ARC Report: Engineering design tool market strong

Collaboration to plant floor on the increase as tools get more robust.

07/23/2012


What is the market for the tools engineers use to design and build virtually everything in the world? The worldwide market for engineering design tools for industry and infrastructure is quite strong in almost all sectors, and will continue to exhibit good growth, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

Owner/operators of both industrial and infrastructure assets, many of which are nearing the end-of-life phase, are being pressured to “sweat the assets.” Owners are increasingly utilizing engineering design tools to prolong and extend the life and efficiency of assets in the Brownfield case.

“Although engineering and design tools historically were previously designed more or less purely for design and engineering stakeholders such as AECs or EPCs, engineering design tool offerings have morphed into more robust collaborative agents that can be utilized by owners and agents for the entire lifecycle of the infrastructure or plant asset,“ according to director of consulting Russ Novak, the principal author of ARC’s “Engineering Design Tools for Industry and Infrastructure.” 

In developing regions, the basic first step to growth is the creation of the primary level of infrastructure —it’s a precursor to industrial asset creation. As such there will continue to be a huge demand over the next 10-15 years in developing regions. Most of the population growth in these regions will be centered in urban areas where some predict 96% of the population will live.

In developed regions the maintenance and securing of existing and sometimes aging infrastructure assets is a continuing challenge, especially in the face of flat or declining public funding.

Developed regions are also looking to install new high-tech approaches to manage infrastructure assets as well as design and build new age assets or retrofit legacy infrastructure components.

From a project standpoint, mobility solutions offer the biggest advantage during the construction phase as engineering and design attributes can be compared to actual field conditions. As mobile handheld devices add functionality, new areas of business value continue to emerge. This technology convergence enables more powerful applications. With mobile devices now able to incorporate virtualization and display intelligent multi-layered 3-D models, technologies such as enhanced reality become readily available. As mobile device technology become more pervasive, expectations and willingness to adopt mobile devices improves. The number of mobile applications for engineering design tools is growing.

Much has been written about the slowing market opportunity in China. The issue is somewhat relative—what do you define as a “slowdown”?

There are still estimates that half of the infrastructure spend in Asia over the next five years will be in China. The market opportunity remains huge by any definition. The China spend will be reallocated between various infrastructure and industrial development projects, but the overall trend is quite positive. If a given sector’s growth forecast drops from 19% to 14%, and is projected to remain steady for five years, that’s a pretty good market potential by any standard. Although the high-speed rail program has been cut back, projects in energy continue to be projected at a growth rate in excess of 10% annually.



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