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Engineering 2017 - Quest study

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The leading automation structures in the machinery industry and their market shares to 2017.

Which automation structures will show up in foreseeable future at the machines? This answers the market survey from Quest TechnoMarketing about the engineering of machine automation until 2017.

October 4th, 2016 - Machines can be equipped with central or decentralized control intelligence, central or decentralized drive converters and with central or decentralized field level. And naturally, mixed solutions also appear by a simultaneous use of central and decentralized components at the machine.

The market surveys from Quest TechnoMarketing have again and again investigated the application of central or decentralized components in machine automation, how central or decentralized control intelligence, central or decentralized drive converters etc. are widespread in machinery industry and its sectors and how many machines emerge in each case.

However, the survey1 about the engineering of machine automation until 2017 takes a substantial step forward.

  • It makes the automation structures, the various types of these structures at the machines, visible. It enables to determine the market shares of these automation structures in the machinery industry. For this purpose it identifies the connection between control intelligence, drive converters and field level regarding their central or decentralized features.

The three leading automation structures until 2017

Three leading automation structures will appear to 2017, each of them with 10% and more market share. So these structures at their machines will be implemented by 47% of the machine-builder. The following chart shows these three automation structures.

Market shares of the automation structures in machinery industry to 2017.

First we regard control intelligence and drive converters:

  • 47% of the machine-builders will use central control intelligence that appears with each of the three automation structures.

  • The broad majority of these machine-builders (37%) will connect the central control intelligence with central drive converters at the same time.

  • 10% of the machine-builder will combine central control intelligence with decentralized drive converters.

Regarding field level, the ratio of their central and decentralized structure will be 2:1.

  • 31% of the machine-builders with central control intelligence will organize the field level as decentralized, 16% as central.

Variety of the automation structures with 53% of the machine-builders

The other half of the machine-builders (53%) use a variety  of altogether 25 different automation structures at the machines, in each case below 10% market share.

  • This variety signals that the optimum application can only be built by structural variety from the view of these machine-builders.

So far the view into the future to 2017. When the market investigation was carried out in 2014, the two first automation structures already appeared as market leading. The third automation structure appeared as part of the three leading structures for the first time by displacing another variation, i.e. central control intelligence with central drive converters and a field level with mixed solution.

The variety of the automation structures was larger with 33 automation structures in 2014, so it will decrease until 2017 without losing their character as structural variety.

Automation structures building the bridge to the supplier policy

The automation structures belong to the fundamental conditions for engineering. Further fundamental conditions are sector structure and machine types, i.e. whether series machines, customized series machines, customized machines or plants are produced. The machine types influence the automation structures and they again build the bridgehead to the supplier policy of the machine-builders regarding machine automation. Only against the background of this context the respective manner of machine-builders’ engineering can be properly understood.

The knowledge of the actual automation structures serves for the automation manufacturers as roadmap to develop suitable total or partial solutions.

Machine-builders may use this report to compare the automation structures at their machines with those in the machinery industry to gain suggestions for adjustments or aim at new solutions.


1) The market survey interviewed 23% of the machine-builders with 100 and more employees in the ten automation-intensive sectors. So the representative character of the findings is ensured.