Global Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Market Size and Share Analysis 2023-2028
The Programmable Logic Controller market is estimated to reach USD 14.46 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 4.23% from 2023 to 2028. PLCs are compact computing systems that control automated machines and help detect errors or flaws, notifying technicians. Compared to traditional systems like relays and switch boxes, PLCs offer advantages such as their small size and versatility due to programmability.
Machine downtime significantly impacts manufacturing efficiency, accounting for 5-20% of operational losses. PLC systems play a crucial role in identifying and rectifying errors quickly, even without human intervention. The drive towards industry automation is a major growth factor for the PLC market. Automation reduces human intervention and optimizes resource utilization, leading to increased efficiency. PLC systems can automate various processes like conveyor systems and packaging systems.
USD 11.2 billion in 2021
Type, End User, Region
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PLCs are widely used in manufacturing processes that require reliable control, ease of programming, and fault diagnosis, such as assembly lines and robotic devices. They continue to evolve, offering features like scalability, increased memory, smaller sizes, high-speed Ethernet, and built-in wireless capabilities. However, as industries shift from mass production to mass customization in response to consumer demands, more flexible systems like PC-based and cloud-based controllers are being considered over PLCs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the PLC market. Lockdown restrictions imposed by governments worldwide disrupted supply chains and manufacturing operations. However, the automotive sector is expected to experience growth post-pandemic, driven by the adoption of technologies like machine vision, collaborative robots, artificial intelligence for autonomous cars, and cognitive computing in IoT-connected vehicles.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including type, end user, and region.
Segmentation by Type
Hardware and Software – Large PLC, Nano PLC, Small PLC, Medium PLC, and Other Types.
Segmentation by End User
Food, Tobacco, and Beverage
Chemical and Petrochemical
Energy and Utilities
Pulp and Paper
Oil and Gas
Water and Wastewater Treatment
Other End-user Industries
Segmentation by Region
North America – United States and Canada
Europe – United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Rest of Europe
Asia-Pacific – China, Japan, India, and Rest of Asia-Pacific
Middle East and Africa
Based on the analysis of the market in 2022, the hardware and software segment held the largest share, accounting for 81.0%. This segment was valued at USD 9.08 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 11.37 billion by 2028. On the other hand, the services segment is expected to have the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.29% from 2023 to 2028.
Small programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are recognized for their compact size and robust design. They typically have between 24 to 256 configurable input/output (I/O) modules and are used to replace hard-wired relay logic, counters, and timers. Due to their compact size and relatively low cost compared to traditional large or medium PLCs, small PLCs have gained significant traction in the market.
Technological advancements, such as shrinking circuit board sizes and increased memory capacity and communication features in PLCs, offer new opportunities for small PLCs. These advancements enable small PLCs to possess characteristics similar to higher-level systems.
Small PLCs offer various benefits, including high stability and reliability, strong expansion capabilities, high speed and capacity (up to 12K program capacity), good communication networking capabilities, support for GPRS wireless communication positioning modules, and reliable program security.
Although small PLCs are well-suited for handling complex sequencing functions like large PLCs, there is a trade-off between cost and size. The expandability of I/O modules for small PLCs is limited, usually to one or two modules, and they use a relay ladder language as a programming language.
To meet market demands, lower-end PLCs are now equipped with more features and functions. Small PLCs are also expected to continue evolving and incorporating features associated with higher-level PLCs. Additionally, mid-level and high-end PLCs will offer smaller, more compact, and customized solutions to meet the specific needs of users.
Vendors in the market are enhancing the functionality of PLCs by enabling communication with multiple devices. The proximity of multiple smaller PLCs to sensors and machines in a factory setup facilitates effective communication as part of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Small PLC systems are highly suitable for data-driven operations due to their I/O channels in a small footprint and modular expansion options. For example, Panasonic’s ultra-compact PLC, the FPOR series, is designed for distributed monitoring, control, and equipment miniaturization. With its space-efficient design (90 mm x 25 mm), the FPOR series provides various I/O options, including pulse outputs for multi-axis motor controls.
