Industrial networks are linking more equipment than ever, which is why newly connected nodes are expected to increase by 10% this year, according to a recent study, "Market shares 2019—fieldbus, industrial Ethernet and wireless," by HMS Industrial Networks. The annual study also found that industrial Ethernet and wireless will continue to grow quickly in 2019, but it will also be the first year that fieldbuses decrease.
In 2018, HMS reported that industrial Ethernet had surpassed traditional fieldbuses for the first time, and this trend continues in 2019. With a steady growth rate of 20%, industrial Ethernet makes up 59% of the global market in 2019, compared to 52% in 2018. EtherNet/IP is the largest industrial Ethernet network with 15% of the market, while Profinet has almost closed the gap and is now at 14%. Ethernet runners-up globally are EtherCAT at 7%, Ethernet Powerlink at 5%, and Modbus-TCP at 4%, all of which are showing stable growth.
Meanwhile, for the first time ever, fieldbuses are declining by -5% in 2019, compared to 6% growth last year, and now account for 35% of new installed nodes. The dominant fieldbus is still Profibus with 10% of the total world market, followed by CC-Link at 6% and Modbus-RTU at 5%.
“The transition to industrial Ethernet continues and is driven by the need for high performance and the need for integration between factory installations and IT-systems/IIoT applications,” says Anders Hansson, chief marketing officer at HMS. “For the first time, we're seeing traditional fieldbuses are declining in new installed nodes. When it comes to industrial Ethernet, we see good growth for many networks. For the established Ethernet/IP, Profinet, EtherCAT, Powerlink and Modbus-TCP, as well as for the networks grouped in the ‘other Ethernet’ category. This fragmented Ethernet picture is very interesting, and it goes to prove that industrial Ethernet never standardized on one network as many predicted when the Ethernet-based networks first evolved in the 1990s. Just like the fieldbuses, the various Ethernet networks serve different purposes depending on industrial application.”
In addition, wireless technologies are also growing steadily by 30% in 2019, and account for 6% of the total market. Within the wireless category, wireless local area networks (WLAN) are the most popular technology, followed by Bluetooth. “Wireless is increasingly being used by machine builders and system integrators to realize new, innovative automation architectures. Users can reduce cabling and create new solutions for connectivity and control,” adds Hansson. “We also see increased activities globally around cellular technologies, such as private LTE/5G networks, as enablers for smart and flexible manufacturing in factories.”
Finally, HMS reports that in Europe and the Middle East, EtherNet/IP and Profinet are leading and Profinet is still widely used, while other popular networks are EtherCAT and Ethernet Powerlink. Meanwhile, the U.S. market is dominated by the CIP-based networks with a clear movement towards EtherNet/IP, while EtherCAT continues to gain market share. In Asia, no individual network stands out as market-leading, but Profinet, EtherNet/IP, Profibus, EtherCAT, Modbus and CC-Link are widely used, with the Ethernet version of CC-Link, CC-Link IE Field, also gaining ground.