The world market for discrete machine-safety components was estimated to be worth $3.4 billion in 2012, according to a research note by IHS Inc., El Segundo, Calif. Also, IHS reports that the American market accounted for 21 percent, Asia for 20 percent and the remaining 59 percent were accounted for by sales in EMEA.

The overall industrial growth in Asia is higher than that of the American market, says IHS, and machine-safety in Asia is playing catchup. As such, the research company predicts that machine-safety revenues will projected grow more quickly, at 12.4 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to 2017, versus 6.8 percent CAGR for the American market. This means that Asia is forecast to surpass the Americas during 2014 to become the second largest regional discrete machine-safety component market.

According to IHS, the market is largely driven by China and the emerging economies in the region, which are becoming more conscious of safety in the industrialized workplace. Regardless of the increasing understanding of the benefits of safety, it is still seen as an unnecessary expense by some. Therefore, simpler and cheaper safety components such as safety relays, basic interlock switches and type 2 light curtains are still preferred in Asia.

Safety standards are not yet established in countries like China though they are expected. According to HIS, it seems likely they will be based on European standards, which is beneficial for European vendors operating in Asia.