More industrial Ethernet spending, more productivity
The outlook for Ethernet spending is increasing, along with anticipated productivity gains, according to recent Control Engineering research on mobility, Ethernet, and wireless. Control Engineering, part of CFE Media, performed the research, in part, to better understand how users of automation, controls, and instrumentation are integrating Ethernet communications (which can support mobility and wireless technologies). These technologies are key components in plant to enterprise integration, industrial Internet, Internet of things (IOT), big data analytics, and manufacturing optimization.
In the next 12 months, nearly half of survey respondents expect to spend more on Ethernet and increase productivity by about the same amount. An additional 40% expect to spend about the same on Ethernet products. The most common products used, specified, and purchased include switches, wire or cable, networks, connectors, and routers. When asked how integrated Ethernet is with controls, automation, and instrumentation, “highly integrated” was the most common answer.
Control Engineering surveyed readers in October. Survey results from 200 respondents, analysis, and graphics comprise the November report on mobility, Ethernet, and wireless technologies. The summary results below focus on Ethernet. The survey results specific to mobility and wireless will be addressed in a later article.
In this Control Engineering research on Ethernet:
- 46% of respondents see Ethernet as highly integrated with controls, automation, and instrumentation, and 40% see Ethernet as somewhat integrated.
- Around 60% of what’s spent on Ethernet goes to products. Services get somewhat less.
- Among those working on Ethernet-related projects, operations/engineering and business IT were the most common, with manufacturing IT, system integrators, and consultants working on Ethernet somewhat less.
- Ethernet, industrial mobility, and wireless technologies are used 77% on the plant floor or operations areas, and half of respondents use these technologies to interconnect the plant floor with the enterprise.
- Most used Ethernet protocols among respondents were EtherNet/IP, TCP/IP and UDP, Modbus TCP, Profinet, and EtherCAT.
- Around 40% of respondents said Ethernet was easy to install; about the same described it as more challenging to implement.
- Data access is the greatest technology benefit of Ethernet, cited by 63% of respondents.
- Security along with lack of training, education, and support are among major adoption challenges.
More graphics, more about respondents, and more details and analysis about this Control Engineering Ethernet research is available here: 2013 Mobility, Ethernet, and Wireless Study.
In addition, two Control Engineering webcasts, offering one professional development hour (PDH) credit each, cover the topics of Ethernet technologies and case studies.
At bottom of this posting, see also links to two recent Control Engineering articles on plant-to-enterprise integration.
– Mark T. Hoske, content manager CFE Media, Control Engineering, and Plant Engineering, firstname.lastname@example.org. CFE Media’s Amanda McLeman helped with survey preparation, compilation, and analysis.