As the lifecycle benefits of fieldbus solutions become more evident, fieldbus, a process solution that became popular for its reduced wiring, installation, and commissioning costs, will find more acceptance in more industries by more end users.
With the number of installed fieldbus-enabled devices nearly at one million units, fieldbus can now be said to be in the mainstream of process automation.
The global market for fieldbus solutions in the process industries is expected to increase at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.3 percent over the next five years and is projected to be more than $2,279 million by 2011, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study released Tuesday. In 2006, the market was more than $831 million.
What makes fieldbus so crucial to process operations is the interoperability of devices, which is only achievable if system testing and validation are available.
“Initially, the primary advantage of fieldbus was portrayed as reduced wiring, installation, and commissioning costs. However, end users are now indicating greater Operational Expenditure (OpEx) benefits are being realized due to the bi-directional communication and improved process efficiency of linked intelligent devices,” according to Sr. Process Automation Analyst Paula Hollywood, the principal author of ARC’s study, “Fieldbus Solutions in the Process Industries Worldwide Outlook.”
The real value of fieldbus, manufacturers are realizing, is Operating Expenditure (OpEx) related rather than Capital Expenditure (CapEx) related.
According to the ARC study, end users report that predictive maintenance is the single largest savings resulting from the use of fieldbus. Because of this, supplier revenues from unbundled services such as Plant Asset Management (PAM) solutions will see the biggest growth in fieldbus revenues. Revenues from field devices are also forecast to be above average since greater amounts of intelligence are embedded in those devices which carry higher average selling prices.
The ARC study predicts that recent enhancements to fieldbus functionality will be responsible for double-digit fieldbus growth. These enhancements include sharing data from the field with PAM applications as well as providing connectivity to safety systems through TÜV-approved fieldbus networks and other applications with technologies such as OPC.Because the benefits of fieldbus technology are especially adaptable to large, new installations, the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) will experience the largest growth, the study notes.
Although Latin America is projected to have the highest growth rate, at almost 34 percent, this region is still only a small percentage of the total fieldbus market. The Asia Pacific region will also experience strong growth, at nearly 32 percent.