Pressure transmitter shipments, after returning to pre-recession levels in 2010, saw strong growth in 2011, even surpassing 2010s growth by several percentage points. Despite the return to positive growth, risks remain. In a connected world, market volatility and political instability impact industrial growth, which in turn affects the pressure transmitter business.
The relative slowdown in China and India further increases the risks facing pressure transmitter vendors. Due to the numerous challenges and the lag between orders and final shipment for new projects, many vendors are weighing the financial viability before investing in their manufacturing capacity and after-market service capabilities.
Ongoing financial instability continues to plague markets in Asia, said G. Ganapathiraman, the co-author of a recently released ARC study on pressure transmitters in Asia. However, ARC expects the developing countries, such as China and India, to drive the majority of Asias growth in pressure transmitter shipments going forward.
Countries such as Indonesia and South Korea are also growing at above-average growth rates. Despite the countrys slower GDP growth in recent quarters, the electric power industry in China continues its investments, creating opportunities for pressure transmitter suppliers. In India, the need for both increased generating capacity and a more stable power infrastructure to reduce brownouts drives the need for more pressure transmitters.
Market potential. The oil and gas, electric power, chemicals, and metals and mining industries are leading for the deployment of pressure transmitters. Among these, the metals and mining industry is experiencing above average growth. Asias ongoing demand for energy will require more oil and gas, driving demand and long-term energy prices.
Finding new oil deposits is becoming more difficult, and those that are found tend to be more challenging to develop. Many of these new oil fields produce heavy oil rather than lighter sweet crude oil. The high sulfur content increases refining costs and requires different refining methods. This will spawn investment in new refineries capable of refining the heavy oil deposits in the Asia-Pacific region.
At the same time, environmental concerns are increasing, creating significant opportunities for pressure transmitter suppliers in the oil and gas industry.
Transmitters see big gains. Sales of smart pressure transmitters will continue to outpace those of conventional and low-cost devices, as users seek to utilize recent technological advances to improve visibility into plant operations to help maximize productivity and the availability of production resources. This user focus on asset management also fuels demand for transmitters that incorporate onboard diagnostics capabilities and use digital communication protocols.
Increasingly tough safety and environmental regulations have helped drive increasing adoption of safety integrity level (SIL)-rated transmitters for safety instrumented systems (SIS) to mitigate the risk of catastrophic events. Pressure transmitters are an integral part of SISs, and most leading pressure transmitter suppliers now offer SIL-rated transmitters.