The Operator Training Simulators (OTS) study for the process market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over nine percent over the next five years.
The market was over US$450 million in 2012. The market is expected to continue to expand through 2017, according to a new study by the ARC Advisory Group, Operator Training Simulators Global Market Research Study.
The OTS market is at a pivot point with factors that all lead to an expanding market for the operator training simulation solutions for the process industries, particularly in the nuclear, oil and gas, and metals and mining industries.
“Key trends such as the aging workforce, the new digital generation worker, emerging market workers, safety and risk avoidance factors are all pointing towards OTS market growth,” according to Janice Abel, Principal Consultant, ARC Advisory Group and author of the study.
Decisions being made at the management and corporate level, notably in the nuclear, oil and gas, metals and mining, and other sectors, are to invest in operator training to reduce risks and increase safety and performance.
Loss of worker knowledge due to a retiring workforce, operational safety pressures, risk and regulatory concerns, and performance are all impacting manufacturing.
The younger digital generation worker that is replacing the current workforce lacks experience gained over a lifetime that can be used to operate a plant safely and efficiently.
In some emerging countries, workers change jobs on average every two years, and this too is a driver for additional OTS solutions.
According to Abel, “To retain knowledge, improve safety, and avert potential disasters, workers are receiving improved training using simulation solutions and this trend will continue.
"The OTS market will benefit from a perfect storm of factors that all point to growth in the operator training simulator market for the process industries.”
Companies are losing their most experienced operators, yet continue to push operations’ limits for economic reasons.
Operators with experience are harder to come by. All these factors increase the risks associated with operating a plant or asset safely.
In addition, the pressures of increasing government regulations to maintain safe, environmentally compliant operations while being capable of running the process efficiently and profitably are more important than ever.
Another key factor is the recognition regarding the role simulation plays in developing the next generation of worker (aging workforce issues) and how the tools can be used to capture previous generation knowledge.
The expected turnover of personnel and the loss of decades of knowledge and experience are forcing companies to build more robust training programs.
Process simulation training is vital for preventing incidents and accidents and understanding how to respond to worst-case scenarios in real life.
OTS, by offering Dynamic Simulation, is one of the most expedient and best training methods for operator retention.
Operators can get up to speed quickly, and be qualified with a high level of confidence that they can respond to abnormal plant conditions and avert potential disasters under stress.