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Industrial Ethernet sales double in two years

19 September, 2007

Between 2004 and 2006, global sales of industrial Ethernet switches and related network infrastructure more than doubled from $124m to $260m. A new forecast from the ARC Advisory group predicts that the market will continue to balloon by about 29% a year over the next few years, reaching almost $1bn by 2011.

ARC cannot foresee any barrier that could bring this growth to a halt, but it reports that sales of other types of industrial network have also been expanding during recent years. However, some – perhaps many – of the applications currently served by other industrial device and motion control networks will eventually migrate to industrial Ethernet, ARC adds.

As Ethernet penetrates down the automation ladder into simple devices, network reliability and performance will become critical in the production process, ARC suggests. This is most evident when Ethernet is used to control the motion of machine elements directly, as is starting to happen now.

"While Ethernet will never entirely replace device networks, it will continue to pick up more applications over time," predicts ARC senior analyst, Harry Forbes, the report’s principal author. "We also see a trend for devices to embed some form of Ethernet switching internally, especially in motion control applications. This may blur the distinction between an industrial device and an Ethernet switch at some point in the future."

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