The technology of automation, through which a process is carried out with minimal human assistance, has been around since ancient civilizations. However, with the inclusion of computers, artificial intelligence, and advanced technology, the automation market is witnessing a surge, especially in process automation. There are several varieties of automation which can be identified on the basis of their flexibility and end-user industry.
Based on flexibility, automation can be classified into 3 types, namely, fixed automation, programmable automation, and flexible automation. In fixed automation, which is also known as hard automation, the procedure to be carried out is direct, fixed and cannot be adjusted, making it a useful format for mass production. In programmable automation, or soft automation, conditional sequences are configured and based on the sequence the automation is carried out. In flexible automation, also known as process automation, the conditional sequence itself can be adjusted as required for the concerned operation.
Automation Market Size & Share
The global process automation market is estimated to reach a value of $178 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 6.6 percent. Nearly 50 percent of the overall demand for process automation is from resource industries, led by demands from the oil and gas industry. Europe is expected to continue to dominate the market until 2020, while the MEA region is projected to have the fastest growth.
Industrial automation is one of the most prolific growth drivers for the process automation market, reducing labor costs and errors in industries such as pharmaceutical, manufacturing, electrical, automotive and consumer goods. While the demand for automation is significant in developed and developing countries, the lack of suitably trained manpower acts as a constraint in its expansion, especially in developing countries.
The simple concept of automation and the aid it provides in a variety of processes simple and complex to reduce human efforts and time makes it an ideal tool to be employed in multiple industries across the globe, enhancing its potential market size and share.
Key Market Trends
Global Suppliers: By combining mergers and acquisitions with careful expansions, global players are emerging in the automation market, offering their services in an integrated fashion across multiple nations. Facing a highly competitive environment, global suppliers are striving to establish their presence by bringing in innovative products and enhancing their existing capabilities.
Process Automation: The development of process automation has enhanced multi-fold the easy and efficiency of using automation. By the use of process automation, users can carry out automation, observe and monitor the progress and make changes as required, allowing for utmost flexibility. Since the same automation process can be adapted, it is also more cost effective as compared to other forms, which can only be programmed once.
Business Process Automation: Although the major end-user segment of automation is manufacturing, its applications in software processes is expanding. The demand for business process automation is rising, as it automates the process of conducting various computer-related tasks, streamlining the overall business process and increasing service quality. Multiple applications of business process automation are in development, to expand the use of automation and save human time while maximizing efficiency.
Automation is a simple concept but its applications are endless, and advances in technology, such as artificial intelligence and robotics are expected to drive the market further. By reducing human efforts, automation carries out tasks with greater precision and speed, while maintaining quality standards. The latest form of process automation offers greater flexibility in the implementation of automation.