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IO-Link revenues hit $3.5bn in 2018 and are booming

07 February, 2019

Global sales of IO-Link compatible equipment were worth more than $3.5bn in 2018 and will grow by a further 12.2% in 2019, according to a new study by the analyst, Future Market Insights (FMI). It adds that IO-Link devices accounted for more than 56% of global turnover (almost $2bn) last year, with IO-Link masters accounting for the remainder.

FMI attributes the rapid growth to a combination of factors, including: rapidly expanding communications needed for industrial IoT; the increasing adoption of industrial Ethernet-based systems over fieldbus technologies; Government initiatives to promote industrial automation and the implementation of Industry 4.0; and reductions in the time and cost of developing IO-Link technologies.

“As data communication becomes pivotal for the industrial outcome, adoption of IO-Link systems has gained significant momentum across multiple industry verticals,” says FMI. “The standardised protocol of the IO-Link system allows manufacturers to easily implement affordable communication modules to complement the requirements of the ongoing industrial automation.”

Applications in handling and automated assembly accounted for more than 28% of global IO-Link revenues in 2018. These processes depend on accurate interaction of systems to increase productivity and achieve economical production.

According to FMI, the second-largest revenue source for IO-Link products is intralogistics, which was close behind handling and automated assembly in 2018. This situation is likely to continue in 2019.

The fastest-growing IO-Link application area is packaging. FMI predicts that revenues from this sector will experience a CAGR of 13.4% in 2019.

IO-Link applications in machine tools will account for more than 20% of global revenues in 2019.

The global market for IO-Link equipment will expand with a CAGR of 14.9% in the period to 2027, FMI predicts
Image: Murrelektronik

In terms of end-user markets, the semiconductor and electronics industry is witnessing significant penetration of IO-Link systems and accounted for more than one-third of global IO-Link revenues in 2018.

Adoption of IO-Link is also increasing in the automotive industry which generated the second-largest revenues for the IO-Link market in 2018. FMI predicts that automotive applications will be worth more than $2bn by 2027.

IO-Link is also making inroads into the medical equipment industry which is rapidly adopting automation technologies. The FMI study finds that this market generated $930m in revenues during 2018, accounting for a quarter of the market. It predicts that the market will grow by 13.2% in 2019.

The FMI study finds that Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) is the biggest regional market for IO-Link systems, accounting for almost a third of global revenues. Europe and North America together account for more than 40% of the global market.

FMI predicts that over the period from 2018 to 2027, the global IO-Link market will expand with a CAGR of 14.9%. By 2027, revenues from IO-Link devices (excluding masters) will be worth $5.78bn.

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