Sensors already have a wide range of applications in the food and beverage industry, including the promotion of more efficient and environmentally sustainable production and manufacturing. According to a report from Frost & Sullivan, "Sensors Market in the Global Food and Beverage Industry," the use of sensors is expected to continue growing as the automation of food and beverage processes increases.

Analysis from Frost & Sullivan found that the market earned approximately $2.9 billion in 2012, and estimates this to reach $4.16 billion in 2018. Their research covers flow, level, pressure, temperature, photoelectric, inductive, capacitive, ultrasonic sensors and biosensors. Part of the sensor-use impetus comes from more regulation.

"The presence of standards and regulatory compliance requirements is one of the major drivers for the implementation of sensor systems," said Frost & Sullivan's Measurement & Instrumentation Senior Industry Analyst V. Sankarnarayanan. "Governments across the globe have strict laws that mandate the use of sensors and other electronic devices that sense the risk involved in food contamination."

According to the report, food and beverage manufacturers are increasingly relying on automated controls to achieve higher quality and consistency. These controls can measure, regulate or record pressure, temperature and other conditions, which has fuelled the demand for sensors.

"The conversion of less sophisticated controls to state-of-the-art automation systems is an important growth catalyst, as better automation improves performance, reduces cost, increases production and energy efficiency, as well as boosts productivity," Sankarnarayanan said. "Sensors are Ethernet/IP-enabled, intelligent and communicate through standard networks, enhancing overall performance."

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