New and expanding applications, coupled with the shift to enhanced automation processes and controls, are restoring growth to the global market for proximity and displacement sensors, which suffered negative growth rates in 2009. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the Proximity and Displacement Sensors Markets, finds that the market earned revenues of $2,427.5 million in 2011 and estimates this to reach $3,048.1 million in 2018. The research covers inductive, photoelectric, capacitive, magnetic, ultrasonic and LVDT sensors.
"The need for better automation is expected to allow for the conversion from older and less sophisticated controls to state-of-the-art automation," notes Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst V. Sankaranarayanan. "As a result, the number and range of sensors used in equipment is increasing."
Due to the rising sophistication in manufacturing processes, end-users are demanding more functionality from proximity sensors. Advanced network technologies (CompoNet and IO-Link) and diagnostic capabilities are some of the technical advancements that are also anticipated to boost market prospects.
Growth in mature markets such as Western Europe and North America is expected to be slow. The potential for further growth is limited, as most industrial processes are already using proximity and displacement sensors. In contrast, Asia is becoming progressively more important due to surging production and automation.
"Production in emerging economies, such as China and India, is becoming increasingly automated," explains Sankaranarayanan. "Robust economic growth in these regions is expected fuel the demand for proximity and displacement sensors."
Proximity sensors find application in almost every industry (due to the importance of feedback), underlining the widespread consumer demand for them. In addition to China and India, growth opportunities are also surfacing in other smaller Asian countries that have embarked on a path of economic development.
Keys to success will be emerging network technologies, solutions instead of products, regional growth markets and a successful distribution strategy. "It is important to offer more than just a sensor; market participants will have to focus on providing complete solutions," concludes Sankaranarayanan. "Price pressures will continue to pose a challenge, so vendors will need to constantly advance on the technological front."