Increasing demand for smart high-end safety solutions
Safety components alone are not enough to satisfy customer needs. Safety solution packages are becoming popular, as the demand for services and data is increasing. Smarter safety solutions meet safety requirements but also benefit other aspects of production. The idea is that the more data that can be analysed, the greater efficiency, the shorter the downtime, the lower the risk of equipment failure, and the better management of maintenance.
Industrial networking is part of safety solutions and connectivity. Some older fieldbus technologies are inherently safe; but it has taken some time to ensure that some Ethernet technologies are fully safe. There are still opportunities for newer technologies with great potential for high-end solutions.
According to the latest research from the Discrete Machine-Safety Components Annual Service, revenues from safety I/O are projected to grow faster than those from standard I/O. Digital modules in safety I/O remain the most popular globally; and most likely to remain so, as analogue costs more and can be seen as unnecessary.
Basic drives are the most common and becoming commonplace in emerging countries since they cost less and there is less stringent legislation on implementing safety practices in manufacturing. However, in EMEA, sales of advanced drives are starting to grow quickly.
The focus on machine-safety components in mature markets is shifting from price to providing more features, benefits and connectivity. This shift means the mature market tends to use high-end components. Globally, IHS Markit predicts that revenues of laser scanners will surpass those of Type 2 light curtains in 2018; and revenues from safety PLCs will surpass those from safety relays in 2019. Neither of these trends is predicted to occur in the Asia-Pacific machine-safety markets, where price pressure remains high.
The requirement for -- and the use of -- safety PLCs are gradually increasing every year. Mature markets are seeking advanced solutions. With this need in mind, there will be a push on the prices of high-end PLCs, and so the ASP will decrease.