Distributed/remote I/O markets shifting Ethernet and safety bus/network connectivity

Oct. 8, 2008

Natick, Mass., October 7 – A new market study from VDC Research Group, "Industrial Distributed/Remote I/O: Global Market Demand and User Requirements Analysis," Fifth Edition, finds significant shipment growth expectations for distributed/remote I/O products using Ethernet-based and safety bus/network connectivity. Included in this study are products for use with distributed control systems (DCSs), PC-based control system, and programmable logic controller (PLC) system applications. 

Due to low cost, high bandwidth, simple integration with many devices and ubiquitous installation, Ethernet-based network applications continue to take share. The worldwide market for industrial distributed/remote I/O using Ethernet-based connectivity is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 11.6% through 2013, compared to 6.8% for all others combined. Worldwide shipment shares of Ethernet-based distributed/remote I/O are expected to grow from 24.5% of the total in 2008 to nearly 29% in 2013.

Many application layer protocols are used with Ethernet in industrial applications. Modbus TCP and Ethernet/IP account for the largest worldwide shipment shares of the distributed remote I/O products studied. Ethernet/IP and Ethernet/IP Safety account for the largest share increases over the next four years; and lesser increases also are expected for EtherCat, EthernetPowerlink, PROFINET and PROFINET Safety, as well as wireless Ethernet.

Worldwide shipment of distributed/remote I/O for use with safety buses/networks accounts for less than 5% of the total. However, this is a rapidly growing segment and is expected to increase to 9.0% market share in 2013 at an average annual growth rate of over 22% during this period.

The largest worldwide shipment share is for use with AS-I Safety at Work. As a low-cost, simple solution that can be used in conjunction with more intelligent safety buses, shipments using AS-i Safety at Work are expected to remain strong through 2013 market.

As evident in the overall trend toward Ethernet-based distributed/remote I/O buses/networks, the worldwide leader in safety bus/network shipment shares in 2013 is expected to be Ethernet/IP Safety. Shipments with Ethernet-based Profinet are also expected to grow and will account for the third largest share in 2013.

Growth in shipments with a number of other lesser used safety buses/networks are also expected, including CC-Link Safety, ControlNet Safety, Foundation Fieldbus Safety and Sercos III Safety. Thus, expectations are that the safety bus segment of the distributed/remote I/O market will become more crowded.