Gulf region’s automation industry on track for double digit growth
The Gulf region’s automation industry is on track for double digit growth over the next five years, as recovering oil prices and government economic diversification plans boost demand for industrial and building automation technologies, according to new research.
A July 2018 knowledge report by consulting firm TechSci Research said the GCC market for industrial and building automation will be worth US$10.3 billion in 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.7 percent from an estimated US$5.6 billion in 2017.
Global events including the Dubai Expo 2020, and mega projects such as Saudi’s NEOM city are also driving forces behind advanced control systems and processes in infrastructure development, while a sharp focus on the manufacturing sector led by Industry 4.0 means companies are searching for technologies to boost production output at a higher quality.
The whitepaper stated that the GCC’s industrial automation market growth is further aided by a predominantly young and educated population that’s more aware of automation and its applications across various sectors including manufacturing and services.
Challenges hindering development include high initial investments in new technologies, while a lack of common standards among connected devices and communication protocols also needs to be addressed.
These challenges and potential solutions are among the many topics and issues that will be up for discussion at the inaugural SPS Automation Middle East conference and exhibition, which takes place from 18-19 September 2018 at Dubai’s Festival Arena.
TechSci’s knowledge report was issued ahead of the two-day summit, which is the region’s only dedicated automation industry event. The biggest names in the automation business are on-board for the debut showcase, including official Launch Partners from Germany: BECKHOFF Automation, Bosch Rexroth, SICK, Pilz, and LAPP.
Japanese headquartered Mitsubishi Electric is also a Launch Partner while American powerhouse Rockwell Automation has signed on as the show’s official Automation Sponsor.
They’ll be joined by another 25 highly targeted exhibitors, while award-winning case studies on Robotic Process Automation and navigating Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in food packaging are a couple of examples of lively presentations that comprise an engaging conference.
With digitisation driving business trends in the Middle East, organisations are increasingly adopting automation solutions in their processes. Martin Palmer, General Manager of SICK Middle East, said the UAE in particular was an early adopter of automation technologies relative to the region.
“From large logistics projects for roads, ports and airports through to the establishment of regional distribution hubs for multinational consumer goods companies, the UAE has established itself firmly on the regional industrial automation map,” said Palmer.
“Increasingly across the Middle East, we see automation becoming more relevant, especially as manufacturers seek to increase productivity and safety whilst the consumer demands higher quality and better value for money.”
Palmer said SICK’s involvement at SPS Automation Middle East 2018 coincides with its wider objective to create further awareness around automation in a Middle East market that’s still evolving: “There’s a genuine interest in the region for automation to reach the same levels as in Europe, USA and Asia,” he added. “This goes in line with quality control, and the latter is a huge driver for automation to ensure customer satisfaction and ultimate performance.”
SICK is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sensors, safety systems and automatic identification products for factory and logistics automation applications, as well as gas flow and analyser solutions for process automation.
“Our presence in SPS Automation Middle East is not just to showcase drives and controls, but the processes under the broader umbrella for automation,” added Palmer.
“It’s also an opportunity to align with system integrators who may have a lot of requirements with many shortcomings on their side of the business that we could complete. And from the end users point of view, who are looking for a more complete solution.”
Meanwhile, Rami Al Ashqar, Business Development Manager at Bosch Rexroth, said SPS Automation Middle East will be important to gauge the involvement of end users in regards to automation: “We want to contribute but also to learn about the market since there has not been a focused automation event in the region yet,” said Al Ashqar.
“We’re also keen to scope the OEM market in the region and I see a lot of potential here, especially with manufacturing being such a key element of the UAE 2030 vision. Saudi Arabia also has ambitious manufacturing plans, and German organisations such as the VDMA (Mechanical Engineering Industry Association) are already impressed by the level of technology in manufacturing in the Kingdom.
“The end users will drive the OEM business, and in some cases, it has already started with some companies integrating systems and putting manufacturing lines together. Just like the auto industry, which started slowly in the region, the OEM market will start as well,” Al Ashqar added.
SPS Automation Middle East aims to gather professionals of the Automation, IoT and Artificial Intelligence industries under one roof, providing a dedicated platform for the latest innovations and solutions steering the region toward a smarter and high tech future.
Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of organiser Messe Frankfurt Middle East, said: “Middle East corporations are studying a range of automation and optimisation options that not only increase the use of energy efficient technologies and processes, but also minimise reliance on ever-increasing labour costs.
“The use of robots, AI and automation across industrial and building operations also enhances efficiency, production quality and workplace safety standards. SPS Automation Middle East will provide key insights into the latest trends and developments in this key topic for Middle East stakeholders.”
The SPS Automation Middle East Conference will feature a high-powered panel of speakers providing insights into how the policies and regulations governing automation affect the future of industries. It will also provide a detailed look at how companies are adapting new technologies to enhance production efficiency and explore areas of opportunity in the sector.
The exhibition meanwhile will provide a broad cross-section of the nuts and bolts of automated manufacturing and building infrastructure, from Drive Systems and Components, Software, IT, and Mechanical Infrastructure, to Interface Technology, Power Supplies, and Human-Machine Interface Devices.