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Industrial Ethernet exceeds two thirds of comms market

05 May, 2023

Profinet and EtherNet/IP have reinforced their position as joint leaders of the industrial communications market, with each accounting for 18% of new factory automation nodes installed in the past year, according to HMS Networks’ annual survey of the industrial communications market. Their market shares have increased slightly from 17% each last year, while EtherCat has also added 1% to its share, taking it to 12% of the global market.

For the first time, various versions of industrial Ethernet now account for more than two-thirds (68%) of the node market, up from 66% in 2022. The number of newly-installed industrial Ethernet nodes grew by around 10% over the past year.

Modbus-TCP has slipped slightly from 6% to 5% of the whole communications market, while CC-Link IE Field has grown slightly from 2% to 3%, giving it the same share as Powerlink, which has retained 3% of the market.

Fieldbus technologies have continued their long-term decline, dropping from 27% of new nodes in 2022 to 24% this year. Profibus leads the fieldbus rankings with 6% of the total communications market (down from 7%), with Modbus-RTU close behind on 5% (the same as last year). CC-Link and DeviceNet have both dropped by 1% to 3%, while CANopen stays on 2%.

HMS points out that while the number of new fieldbus nodes is declining, many devices, machines and factories will continue to rely on proven fieldbus technologies for years to come.

Wireless communications is the fastest-growing segment, although from a fairly modest base. The number of wireless nodes installed has risen by 22% over the past year, from 7% to 8% of the total industrial communications market. The segment is dominated by WLAN technologies with 4% of the market, followed by Bluetooth on 1%. Other wireless technologies, including 5G, account for 2% of the market.

Typical uses for wireless communications include cable replacement, machine access and connections to mobile equipment.

Industrial Ethernet dominates the industrial communications market with sales rising by 10% in the past year. The wireless market has expanded by 22%, while sales of fieldbus nodes have fallen by 5%.
Source: HMS Networks

In Europe and the Middle East, the leading industrial communications technologies are EtherNet/IP, Profinet and EtherCat, with Profibus and Modbus-TCP as runners-up. The US market is dominated by EtherNet/IP, with EtherCat gaining market share. The fragmented Asian market is led by Profinet, followed by EtherNet/IP, CC-Link/CC-Link IE Field, EtherCat, Profibus, and Modbus (RTU/TCP).

HMS expects the total global market for industrial networking nodes to expand by around 7% this year.

“Solid industrial network connectivity is key to achieve the manufacturing uptime which is needed to reach productivity and sustainability objectives in factory automation,” says Magnus Jansson, product marketing director of HMS Networks’ Anybus business. “Quality, security, safety, and gaining insights through device and machine data, are key drivers we see for the continued expansion of industrial networking.”

For its survey, HMS defines a node as a machine or device connected to an industrial field network. Its figures are a consolidated view derived from the company’s own sales, insights from colleagues in the industry, and its perception of the market.

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