Industrial Ethernet Still Outpaces Automation


By Andrew Bond, Industrial Automation Insider

Dec 02, 2009

While the rate of installation of Ethernet nodes in industrial automation networks is set to slow from over 5 million in 2008 to less than 4.7 million in 2009, according to a newly published report from IMS Research, ". . . the percentage decline is less than for industrial automation as a whole, indicating that Ethernet is continuing to gain favor with users", says report author John Morse.

IMS analyzed 16 major product groups for Ethernet connectivity and use and used forecasts of industrial production by sector to develop a realistic projection through 2013. Despite the short-term decline, it concluded, industrial Ethernet networking installations will grow by over 10% a year from 2011.

Standard Ethernet

According to the report, over half of all Ethernet nodes deployed in industrial automation applications are standard Ethernet TCP/IP, but new installations of dedicated industrial variants are nevertheless projected to grow by 40% over the forecast period. The world market for industrial Ethernet infrastructure components is estimated to have been worth $720 million in 2008, falling to $650 million in 2009.

Meanwhile the world market for Industrial PCs (IPCs) is set actually to contract by 11% between 2008 and 2009 from $1.9 billion to less than $1.7 billion, says IMS. Revenues from the automotive end-user sector, the largest adopter of IPCs, are set to decline by more than 15% while the largest regional decline is expected in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa). In both cases, says senior analyst Mark Watson, revenues in 2013 will still be lower than in 2008, although the Asia-Pacific automotive sector will still manage some growth. "Those sectors closely linked to the automotive industry will be hardest hit, in particular machine tools and robotics," says Watson who expects a slow recovery to begin in 2010, with the market finally regaining its 2008 level in the second half of 2012.

  • The market for ATEX-certified hazardous area equipment in Europe and the Middle East will exceed Euro 2.5bn by 2013, says IMS, driven primarily by the pharmaceutical and oil and gas industries, but most powerfully by the oil price. With the upstream oil and gas industry being forced into increasingly hostile environments offshore, the market for hazardous area equipment used in oil and gas is expected to grow by some Euro 100m.
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