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UK automation sector shrinks by 4.9%, after five years of growth

21 July, 2016

The UK industrial automation sector shrank by 4.9% in 2015, ending five years of continuous growth, according to figures released by Gambica, the trade body that represents the UK’s control, automation and instrumentation industries. The process instrumentation and control sector suffered an even steeper decline of around 12% in 2015, largely due to the collapse in the price of oil which resulted in many projects being put on hold.

According to Gambica’s figures, the UK’s industrial automation sector fell back last year to below 2013 levels, following a steady recovery since the economic crisis of 2008/09.

The one bright spot in the organisation’s area of activity was the laboratory technology sector, which expanded by 4.4% during 2015 – a slight decrease on the 5.5% growth that it achieved during 2014. Since 2010, when this market grew by 1.4%, it has recorded an average growth of more than 5% every year.

Gambica combines the results of all of its sectors to produce an indicator that it calls the Gambica Index, which grew by 0.6% in 2015 (using 2006 as a reference point). This was the lowest rate of expansion in the nine years that the trade body has been collecting the data.

The UK's industrial automation industry has been the poorest performing of Gambica's sectors since the organisation began analysing comparative data in 2006

Gambica attributes the results to a combination of factors such as political uncertainty, exchange rates and the low oil price, which have affected some of its sectors more adversely than others.

•  Gambica has appointed Sebastian Amos to lead its process instrumentation and control sector. He will work alongside Andrew Evans, who has led the sector for the past five years, in a gradual changeover process, before Evans becomes Gambica’s technical director. In this new role, Evans will cover the implications of digital technology, standards and regulatory developments for the UK electrotechnical trade body, Beama, as well as Gambica. Amos joins from Rockwell Automation, were he was global proposals manager for the oil and gas sector.

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