Continued growth for industrial networks despite pandemic


Monday, 19 April, 2021


Continued growth for industrial networks despite pandemic

HMS Networks has presented its annual analysis of the industrial network market, focusing on new installed nodes within factory automation globally. The 2021 study includes estimated market shares and growth rates for fieldbuses, industrial Ethernet and wireless technologies.

The study concludes that the industrial network market is showing signs of regained stability and HMS expects the total market to grow by 6% in 2021.

Industrial Ethernet is growing steadily

Growing by 8%, industrial Ethernet continues to take market share. Industrial Ethernet now makes up 65% of the global market of new installed nodes in factory automation (compared to 64% last year). EtherNet/IP and Profinet are fighting for first place, but this year Profinet has passed EtherNet/IP at the top of the network rankings with 18% market share compared to 17%. EtherCAT continues to perform well globally and now matches the leading fieldbus, Profibus, at 8% market share.

Fieldbus decline halted

The ongoing fieldbus decline reported by HMS in recent years is almost halted, with a fieldbus decrease of only 1% in 2021, as factories tend to stick to existing technologies to a higher degree in uncertain times, such as during the pandemic. Fieldbuses are now at 28% market share of the total amount of new installed nodes (30% last year). Profibus is still the clear fieldbus leader at 8%, followed by Modbus-RTU at 5% share and CC-Link at 4%.

Wireless is here to stay

Wireless continues to grow rapidly at a rate of 24%. Wireless now has a 7% market share but the market still awaits the full impact of 5G in factories. With ongoing global activities around wireless cellular technologies as enablers for next-level smart manufacturing, HMS expects that market demand will increase for wirelessly connected devices and machines to be included in the less-cabled and flexible automation architectures of the future.

Market shares in 2021 according to HMS Networks – fieldbus, industrial Ethernet and wireless.

Market shares in 2021 according to HMS Networks — fieldbus, industrial Ethernet and wireless. For a larger image, click here.

Smart and sustainable manufacturing requires networking

“Industrial network connectivity for devices and machines is key to obtaining smart and sustainable manufacturing, and this is the main driver for the growth we see in the industrial networking market,” said Anders Hansson, Chief Marketing Officer at HMS Networks. “Factories are constantly working to optimise productivity, sustainability, quality, flexibility and security. Solid industrial networking is key to achieving these objectives.”

Regional network variations

EtherNet/IP and Profinet are leading in Europe and the Middle East, with Profibus and EtherCAT as runners-up. Other popular networks are Modbus (RTU/TCP) and Ethernet POWERLINK. The US market is dominated by EtherNet/IP, with EtherCAT gaining some market share. Profinet and EtherNet/IP lead a fragmented Asian market, followed by strong contenders CC-Link/CC-Link IE Field, Profibus, EtherCAT and Modbus (RTU/TCP).

Scope of the study

The study includes HMS’s estimation for 2021 based on number of new installed nodes within factory automation. A node is defined as a machine or device connected to an industrial field network. The presented figures represent HMS’s consolidated view, considering insights from colleagues in the industry, its own sales statistics and its overall perception of the market.

Top image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/alphaspirit

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