2018. The calibration services market is segmented into in-house laboratories, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and third-party vendors.
“There is increasing awareness about the benefits of maintaining equipment in good operating conditions with periodic calibrations,” says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Prathima Bommakanti. “End users would rather spend OPEX than CAPEX, which allows them to be more flexible in uncertain economic times.”
Onsite calibration, which provides minimum downtime, is considered more cost-effective by end users – especially in process industries such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The stress on preventive maintenance will further enhance the value of calibration services. OEMs that have sold instruments to clients will have the advantage of that installed base. They can leverage those relationships to raise the associated calibration service revenues.
Outsourcing between third parties and OEMs will help strengthen service-provider offerings. A significant trend in the calibration service industry is the outsourcing of calibration to calibration service companies, calibration labs, and the equipment manufacturers themselves. The company that outsources the process will remain responsible for managing and maintaining calibration records. As a result, calibration management software is becoming increasingly popular to keep track of service orders and schedules.
However, OEMs that offer premium prices are more challenged by the pricing pressure than third-party providers, and at times compromise on their profit margins, affecting the overall growth of the market. High pricing pressure also restrains smaller companies, leading to stagnation in terms of the overall market growth and service improvements.
“Creating brand awareness will be the key for small and regional vendors,” concludes Bommakanti. “In addition, they must focus on offering better value and on expanding their operations in different growing economies, either by setting up new facilities or through individual agents.”