The global programmable logic controller (PLC) market is projected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 6% and reach ₹1.12 lakh crore ($17.36 billion) by 2021, according to market research firm Technavio.

A programmable logic controller (PLC) is a controller that facilitates automation and mechanical processes in manufacturing plants and buildings. It is incorporated directly into field devices such as sensors, transmitters and actuators to bring seamless automation to the factory floor.

The popularity of unitary PLCs is currently on the decline due to the raising standard in industrial production, growing demand for higher productivity and large competitive pressure on market players, according to Technavio analysts.

In comparison, modular PLCs are expected to grow swiftly through the forecast period and establish themselves as the most popular product segment by 2021. A modular PLC comprises distinct modules that can be coupled together to build a customised controller and meet complex industrial application demands. Modular PLCs are widely used in the automotive sector and is expected to find rapid adoption during the forecast period.

Technavio analysts project the electronics industry’s dependence on modular PLCs to bring flexibility in automation during manufacturing of high precision wafers, microchips and electronic goods.

Meanwhile, high demand from emerging needs of industrial applications will help rackmount programmable logic units become the fastest growing segment of the global PLC market, said Bharath Kanniappan, lead analyst at Technavio for automation research,

Rackmount PLCs are also called modular PLCs but are incorporated differently, with its various modules separated by a rack. Rackmount PLCs can be built as a larger system in a less cluttered and uncomplicated manner, with the seamless insertion and removal of modules offering enhanced flexibility for users to managed scaled applications.