The boom in the South African chemicals sector, which earned $18 million in 2006, is set to double in 2013 and reach $32 million according to a new study from Frost and Sullivan. This sector is driving the local automation and control solutions (ACS) market which grew 8.2% in 2006.
"Mounting overseas demand for South African chemical products is driving the need to upgrade existing facilities, with an emphasis on cleaner production," says Frost & Sullivan research analyst Jeannot Boussougouth. "ACS products are increasingly seen as a means to achieve productivity and efficiency goals."
Given the conservatism of the sector, distributed control system (DCS) products are expected to remain the main ACS products used in the South African chemicals sector due to their reliability and comparative ease of programming. Sales in this segment were $8.7 million in 2006 and are expected to reach $16 million in 2013.
While the above trends bode well for the market, increasing competition and a shortage of skills are placing pressure on ACS providers to deliver new installations on time says Frost and Sullivan. Furthermore, the introduction of Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), which encourages job creation, is a significant challenge owing to the general lack of available technical experience.