In terms of end-user industries, the energy and utilities segment held the largest share in 2022, accounting for 20.2% of the market. It was valued at USD 2.27 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 2.88 billion by 2028. However, the automotive segment is projected to have the highest CAGR of 5.69% from 2023 to 2028.
PLCs are widely adopted in the automotive industry to meet its increasing demands. Initially used as relay replacement equipment, PLCs enable manufacturers to work smarter and faster, reducing operational expenses and production time through automated processes that minimize bottlenecks.
Manufacturing plants in the automotive industry are undergoing changes to incorporate new technologies that enhance productivity and efficiency. For instance, ATS Applied Tech Systems Ltd developed a tracking and tracing system for airbags using PLCs to achieve error-proofing and traceability. This system allows tracing of the airbag’s origin and the status of production machines during the manufacturing process, even years after production.
Automation has played a crucial role in increasing auto assembly globally while reducing costs. This trend has paved the way for the implementation of smart factories, where robots are extensively utilized. The automotive industry remains one of the largest users of robots and possesses highly automated supply chains.
The global demand for automobiles is continuously growing, with sales predicted to reach 69.9 million units by 2023. India’s automotive industry aims to increase vehicle exports by five times from 2016 to 2026. The country has shown significant potential for growth, leading to a need for better production facilities enabled by automation, which will drive the PLC market in this sector.
In terms of geography, the Asia-Pacific region held the largest share of the market in 2022, accounting for 36.6%. It was valued at USD 4.10 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 5.59 billion by 2028. The region is projected to have the highest CAGR of 5.20% during the forecast period.
China’s manufacturing sector plays a significant role in its economy, particularly with the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0. This transformation has positioned China as a leading player in the global PLC market.
India is experiencing growth in robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI)-based technologies, with the country being the second-largest revenue generator for the global RPA platform Automation Anywhere. The industrial automation sector in India has been revolutionized by combining digital and physical aspects of manufacturing to improve performance.
Japan has a strong presence in the robot manufacturing industry, with industrial robots being used to assemble robots themselves. The country is home to leading companies responsible for a significant portion of global robot production. This emphasis on automation is expected to drive the demand for PLCs in the region.
Other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, and Thailand, are also witnessing growth in industrial hubs. Thailand and Malaysia, in particular, are emerging as major industrial alternatives to China, supported by abundant raw materials and lower land rates. This trend is expected to increase the demand for PLCs in the Asia-Pacific market.
The programmable logic controller (PLC) market exhibits a moderate level of fragmentation, characterized by the presence of prominent players including ABB Ltd, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Schneider Electric SE, Rockwell Automation Inc, and Siemens AG. These key players employ strategic approaches such as partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions to augment their product portfolios and secure a sustainable competitive advantage in the market.
Key Companies Profiled in this report include ABB Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Schneider Electric SE, Rockwell Automation Inc., Siemens AG, Honeywell International Inc., Omron Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Robert Bosch GmbH, Emerson Electric Company, Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba International Corporation.
Recent Industry Developments
In August 2022, OMRON introduced the i-DMP (i-BELT Data Management Platform), a cutting-edge data-driven solution that aims to facilitate efficient problem-solving for clients by streamlining the integrated management of various data types. This platform is specifically designed to enhance factory floors by collecting and storing real-time data from existing systems and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) dispersed throughout the manufacturing floor. Through its connectivity to various networks, relational databases (RDB), and factory automation (FA) devices, the i-DMP ensures uniform data management.
In June 2022, Toshiba partnered with Farnell, a distributor of electronic components, to strengthen its supply chain for a diverse range of new and innovative products. This collaboration reflects Toshiba’s market-leading solutions across various sectors, including automotive, industrial, Internet of Things (IoT), motion control, telecoms, networking, and consumer and white goods applications. The partnership will primarily focus on leveraging Toshiba’s strengths, particularly in power solutions, as they continue to deliver high-quality products to meet market demands.
Key Questions Answered
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