Industrial networks keep growing despite challenging times


Wednesday, 01 June, 2022

Industrial networks keep growing despite challenging times

Every year, HMS Networks analyses the industrial network market to estimate the distribution of new connected nodes in factory automation. This year’s study shows that the industrial network market is expected to grow by 8% in 2022.

Growing by 10%, Industrial Ethernet continues to take market share. Industrial Ethernet now makes up for 66% of the global market of new installed nodes in factory automation (compared to 65% last year). EtherNet/IP and Profinet share first place at 17% market share, but EtherCAT takes a big leap forward and reaches double digits for the first time at 11% market share. Modbus TCP is also doing well as it grows to 6% market share.

Fieldbuses are growing again

Fieldbuses are at 27% market share compared to 28% last year. However, there is an interesting fact behind these numbers as HMS concludes that despite losing 1% market share, the actual number of installed fieldbus nodes is expected to grow by 4% in 2022 compared to last year, following several years of decline. The underlying reason is believed to be the fact that factories favour established industrial network solutions in uncertain times such as these.

Profibus remains the most installed fieldbus with 7% market share, followed by Modbus RTU at 5% and CC-Link at 4%. Interestingly, the Modbus technologies TCP and RTU continue to be widely used also in modern factories, together accounting for 11% of the market in 2022 compared to last year.

Wireless use cases emerge: impact of 5G is yet to come

Wireless has grown 8%, which is on par with the overall growth rate of the network market, thus remaining at 7% market share. Typical use cases include cable replacement applications, wireless machine access and connectivity to mobile industrial equipment. The market still awaits the deployment and impact of 5G in next-generation factory automation installations.

Market shares 2022 according to HMS Networks - fieldbus, industrial Ethernet and wireless.

Market shares 2022 according to HMS Networks — fieldbus, industrial Ethernet and wireless. For a larger image click here.

Industrial networking is key for productivity and sustainability in manufacturing

“Industrial network connectivity is an absolute key to reaching productivity and sustainability objectives in modern 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 not only productivity and sustainability, but also quality, flexibility and cybersecurity, and we know that solid industrial networking is key to achieving this as well. While we see growth across all network areas, it is particularly interesting to see that the established fieldbus technologies are getting back to growth again.”

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 developing strongly and gaining market share. Profinet leads a fragmented Asian market, followed by EtherNet/IP and strong contenders CC-Link/CC-Link IE Field, EtherCAT, Profibus and Modbus (RTU/TCP).

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

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