IIoT driving Industrial Ethernet growth for 2018

For factory automation, the installation of Industrial Ethernet nodes has overtaken traditional fieldbuses for the first time. This is the finding in HMS Industrial Networks’ annual study of the industrial network market for 2018.


IIoT driving Industrial Ethernet growth

The move to Industrial Ethernet reflects the needs for high performance networks expected by the adoption of IIoT and Industry 4. The driver is the expected growth in shop floor data, and handling the increased integration between factory automation and IT systems.

“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,” says Anders Hansson, Chief Marketing Officer at HMS.

Industrial Ethernet has been growing faster than traditional fieldbuses for several years and has now overtaken them. With a growth rate of 22%, Industrial Ethernet now comprises 52% of the global market compared to 46% last year. EtherNet/IP has emerged as the largest network with 15% of the market. Following this globally, are PROFINET, EtherCAT, Modbus-TCP and Ethernet POWERLINK. There are also regional variations.

The HMS Industrial Networks analysis focuses on new installed nodes within factory automation globally. As an independent supplier of products and services for industrial communication and the Internet of Things, HMS has a substantial insight into the industrial network market.


IIoT driving Industrial Ethernet growth


Traditional fieldbuses holding their own

Boosted by a strong industry and cyber-security 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 expect to decline over the next few years. The dominant fieldbus is still PROFIBUS with 12% of the total world market, followed by Modbus-RTU and CC-Link, both at 6%

HMS analysis of new fieldbus installations

Global Fieldbus market shares


Wireless is redefining the network picture

Wireless technologies have again grown at 32% and account for 6% of the total market. Within Wireless, WLAN is the most popular technology, followed by Bluetooth. “Wireless is increasingly used by machine builders and system integrators to realize innovative automation architectures. Users can reduce cabling and create new solutions for connectivity and control. This includes Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) solutions via tablets or smartphones,” says Anders Hansson.


Regional network variations

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. CIP networks dominate the US market, with a clear movement towards EtherNet/IP.

In Asia, no network stands out as truly market-leading. PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, PROFIBUS, EtherCAT, Modbus and CC-Link are widely used, with the Ethernet version CC-Link IE Field also gaining.

Furthermore, they say industrial devices will become increasingly connected, boosted by the Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0.


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