IT-systems/IIoT changing industrial network market

According to the latest HMS Networks survey, industrial network markets are reflecting the need for integration between factory installations and IT-systems/IIoT applications. Market information is important not only for product marketer, but also for manufacturing engineers seeking productivity improvements.

Industrial fieldbuses decline for first time

According to their latest report, more types of industrial equipment are connecting to industrial networks. The expectation for 2019 is the number of new nodes will grow by 10%. The definition of a node is as a machine or device connected to an industrial network. Industrial Ethernet and Wireless continue to grow fast, but 2019 also marks the first year of fieldbus decline.

Industrial Ethernet now accounts for 59% of new installed nodes (52% last year), while fieldbuses are on 35% (42%). Regional variations continue, but globally, EtherNet/IP the most widely installed network at 15%, but PROFINET now at 14%.

Ethernet runners-up globally are EtherCAT at 7%, Ethernet POWERLINK at 5%, and Modbus-TCP at 4% and all showing stable growth. Wireless technologies continue to develop strongly and are steady at 6% of the market (6%).

For the first time, fieldbuses are declining by -5% compared to +6% growth last year. They now account for 35% of new nodes, and PROFIBUS remains the dominant fieldbus with 10% share worldwide. Following this are CC-Link at 6% and Modbus-RTU at 5%.

IT-systems/IIoT changing industrial network market

“The transition to industrial Ethernet continues and is driven by the need for high performance and the need for integration between factory installations and IT-systems/IIoT applications,” says Anders Hansson, Chief Marketing Officer at HMS Networks. We see good growth for many industrial Ethernet networks – for the established Ethernet/IP, PROFINET, EtherCAT, POWERLINK and Modbus-TCP, as well as for the networks grouped in the ‘other Ethernet’ category. This fragmented Ethernet picture is very interesting, and it goes to prove that industrial Ethernet never standardized on one network as many predicted.”

Machine builders favouring wireless solutions

Wireless technologies are also growing by 30% (32%) and accounts for 6% (6%) of the total market. Within Wireless, WLAN is the most popular technology, followed by Bluetooth. “Wireless is increasingly popular with machine builders and system integrators to realize new, innovative automation architectures. Users can reduce cabling and create new solutions for connectivity and control” says Anders Hansson. “We also see increased activities globally around cellular technologies as enablers for Smart and Flexible Manufacturing.”

Regional network variations

In Europe and the Middle East, EtherNet/IP and PROFINET are leading and PROFIBUS is still widely used. Other popular networks are EtherCAT and Ethernet POWERLINK. CIP networks continue to dominate the US market, but with a clear movement towards EtherNet/IP. EtherCAT is continuing to gain market share. In Asia, no network stands out as clear market-leader. PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, PROFIBUS, EtherCAT, Modbus and CC-Link are widely used, with the Ethernet version CC-Link IE Field strengthening.