Source: ETG
With 77.1 million nodes worldwide as of December 2023, EtherCAT continues to prove its prominence in the world of industrial networking and automation technology.

EtherCAT tops 77 million nodes by adding 18 million in 2023

May 28, 2024
Figures published for the first time to mark 20 years of EtherCAT protocol

EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) reported Apr. 24 that it’s reached a total of 77.1 million EtherCAT nodes sold worldwide—including 18 million added in 2023 alone. ETG adds it published these node figures for the first time last year to mark 20 years of EtherCAT, which is why they’re not yet included in most market studies.

"The number of new EtherCAT nodes added in 2023 is impressive. We assumed chip sales would fall drastically after the end of the semiconductor crisis, as everyone had stockpiled significantly more chips than were needed in the short term," explains Martin Rostan, executive director at ETG. "In addition, the market as a whole cooled down last year. Nevertheless, EtherCAT growth continues without interruption."

ETG explains its figures are based on EtherCAT chips sold through the end of 2023, and doesn’t include chips for individual I/O terminals. For example, an I/O station with 50 EtherCAT bus terminals only counts as a single node. Chips with multi-protocol capability are counted according to their EtherCAT use and are included proportionally. Of course, not every chip immediately becomes an EtherCAT device, but counting chips still leads to a more accurate total than other methods.

Rostan adds it might be convenient to think that ETG overinflated these figures for marketing purposes, but that’s not the reality. On the contrary, the organization adds its counting method is comparatively cautious to ensure accuracy.

ETG adds it was reluctant to publish node numbers until last year. Another reason is that device numbers based on FPGAs can only be estimated, in contrast to chip sales. These used to account for a higher proportion of implementations. In the now-published figures, FPGAs only account for 10%, so some blurring has no significant impact on the overall figure.

ETG's membership is also growing. With more than 7,600 member companies in 74 countries, ETG reports that it’s world's largest fieldbus user organization. Despite ongoing economic challenges, membership growth even accelerated in the past 12 months, with ETG also reporting more than 500 new members in 2023.

About the Author

Jim Montague | Executive Editor

Jim Montague is executive editor of Control.