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Automation Technologies 4/2014

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Automation Technologies 4/2014

news and markets The

news and markets The Automation Market in China from Bernstein’s perspective Uwe Birnbaum, Nicole Steinicke International safety is becoming more and more important for the Chinese market. Bernstein AG ranks among the world’s leading providers of industrial safety technology and has a Chinese subsidiary located in Taicang. With its comprehensive range of switches, sensors, enclosures, suspension systems and other components for industrial applications, Bernstein offers effective and versatile solutions that address a range of issues. Bernstein products are designed to perfectly integrate in individual system solutions, conforming to rigorous international safety guidelines. In addition to classic plant and machine construction, Bernstein also works with customers in a range of industries including lift construction, automotive, agriculture, conveyor construction, automation engineering, wood-working, renewable energy, medical technology industries, AS-Interface and AT- EX. In 2005 Bernstein established a branch and set up a manufacturing plant in Taicang, situated 50 km north from the business metropolis of Shanghai. The expansion of the Chinese market offers significant opportunities for industrial safety engineering. Market development in general Since early 2000, before the economic crisis in 2007/2008, the worldwide automation market developed rapidly at an average annual growth rate of 8-9 %. China enjoyed annual average growth of up to 20 % at that time. Bernstein ’s Chinese subsidiary was established just two years before the outbreak of the global economic crash which seriously hit the whole industry. While the world market took several years to recover, the Chinese market recovered faster than expected with growth in China remaining stable at 7-8 %. Export trade, an important part of the wellknown Chinese success story of the last two decades, continued to play a vital role in the country’s growth whilst a new focus on the domestic market began to gain increasing momentum. Huge investment was made in the field of automation for the automotive industry and machine building for improvement of the production standards. This was triggered by the market development in general and also expressed in China’s 12th Five-Year Development Plan of high-end equipment manufacturing industry. The plan pointed out the importance of upgrading manufacturing, but also improving the production efficiency, technical level and product quality. A transition from “Made in China” to “Designed in China” became the focus. The aim is that China’s machinery products shall be considered as an “intelligent generation” by 2030. It is also forecasted that Power Generation in China will double by adding 1,500 gigawatts of capacity in the same period of time. Actually, this is not a new industrial revolution, but rather an evolution already started several years ago. Impact of the daily business Let us first consider product and production related requirements: customers need better monitoring and control capabilities than ever before and the needs of respective product categories are getting more complex. Large volumes of data needs to be measured, transported via a bus system and processed, resulting in more complex products. The needs of machine builders are no longer the same; they are interested in more customized solutions rather than standard products

news and markets and want to obtain an end-to-end solution from the supplier. High quality level and machine safety In view of the rapid evolution of technology, Bernstein has observed that safety aspects are getting more and more important in China. On the one hand this concerns the safety of humans, and on the other hand the process safety management concerning minimizing stand-still times of machines. Stable production processes must be ensured. This goes along with a growing demand on energy efficiency solutions due to tremendous increases in energy costs. Awareness of the importance of safety started with CCC certification in 2002. Another important milestone was China’s GB 22530-2008 safety standard for rubber and plastic injection molding machines. 50 basic standards and regulations for safety related applications have since been published in China. The National Machinery Safety Standardization Technical Committee, which was founded in 1994, is responsible for ensuring these regulations and standards are controlled and adhered to. However, the National Standardization Management Committee and the State Administration of Work Safety are also organisations to be mentioned here. View of automation technology The high specifications demanded by the quality guidelines and machine safety standards no longer only concern products manufactured for export, but also for domestic and industrial customers. This change in quality awareness has resulted in a new way of thinking in China – products at favorable prices are no longer the main focus and it is now understood that modern, high-quality products and services lead to satisfied customers. Foreign brands were trendsetting in the past. Today it’s just a question of time that more and more domestic companies are raising their standards of processes and products as well. Of the 740 Chinese companies engaged in the automation industry, about 50 % are located in About Company name: Bernstein Safe Solutions Co., Ltd Headquarters: BERNSTEIN AG, Porta Westfalica, Germany Employees: appr. 540 Products: Switches, sensors, enclosures, suspension systems and other components for industrial applications the area of Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang – already catching up with international companies. The competition for foreign companies is getting more serious. Even so, China is still the most important region of growth for international companies. New evolutions and conclusion The awareness of safety (human and machine) aspects and the automation level is growing. Due to the increasing complexity, the industrial market requests more and more total solution providers and system integrators. Component suppliers are becoming less important. To be successful in the future, it is compulsory to offer to customers high quality products with absolutely competitive prices and a service perfectly in keeping with the customer’s requirements. Focusing on specific regional needs is vital in order for companies to be able to react quickly and remain flexible. The whole world “goes smart”. So does the Chinese Automation Industry. Sensors, switches, actuators will be “intelligent” and can be connected to a bus system. By using AS- Interface, Bernstein products can be connected via a gateway to e.g. Profibus, Ethernet, controlLogix, CANopen, CC-Link and other bus and control systems. Bernstein is ideally prepared to meet the future demands of the Chinese market of controlling and monitoring applications in different industries such as Automotive, Agriculture, Transportation, Material Handling and Automation Engineering industries, as well as Medical Technology. www.bernstein.eu/en Author: Uwe Birnbaum, Managing Director of Bernstein Safe Solutions Co., Ltd., Taicang, China; Nicole Steinicke, editor, Automation Technologies, Mainz, Germany

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