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Ethernet/IP neck and neck with Profinet in networking stakes

26 May, 2022

Profinet and Ethernet/IP are now the front-runners in the industrial networking market, with each holding 17% of the global market, according to the latest annual survey conducted by HMS Networks. Profinet has slipped slightly (from 18%) over the past year, while Ethernet/IP has maintained its market share. But both face a potential challenge from EtherCat which has raised its share of the market from 8% to 11% over the past year. Modbus-TCP has grown slightly from 5% to 6%.

Industrial Ethernet technologies still now account for 66% of all new installed industrial communications nodes (up from 65% last year) with the number of nodes sold increasing by 10% as the market has expanded. Although traditional fieldbuses have slipped from 28% to 27% of the market, HMS expects the total number of fieldbus nodes installed during 2022 to grow by 4% compared to last year, following several years of decline. It suggests that the reason for this is that some factories are favouring established industrial networking systems in the uncertain climate caused by the Covid pandemic and component shortages.

HMS bases its market estimates on the number of new nodes installed for factory automation applications. It defines a node as a machine or device connected to an industrial field network. The figures are an amalgam of HMS’ sales statistics, its view of the market, and insights from colleagues in the industry.

HMS predicts that the total industrial networking market will expand by 8% this year.

In the fieldbus segment, Profibus remains the most widely installed technology with 7% share of the total industrial communications market, followed by Modbus-RTU on 5% and CC-Link on 4%. Together, the Modbus TCP and RTU technologies account for 11% of the market, down from 13% last year.

Although wireless technologies have expanded slightly from 7% to 8% of the market, they remain a niche and are typically used for specialised applications such as cable replacement, remote machine access and connections to mobile equipment. 5G has yet to be deployed in significant numbers.

According to HMS’ analysis, industrial Ethernet technologies now account for about two thirds of industrial networking node sales, with traditional fieldbuses slipping slightly to 27%.
Source: HMS Networks

In terms of regional sales, Ethernet/IP and Profinet continue to lead in Europe and the Middle East, with Profibus and EtherCat as runners up, followed by Modbus (RTU/TCP) and Ethernet Powerlink. The US market is dominated by EtherNet/IP, with EtherCat gaining market share. A fragmented Asian market is led by Profinet, followed by Ethernet/IP, CC-Link/CC-Link IE Field, EtherCat, Profibus and Modbus (RTU/TCP).

“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,” says HMS’ chief marketing officer, Anders Hansson. “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.”

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