The newly published report from IHS Distributed Control Systems – 2015 indicates that the growth of the world DCS market was flat in 2014, after a recovery in 2013.

Growth in the market for DCS in the refining and petrochemical, oil and gas, and pharmaceutical sectors were offset by weakness in the power, cement and glass, and pulp and paper sectors, according to Lenard Huang, analyst for industrial automation, at IHS Technology.

The market in the oil and gas industry is expected to be affected by the lower oil price; since oil companies have been cutting back investment. However, a lower oil price will help many other downstream industries; together with general economic recovery, a better outlook can be expected in many sectors, Huang says.

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Services will account for the most DCS revenues throughout the forecast period, 2015-2019, because of limited new factory construction, and because a larger DCS installed base is aging, in both mature and emerging markets.

Unconventional exploration used to be a driving factor for the DCS market in the oil and gas sector, especially in North America. It turn, it provides cheaper and more abundant fuel and feedstock for the refining and petrochemical industry. With the global fall of oil price, North America will have less advantage in terms of cheap fuel and feedstock; however, the end needs will be further stimulated by lower price, and will benefit downstream industries including refining and petrochemicals, chemicals, food and beverage, and the pharmaceutical industry, Huang says.

With slow growth in power demand as well as environmental pressure, the power market is currently underperforming. However, opportunities for DCS exist as China is replacing coal and pursuing ultra-low emission in installed coal-powered generation; and Europe is strongly shifting toward clean and renewable power generation because of the environmental high cost of using fossil fuels. The power market is forecast to recover with general global economic recovery, when more funds are available and demand for power grows faster.

Along with the globally stagnant economy, China, as the largest chemical market, is also facing a slowing economy and overcapacity concerns. The outlook for the DCS market in the chemical industry is of limited capacity expansion. However, the transformation of China’s economy and increasing personal income are generating a demand for a different mix of chemical products, more diversified and of higher value, which will drive the chemical market.