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Rather than develop independently, the photoelectric sensor market tends to develop in line with other automation markets, such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and programmable automation controllers (PACs). According to a new ARC Advisory Group market outlook report, the photoelectric sensors market in China grew moderately in 2014.
"The food & beverage, machinery and automotive industries account for nearly 45 percent of the total China market. Electronics and electrical markets are also growing very fast in recent years. ARC believes that the total China photoelectric sensor market will continue to keep stable growth throughout the forecasted period," according to David Cao, principal author of the "Photoelectric Sensors for China Market Research Study".
The photoelectric sensor market is impacted by several major automation trends that relate to the needs of end users and OEMs. For example, the trend toward information-driven manufacturing increases requirements for sensor-based data from machinery, production lines, and other manufacturing assets. For some applications, photoelectric sensors are the only types of sensors that can provide the needed data in a practical and cost-effective manner.
Foreign brands dominating
Today, suppliers from Japan, Europe, and the US are dominating the China photoelectric sensor market. It’s a bit different with situations in other automation markets, e.g., motion control or AC drives. The technical threshold of photoelectric sensors are relatively high, and it is not easy for local suppliers to enter very quickly. There are dozens of local players in the market, but the business scale is small, and they only target very specific applications, e.g., building automation and others.
The food & beverage manufacturing industry has become the most important industry for photoelectric sensors, and the strong growth will continue as capital investments rise in 2015. There are several key drivers for this industry, including huge population, future urbanization, rising living standards, emerging middle class, and increasing export volumes of food & beverage machinery. Food & beverage quality and safety are also important drivers for this market nowadays.