The turbulence in the global market effectively put the brakes on the machine safeguarding market around the third quarter in 2008. Effectively, the automotive market and general machinery market came to a halt leaving those suppliers with a dependency on these sectors to accept the inevitable, or more specifically, scale business to the opportunity. Thus, 2009 started with the deepest global downturn in recent history. Fortunately, in the second half of 2009, the economic downturn ended and a modest recovery began in both developing and advanced economies as global production and trade started to rebound. In advanced economies, the beginning of a turn in the inventory cycle and unexpected strength in U.S. consumption contributed to positive developments. The worldwide market for Machine Safeguarding Solutions will decline in 2009, but a strong rebound has begun in the second half of 2010 according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.
Machine Market Collapses
Europe was late to feel the real impact of the banking and automotive crises and continued to experience reasonably good business conditions up until October/November 2008. Back orders in machinery continued to buoy up the market, however new orders started showing signs of weakness around this time. It wasn’t until December 2008 that panic struck in Europe and the machinery market collapsed. This was the precursor to the downturn in the machinery market that continued to decline in Europe, North America, and Japan throughout 2009.
Safety Becomes a Mantra on a Global Scale
Numerous catalysts will drive market growth faster than the normal recovery allows. Safety is becoming the mantra on a global scale and across numerous industries. The automotive industry, which historically dominated the market for safeguarding solutions (with the high concentration of robotic lines, stamping, metal fabrication, and metal working operations), has also been followed by several other industries that recognized the productivity benefits achievable via safeguarding solutions. Food & beverage, textile, aerospace, and furniture and wood products will continue to create the additional pull needed to drive the growth in this market.
North America Facing a Steep Decline
The North American market began a decline before EMEA felt the pain. With the automotive market already depressed and the entire financial infrastructure facing cataclysm, the machine safeguarding market in this region declined rapidly. A wide range of industry end users cancelled their machinery orders with OEMs. In Asia, Japan also faced a huge contraction as the automotive and housing industries around the world declined rapidly due to a frozen credit market. However, compared to the advanced economies, the Asian emerging economies fared well due to substantial stimulus, a stronger financial infrastructure, and rapid turnaround in domestic consumer demand for goods and services. The machine safeguarding market declined in these emerging economies less severely. However, the domestic demand for machinery in these regions was not substantial enough to offset the dependency on machinery exports typically requiring the safeguarding requirements of the mature economies.