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Industrial Ethernet cable sales growing faster than 17%

11 August, 2016

The global market for industrial Ethernet cables is expanding with a CAGR of more than 17%, and will be worth $941m by 2020, according to a new study by Technavio. Although copper cables still dominate – with a market share of more than 77% in 2015 – fibre optic cables are the fastest-growing technology, due to their ability to operate at gigabit speeds over long distances and to withstand radio and electromagnetic interference. They are the preferred technology in the oil and gas, and pulp and paper industries.

The increasing use of PoE (Power over Ethernet) cables will be a key driver for the Ethernet cable market, Technavio suggests. Future PoE cables will be able to deliver more power, while remaining compatible with existing standards and devices. They will offer low costs, ease of maintenance, installation flexibility, and reduced floor space requirements.

According to the analyst, the EMEA region is the largest market for industrial Ethernet cables market and will be growing at a CAGR of about 16% by 2020, driven partly by an increasing demand for robots and smart factories.

The new report, Global Industrial Ethernet Cables Market 2016-2020, breaks down the market into three application areas: on factory floors; on machines; and in control rooms.

The factory-floor market was worth an estimated $222.6m in 2015, and Technavio expects it to reach $521m by 2020, growing at a CAGR of more than 18%. As well as offering the reliability and network security of traditional fieldbuses, industrial Ethernet has the added attractions of improved bandwidth, open connectivity, and standardisation, the analyst says.

Gigabit Ethernet is preferred for higher-level industrial control applications on factory floors, due to its high speed and ability to transmit crucial real-time data. Twisted-pair Cat 6 and 6a copper cables as well as fibre optic cables can achieve data transmission speeds of 100Mbps to 1Gbps.

The global market for Ethernet cables used on machines is expected to be worth $291m by 2020, representing a CAGR of more than 15%, says Technavio. It adds that machine-builders are increasingly adopting industrial Ethernet networks such as EtherCat, Modbus TCP/IP, and Sercos III to establish communications between HMIs, distributed I/O, sensors, controls, drives, and electric motors in their machines and robots. Technavio predicts that Ethernet/IP sector will dominate the market, with a CAGR of around 19% by 2020.

“Industrial Ethernet cabling can withstand extreme temperatures and resist chemical and oil spills,” points out Technavio analyst, Bharath Kanniappan. “These cables are being increasingly adopted to support the framework within these machines due to increased adoption of industrial robots and industrial plant equipment and machinery.”

The global market for industrial Ethernet cables used in control rooms is growing at a CAGR of almost 17%. Control-room local area networks (LANs) include printers, HMIs, servers, and wide-area network (WAN) devices. Previously, systems integrators used mixed-mode networks with cheap commercial-grade switches and cables in control rooms, and industrial-grade switches and cables in the field. But, says Technavio, the use of such mixed networks can create interoperability issues and delay the diagnosis of problems.

It adds that customised cables are becoming popular in control rooms due to different redundancy requirements within the confined environment. Vendors have started to invest in customising cabling with input from consultants and contractors who are involved in designing control rooms.

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