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Ethernet explosion will affect automation `profoundly`

01 February, 2003

Ethernet explosion will affect automation `profoundly`

Despite the downturn in automation markets around the world, sales of industrial Ethernet devices have been growing by more than 50% a year for the past two years. In a new study*, the ARC Advisory Group forecasts that this rapid growth will continue, with the market mushrooming from 286,800 nodes last year to more than 6 million nodes by 2007.

ARC predicts that rapid penetration of Ethernet at the device level "will profoundly affect the future architecture of manufacturing automation". It adds that users now realise the potential offered by Ethernet used with TCP/IP protocols to give devices services such as Web access.

The growth in Ethernet devices has come despite a shrinkage in some allied markets such as small PLCs and DCS components. ARC attributes this to the rapid rate of Ethernet product launches in the past couple of years, especially by large automation suppliers.

"End users have been accumulating an experience base with these new products, and volume should build substantially in 2003," predicts ARC senior analyst Harry Forbes, who is the study`s principal author.

ARC expects many more industrial Ethernet products to emerge to tap the growing demand. "Ethernet technology is not standing still," it says.

* Ethernet at the device level worldwide outlook. Details from

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