An insight into the world of process automation and control systems


Many of us may not be very familiar with the process automation and control system. It is an industrial system through which processes are controlled and monitored automatically so that only a few manual workers are needed to carry out the activities. This system ensures repeatable high-quality products and avoids generating faulty batches due to operator error. Any process control system has a data collection and distribution system included in it that collects and stores data from various data sources, each of which may apply its own proprietary manner for acquiring or generating the data in the first place.

The fundamental difference between industrial automation and process control is that the latter also enables automation in the smaller range. While the industrial automation can be used only for the larger range. Broadly, there are three types of the process controls which are namely, discrete, batch, and continuous.

According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc., the size of the global industrial automation and control systems market is expected to reach USD 288.93 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 8.9 per cent from 2021 to 2028. The penetration of digitized industrial solutions is directly facilitating the growth of the industry globally. It will not be out of context to mention here that manufacturing and healthcare facilities are heavily investing in the deployment of automation and process control technologies to streamline and simplify their everyday operations.

Since the time new oil reserves were found and the growing need for enhanced security and safety standards at oil refineries, the demand for Distributed Control System (DCS) has been going up in the oil and gas industry. Moreover, the manufacturing and water and wastewater industries have also started widely adopting SCADA systems owing to their benefits, such as scalability and reliability.

Additionally, the rise in adoption of Industry 4.0 among Indian companies has also given rise to significant opportunities for stakeholders engaged in offering automation, robotics, intelligent control systems, and IIoT technologies to the manufacturing sector.

Reputable companies dealing in automation control system incorporate advanced technologies in their product offerings as rule to help users simplify their daily activities. Moreover, companies are focused on innovating industry-specific customised solutions to reduce production costs, optimise efficiency with adequate resources, and standardise operations.

The spread of the COVID-19 virus had resulted in partial or complete closure of manufacturing facilities in multiple countries, halting all production activities for an extended duration. The staggering consequences of the pandemic highlighted critical gaps in the manufacturing sector. Nevertheless, companies have started rebuilding their sustainability plans and re-inventing their supply chain models through exploring automation possibilities to reduce the future impact of the crisis on production lines. While in the pre-COVID era, automation was seen as a means to achieve cost reduction, innovation, and customer visibility, its purpose has now shifted to survival and damage control. According to Cairn, a Vedanta Group-owned oil and gas company, automation and digitisation have helped the company to reach a daily production of 1.6 lakh barrels (post-pandemic) against 1.8 lakh barrels (pre-pandemic) with less than one-third of its workforce, due to stringent quarantine measures.

According to experts, over the next seven years the international discrete automation market is expected to grow significantly owing to increasing demand for manufacturing in emerging markets. Also, rising demand for custom-configured products along with several asset lifecycle management initiatives should add to the growth.

Increased focus on efficiency improvement and energy saving endeavours are also expected to drive market growth. Primary among the advantages of discrete automation is a control platform. It increases productivity and enhances the ease-of-use along with reducing costs which may lead to better industry growth.

The population explosion leading to urbanisation has created a huge strain on the existing infrastructure which should offer lucrative growth opportunities for the discrete automation market by 2022. Discrete automation is functional across various industries including pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, mining, and pulp manager among others.

The global market of robotic process automation has been valued at USD 1.57 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 32.8 per cent from 2021 to 2028. A shift in business operations of organisations due to the pandemic-induced work-from-home situation is expected to favour market growth over the forecast period. The process automation market is expected to mature with the integration of cognitive technologies with the changing business processes across enterprises. Furthermore, the rising demand for automating frivolous tasks is expected to drive the market during the forecast period. Automation helps in quick implementation, execution, and arrangement of the large volume of data in less time than mechanical procedure with the reduced overhead expense for enterprises.

Last year the global IIoT market size was valued at USD 216.13 billion and it is expected to expand at a CAGR of 22.8 per cent from 2021 to 2028. The robust rate at which the IIoT is being adopted keeping pace with the advances in technology and the easy availability of affordable sensors and processors, which can facilitate real-time access to information, it is expected that there will be substantial growth of the IIoT market during the next five to seven years. The constant need to augment operational competence tied with solid cooperation among the key market players to deliver the same is anticipated to drive the market expansion. Additionally, the policies and strategies being drafted to create a unified digital-human workforce are also expected to open substantial growth opportunities.


Article by:
Arijit Nag is a freelance journalist who writes on various aspects of the economy and current affairs.
Articles of Arijit Nag

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