Already in wide use in food and beverage manufacturing, sensors are expected to gain popularity as automation expands, according to a report.
Market intelligence outfit Frost and Sullivan, based in the UK, has published “Sensors Market in the Global Food and Beverage Industry.” The report indicates that industry executives anticipate that the use of sensor technology in food and beverage operations will increase as automation and other tech advances.
The market analysis found that the sensor market pulled in approximately $2.9 billion USD in 2012. Further, the research estimates the figure will increase over the next five years, hitting approximately $4.2 billion in 2018.
Sensors researched include flow, level, pressure, temperature photoelectric, inductive, capacitive, ultrasonic sensors and biosensors.
According to Frost and Sullivan's measurement and instrumentation senior industry analyst V. Sankarnarayanan, part of the surge in sensor use stems from stepped-up regulation.
"The presence of standards and regulatory compliance requirements is one of the major drivers for the implementation of sensor systems," he said. "Governments across the globe have strict laws that mandate the use of sensors and other electronic devices that sense the risk involved in food contamination."
One reason food manufacturers are increasingly relying on sensors and automated controls is a desire to attain higher quality and consistency. Automated controls have the ability to measure, regulate or record a range of conditions, which has fuelled sensor demand.
"The conversion of less sophisticated controls to state-of-the-art automation systems is an important growth catalyst, as better automation improves performance, reduces cost, increases production and energy efficiency, as well as boosts productivity," Sankarnarayanan said. "Sensors are Ethernet/IP-enabled, intelligent and communicate through standard networks, enhancing overall performance."