VDC found among the users in its survey that new implementations with electronic temperature controllers in all the industry and application segments are expected to decline. Among the end users, the largest decline is expected among those in the pulp and paper industry, with the least decline expected among those in the food and beverage industries.
Survey findings and other investigations led VDC to forecast slow positive growth for the overall global temperature controller market through 2005. Helping to sustain this growth is the large installed base.
Looking beyond the overall market, growth expectations are varied by product types and applications. For each application and user, different levels of control are needed. It is important for vendors to understand the level of control desired for the applications they hope to serve. In each case, the threat of alternative means of control is different. VDC points out in the study that there are many applications where use of alternative temperature control means will not be considered because use of PLCs, PCs and DCSs for other control functions are not warranted. Vendors of electronic temperature controllers should concentrate on these applications.
Although PLCs, DCSs and PCs are becoming used more in the implementation of temperature control loops, they are far from overtaking temperature controllers as the preferred type of hardware, according to VDC analyst Jake Millette. "Opportunities for growth remain for suppliers with the correct mix of product, technology and application," he says.