Emergence of Industry 4.0 trend for real-time process control and data monitoring is accelerating the demand for factory automation among industries, by necessitating the use of smarter and automated processes such as robotics, to improve the production process. In recent times, manufacturers are seeking ways to transform their global business operations across their value chain by reducing the need for manual intervention. programmable logic controllers, computer numerical control systems, programmable automation,  computer-aided process planning, and flexible automation systems are becoming commonplace technologies in the manufacturing sector. Human errors are always cited as a primary cause of all man-made disasters. It is generally considered that most of industrial accidents are caused due to human error. For example, approximately 75% to 96% of accidents in the marine industry are due to human error. In the need of an hour, automation technology helped the industries with its ability to minimize the errors incurred due to human intervention. Within a short span of time, factory automation gained unprecedented demand due to its sophistication and superiority over conventional manufacturing mechanisms in terms of eliminating human intervention. Moreover, factory automation facilitates standardized industrial processes, reliable and flexible process of manufacturing, consistent productivity, reduced labor-intensive work, enhanced profits, increased safety, and optimal efficiency. These aforementioned benefits are a prime impetus for the unprecedented adoption of automation by various industries.   

On the back of rapid industrialization across the globe, there is an increased demand for both skilled and unskilled labors which increases labor cost. The UK labor costs had risen at the fastest rate for five years, leading to an increase in unit labor costs of 3.1%, the highest annual growth rate since 2013. The rise in labor costs is persuading manufacturers to adopt factory automation, as it comprises the usage of robots, control systems, computers, and information technologies to manage industrial processes. The global factory automation market has been evaluated to reach a remarkable size of $159 billion in 2018. Foreseeing the rapid adoption of automation techniques in the majority of industry verticals, the factory automation market size is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.8%, during the forecast period 2019-2025.

Factory Automation Market Leveraging Automobile Industry as the Vehicle Production attains Cruising Speed

The incessantly increasing demand for automobiles across the world are instigating the automotive industry to adopt advanced technologies such as automation, to enhance the speed and efficiency of the manufacturing processes. Now, world motor vehicle production increased from 94.9 million in 2016 to 97.3 million in 2017. Moreover, with the emergence of Industry 4.0 revolution, the integration of automated machines and equipment into the traditional factory has become easy, which further prospects for the market growth. Thus, the flourishing automotive industry is considered to be prominent growth driver for the factory automation market.

Factory Automation Market Gaining Unprecedented Growth from APAC Region—

The APAC is analyzed as the dominant region in the factory automation market. The region accounted 35.28% of the total factory automation market share. The major regional share in the market is attributed to the presence of some fastest developing economies such as India, China, and Japan. China is by far the biggest robotics market in the world, as robot sales in China increased by 27%, to reach 87,000 units of automation entities in 2016. Also, the same source suggests that during 2018-2020, industrial robot sales are expected to increase between 15%-20%, on an average per year. Thus, the rise in the adoption of automation technology by these countries has rendered APAC with the maximum market share. Moreover, the increasing population in India and China, associated with increasing purchasing power, stimulated industries to adopt automation technology for a high rate of production. Hence, these prime factors are propelling the growth of the factory automation market in this region.

Semiconductor and Electronics Segment to Portray the Maximum Growth Prospects—

Semiconductor and electronics is considered as the key application in the factory automation market and the vertical observed to grow at a CAGR of 10%, during the forecast period 2019-2025. Semiconductor and electronics industry involves complex production steps and engineering activities starting from product designing, prototyping, modeling, manufacturing, testing, inspection, quality control, assembling, and packaging. Moreover, accuracy and precision are the key factors in this industry, as it deals with small and miniature components. These attributes led to the adoption of IoT, M2M communication technology, and robotics, which further led to the growth of the factory automation market.

Market Forces Influencing the Growth of the Factory Automation Market:

·         Increased Production:

Enterprises and manufacturing industries are tremendously adopting automation technology as it significantly enhances the speed and efficiency of production processes. The majority of work is performed by robots that result in no variability and inconsistency in work and resultantly increase the output. The rapid adoption of automation techniques in numerous industries is expected to support the global factory automation market growth.

·         Safer Work Environment:

Industrial automation systems have the ability to transform the error-prone manual work into the error-free environment, as replaces the human with robotic machines. The automation technology restricts the role of humans to monitor the work performed by robots, thereby providing a safer work environment to them. The trending wave of robotic integration in numerous the end-user industry will concurrently penetrate profits in the automation market.

Technologies and Trends Disrupting the Factory Automation Market:

·         3D Printing:

Automated 3D printers can produce 3D solid parts from a computer file with high accuracy and precision. The objects can be manufactured in different sizes, shapes, materials, colors, and complexities, at high-speed by clicking on Print options.

·         Nano-manufacturing:

Nano-manufacturing is a branch of science that deals with the production of nano-scale materials, devices, and systems. Automation facilitated the manufacturing of products on a molecular or atomic level. Products such as solar cells and batteries are manufactured by the integration of automation and nano-manufacturing.

·         Artificial Intelligence:

Artificial intelligence is anticipated as the biggest technological revolution of the decade. It is anticipated that artificial intelligence will optimize the automation processes with advanced computing techniques in multiple end-user verticals such as manufacturing, automotive, healthcare, and construction industries.

Innovation and Advancement Induced by Leading Companies:

Innovation is a bridge to survive in the factory automation marketplace. Consequently, companies are investing in R&D activities to carve a niche for themselves. Some of the key players of the market are Honeywell International Inc, ABB, General Electric Company, Fanuc Group, Yokogawa Electric CorpEmerson Electric Co.Schneider ElectricSiemens AGEaton Corp. Inc.Rockwell Automation, Inc., Panasonic Corp., Omron Corp., Endress+Hauser, and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. 

Owing to increasing labor costs coupled with labor shortages, there is a rising demand for automation of manufacturing operations in China. In 2018, Omron Corporation announced the construction of its second factory of Omron in the city of Shanghai, China. This expansion will ramp up the capacity of various types of control equipment to fulfill the demand of automation on factory floors in that country. The company deployed FH-Series Vision System in the automation market, which empowers the productivity and quality control of the manufacturing industry.

In 2018, Emerson announced the acquisition of intelligent platforms, a division of General Electric. This acquisition is intended to expand the company’s horizons in the global automation market. Through this agreement, Emerson has gained opportunities to expand its horizons in machine control involved in metals and mining, life sciences, food and beverage, and packaging industries. Moreover, in 2018, Emerson announced its partnership with Texas A&M College of Engineering to establish Emerson Advanced Automation Laboratory. The laboratory was funded with an amount of $1.5m, as a donation to provide practical knowledge for the purpose of automation in Oil and Gas, Refining, Life Sciences, and Food and Beverage industries.

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