The total U.S. market value for Process Instrumentation & Automation (PI&A) equipment will grow to $13.6 billion ($1.3 billion in Canada) by 2018, according to the 2014 Market Forecast published by the Measurement, Control & Automation Association.

The report predicts a five-year U.S. CAGR of 4.2 percent with the oil & gas, chemicals, refining and pharmaceutical industries projected as growing at above-average rates. Water & wastewater, electric utilities, F&B, cement and mining will remain below average due to factors such as price pressure, cyclical downturns or overcapacity.

Global Automation Research LLC, one of the research firms that prepared the report for MCAA, notes that the oil & gas Industry, which had record-high spending in the 2012 to 2013 period, will have slow growth in the early part of the forecast period, but will recover by the end.

Market analyst Paul Rasmusson, president of Global Automation Research LLC, noted during a July webinar for MCAA members the continuing investment by the chemical industry in unconventional gas as a feedstock and the construction of fertilizer and ethylene plants, which will make the U.S. an exporter, for the first time, of these products instead of a heavy importer.

RELATED: Custody-Transfer Applications Drive Strong Growth for Ultrasonic Flowmeters

Process Instrumentation & Automation Products
On the Process Instrumentation & Automation (PI&A) product side, the products with the best growth rates will be flow, level, control systems & remote I/O growing at above-average rates. The report highlights that tank level gauging will grow at 9 percent per year over the forecast period, primarily because of increased construction of holding tanks at each end of the growing crude oil transport business.

In looking at the worldwide market potential, the MCAA report notes that lower spending in China, India and Brazil has pulled down the PI&A worldwide forecast through 2018 to approximately 4.5 percent CAGR with an addition of $10.1 billion added to the worldwide market total.

MCAA Market Forecast
The MCAA 2014 Market Forecast shows the displacement rate of mechancial flowmeters by electronic flowmeters to 2018.

Mechanical Flowmeters Displaced by Electronic Flowmeters
In its spotlight on the technology displacement of mechanical flowmeters by electronic flowmeters, the report shows that displacement has accelerated over the last 15 years such that the electronic flowmeter market, which was three times the mechanical market in 2012, is forecast to be four times the size by 2018. One could extrapolate that the differential would be five times in 3.6 years thereafter (2021), but researchers believe that is unlikely because mechanical meters remain competitive in a number of applications—including custody transfer and fuel metering—as well as because of the inherently conservative nature of the marketplace, which tends to support the use of well-proven technologies such as mechanical level instrumentation.

The report, which has 80 pages of detail on 12 product categories, 12 industry segments and estimates for both the U.S. and Canada, is prepared annually for MCAA members jointly by the market research firms of Global Automation Research LLC and ReMap Sales Planning LLC. For more information, visit the MCAA website,