NATICK, MA—A report from Venture Development Corp. states that with the introduction of programmable safety controls and safety buses, more integration of safeguarding equipment with overall machine controls is expected. Also, major control system manufacturers are expected to become more active in the market.

The report, entitled "The U.S. Market for Machine Automatic Safeguarding Equipment," states that shipments to U.S. markets are expected to recover over the next 5 years and increase to $308 million by 2006. The highest market growth rate is forecast for programmable safety controllers that can be interfaced with various safety controls in machinery control systems. Among electronic safety sensors, the largest U.S. sales volume is for light curtains.

Among safety interlock switches, the largest U.S. sales volume is for keyed and unkeyed electro-mechanical types. However, there is increasing competition between magnetic and electromechanical switches, particularly for door-guarding applications.

Automatic safeguarding equip-ment with safety bus network interfaces is expected to take a significant share of the market in 2006, with the bulk of shipments to U.S. markets expected to use SafetyBUS p and safety bus versions of AS-I, DeviceNet, Ethernet and Profibus.