Research: Industrial network trends

A sampling of Control Engineering subscribers involved in buying and specifying industrial network devices often include IT on cross-functional teams, according to research published in April 2007. April issue article by “Product Research: Industrial Networking” cites subscriber survey results and lists related new products from leading vendors.

05/03/2007


A sampling of Control Engineering subscribers involved in buying and specifying industrial network devices often include IT on cross-functional teams, according to research published in April 2007. April issue article by “Product Research: Industrial Networking” cites subscriber survey results and lists related new products from leading vendors.

Research results upon which the article was based include:

• Among respondents who formed and use industrial network cross-function teams, 63% include the engineering department; 40% included members from information technology on their team.

• When respondents were asked for their primary applications for industrial networks, 61% indicated supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA); 51% cite diagnostics, testing, and maintenance.

• Network hardware devices, network software tools, PLC hardware, and I/O products and systems are the most popular choices for network connectivity now and in the future.Ethernet TCP/IP, 4-20mA, RS-232, and RS-485 are the most popular network protocol selection for now and in the future.

• When asked about the importance of attributes when purchasing industrial network products, 85% of respondents mentioned reliability as the most important factor (top box = very important); 70% mentioned product quality followed by communication capabilities (68%).

• When asked which considerations are important when selecting an industrial network products manufacturer, responsiveness to problems was mentioned by 75% (top box) of participants. Technical assistance was close behind as 74% of respondents mentioned this as being very important.

• I/O devices and connectors garnered the highest level of respondent expenditures last year on industrial network products (mean basis). Wire and cable was second highest with a mean expenditure of just over $77,000. However, most categories witnessed significant investments as determined by the percentages purchasing within the $100,000 or more category.

• For those companies expecting a return, half (50%) expect a return on investment (ROI) of 30% or less for their annual expenditures on industrial network products.Over half (53%) of total respondents indicate the company does not track or expect industrial networks to have an ROI.

• 40% of respondent companies expect an annual savings of greater than $25,000 from their industrial network product investment; 29% of respondents mention their company does not expect any savings; 20% of respondents felt a one to two year time frame was needed to generate anticipated savings from the use of industrial network products.

• Less than half (46%) of respondents use third-party integrators or consultants for industrial network applications.Results vary in terms of how much respondent’s state spending on services from third party integrators or consultants for industrial network applications.

Other resources for network information include:

- Control Engineering online (various articles, news, products, newsletters, research, Webcasts, podcasts…);

- Control Engineering Resource Center databases;

- Control Engineering Buyer’s Guide ; and

- Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide .

Edited by Mark T. Hoske , editor in chief
Control Engineering System Integration eNewsletter

Mark DeVito, Control Engineering research director, contributed.