IHS Markit's top 7 manufacturing technology predictions for 2017

January 27, 2017 // By Julien Happich
After a disappointing 2016 in automation sales, declining revenues for many equipment suppliers and investment uncertainties in numerous end markets, vendors in industrial automation are hoping for a brighter 2017. With changing market conditions filtering down from the macro level to technology adoption, what can the industry expect this year?

In a new white paper from IHS Markit, manufacturing technology analysts were asked to provide their informed predictions for the global manufacturing technology market in 2017. The Top Seven Manufacturing Technology Predictions for 2017, as identified by IHS Markit analysts and listed in no particular order, are as follows:

Trend #1 – Global Market to Grow, Despite Headwinds

  • The industrial automation equipment (IAE) market is expected to grow in 2017, reversing two consecutive years of contraction. 
  • While growth prospects vary by sector, 2017 growth -- projected at 1.5 percent -- will take place despite headwinds, mainly in the form of low oil prices as well as a reduction in the sales of heavy machinery.

Trend #2 – Remote cloud-based analytics to shift to local and edge computing

  • Throughout 2016, many cloud platforms were announced or released to support the Internet of Things (IoT) in manufacturing. While the remote cloud can offer significant advantages in terms of scalability and cost, concerns around cybersecurity caused hesitancy among end users.
  • As a result, in-house cloud solutions and “edge” analytics will gain scalability in 2017. However, the continued education of the market will also result in companies gaining increased confidence in the advantages and benefits that the remote cloud can provide.

Trend #3 – Industrial automation to become more influential in outsourced or relocated manufacturing

  • Since 2014, changes in currency exchange rates, falling shipping costs, and the questionable longevity of proposed and existing trade agreements, have acted in concert to weaken once-solid justifications for offshoring factories, at least for the time being.
  • Expect more vendors in 2017 to choose to invest in automation at US facilities in an effort to leverage tax incentives and a skilled workforce, rather than in offshoring production.