Electronic Design

Industrial/Automotive PC-Based Control Systems Set To Grow

Electronics technology will garner a greater market share in industrial automation and automotive manufacturing operations. Over the last few years, industrial transformation has been spearheaded by the Windows-based operating system and PC-based controls.

Three factors have catalyzed growth: the Internet, the increasing reliability of operating systems, and the decreasing cost of the microprocessors. The ability to use the ubiquitous Internet to push data from disparate manufacturing locations to enterprise information systems has helped optimize the supply chain and improve manufacturing profitability.

The trend of pushing control down to the plant floor and pulling real-time plant information to the top floor to assist business decisions should increase substantially across small-to-medium business. This is primarily because industry has realized the benefits of making the right decisions in real time and is more confident that it can impact the bottom line like never before. Asset-management, services, and optimization-solution providers will see improved revenues as manufacturers strive to meet industry benchmarks on productivity and process efficiency.

Not only is the automotive industry the largest user for PC-based control systems, it's also the largest user of industrial-laser and machine-vision systems. According to a study by Frost & Sullivan, the automotive segment had the largest revenue share—31.2%—of 2002's $1.127 billion machine-vision systems market. Clearly, industrial electronics suppliers in the discrete manufacturing sector need to realize the potential of the automotive industry to bolster growth.

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