Industrial Ethernet use growing in factory installations

The annual report from HMS Industrial Networks indicates industrial Ethernet is being installed more than traditional fieldbuses and is expected to grow even more as companies go wireless.

By HMS Industrial Networks February 22, 2018

Industrial Ethernet has overtaken traditional fieldbuses in terms of newly installed nodes in factory automation according to HMS Industrial Networks’ annual study of the industrial network market. Industrial Ethernet has been growing faster than traditional fieldbuses for a number of years and has now overtaken fieldbuses with a growth rate of 22%. Industrial Ethernet now makes up for 52% of the global market compared to 46% last year. EtherNet/IP has emerged as the largest network with 15% of the market. Ethernet runners-up globally are Profinet, EtherCAT, Modbus-TCP and Ethernet Powerlink.

"We have seen the transition to industrial Ethernet for a long time, but it isn’t until now that it has actually overtaken fieldbuses when it comes to number of new installed nodes," said Anders Hansson, chief marketing officer at HMS. "The transition to industrial Ethernet is driven by the need for high performance, integration between factory installations and IT/IoT-systems, as well as the Industrial Internet of Things in general."

Boosted by a strong industry and cybersecurity concerns in the industry, fieldbuses are still growing slightly. However, despite an increased growth rate at 6% (4 last year), the number of fieldbus installations is expected to decline steadily over the next few years. The dominant fieldbus is still Profibus with 12% of the total world market. Wireless is redefining the network picture Wireless technologies are also growing by 32% (32) and accounts for 6% (6) of the total market.

Within wireless, WLAN is the most popular technology, followed by Bluetooth. "Wireless is increasingly being used by machine builders and system integrators to realize innovative automation architectures. Users can reduce cabling and create new solutions for connectivity and control, including bring your own device (BYOD) solutions via tablets or smartphones," Hansson said.

In Europe and the Middle East, Profinet and EtherNet/IP are leading and Profibus is still widely used. Other popular networks are EtherCAT, Modbus-TCP and Ethernet Powerlink. The U.S. market is dominated by CIP networks with a clear movement towards EtherNet/IP. 

HMS Industrial Networks 

– Edited from an HMS Industrial Networks press release by CFE Media. See more Control Engineering Ethernet stories.