End markets drive programmable logic controllers development in Southeast Asia

Oil and gas, automotive, and agriculture remain dominant for PLC sales in Southeast Asia with all three industries continuing to grow.


Oil and gas, automotive and agriculture are among the major end markets for programmable logic controllers (PLC) in Southeast Asia, offering good growth prospects for the digital computers despite relatively small revenue, according to a new report entitled “PLCs – Southeast Asia – 2013 Edition” from IMS Research, now part of IHS (NYSE: IHS). 

The PLC market last year in Southeast Asia was less than $200 million to begin with, and the market also struggled because of continuing global economic difficulties,” said Alex Hong, senior analyst for the Electronics & Media service from IHS. “But while the machine-builder (OEM) space for PLCs is relatively weak, the end markets play a dominant role for PLCs in the region.”  

This year, the PLC market for Southeast Asia is forecast to amount to $146.5 million, up from $139.4 million. Growth this year marks a big improvement from last year’s 18 percent decline from $169.6 million in 2011, as shown in the attached figure. Starting in 2013, however, the PLC market for Southeast Asia will enjoy yearly growth in the range of 5 percent, with revenue amounting to $178.5 million by 2017.

Oil and gas, automotive and agriculture are among the major end markets for programmable logic controllers (PLC) in Southeast Asia, offering good growth prospects for the digital computers despite relatively small revenue. Courtesy: IMS Research

PLCs are generally deployed in electromechanical processes, such as factory automation or assembly lines. Microprocessors can be found in the machines, which must be able to withstand harsh environments like constant vibration or high noise levels. 

Among the most important end markets for PLCs in Southeast Asia is the oil & gas industry. Malaysia, for example, is famous for its palm oil, accounting for a significant portion of total global production. Here many mid-range and high-end PLCs are used in the large-volume production of palm oil, fed mostly by government investments. Meanwhile, large PLCs are used in the oil and natural gas industry in Indonesia, also a notable PLC market in the region. 

Another end market of significance for PLCs in Southeast Asia is the automotive industry. Thailand is world-famous in the production of automotive electronics, with industry requirements for PLCs increasing after the country was hit by severe flooding in 2011. Malaysia and Indonesia are also big automotive industry markets in the area especially in the case of the latter, where a very large population will soon demand more convenient modes of transport. 

A third vital end market is agriculture. Thailand and Indonesia are the largest contributors to this sector, and advanced PLCs will be required to produce innovative food processing and packaging components, targeted at local consumption and exports alike. 

Aside from the three industries above, other end markets for PLCs in Southeast Asia are those serving domestic demand, including water treatment as well as power and energy. 

Indonesia showed the strongest growth last year for the PLC market in Southeast Asia. In comparison, the more economically developed countries in the region—like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand—were the most affected by the general decline of the global PLC trade. This year, however, all six distinct PLC markets—including Vietnam and the Philippines—are set for expansion. 

Outside of Southeast Asia, the Euro zone was particularly vulnerable last year following the travails of countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal, contributing to the overall woes of the PLC industry.

- Edited by CFE Media. See more controller-related research.

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