Wireless industrial automation waits on 5G

Wireless industrial automation waits on 5G

Market news |
The industrial automation networking market is expected to grow 6 percent in 2021 with wireless waiting for 5G, says the latest data from installer HMS Networks.
By Nick Flaherty

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Every year, HMS Networks carries out a study of the industrial automation network market to analyse the distribution of new connected nodes in factory automation. This year’s study shows that, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the industrial network market is expected it to grow by 6 percent in 2021.

Industrial Ethernet still shows the highest growth at 8 percent and now has 65 percent of new installed nodes (64 percent last year), while fieldbuses are at 28 percent (30). Profinet passed EtherNet/IP at the top of the network protocol with 18 percent market share compared to 17 percent.

Wireless networks continue to grow for new installations with 24 percent growth to 7 percent of the market, but the market still awaits the full impact of 5G in factories.

“Industrial network connectivity for devices and machines is key to obtain smart and sustainable manufacturing, and this is the main driver for the growth we see in the industrial networking market,” says Anders Hansson, Chief Marketing Officer at HMS Networks. “Factories are constantly working to optimize productivity, sustainability, quality, flexibility and security. Solid industrial networking is key to achieving these objectives.”

With ongoing global activities about wireless cellular technologies as enablers for next level smart manufacturing, Hansson says he expects that market demand will increase for wirelessly connected devices and machines to be included in the less cabled and flexible automation architectures of the future.

The 2021 study includes estimated market shares and growth rates for fieldbuses, industrial Ethernet and Wireless technologies. The study includes HMS’ estimation for 2021 based on number of new installed nodes within Factory Automation. A node is defined as a machine or device connected to an industrial field network. The presented figures represent HMS’ consolidated view, considering insights from colleagues in the industry, our own sales statistics and overall perception of the market.

Growing by 8 percent, Industrial Ethernet continues to take market share. Industrial Ethernet now makes up for 65 percent of the global market of new installed nodes in Factory Automation (compared to 64 percent last year).

EtherNet/IP and Profinet are jostling for first place, but this year Profinet passes EtherNet/IP at the top of the network rankings with 18 percent market share compared to 17 percent. EtherCAT continues to perform well globally and now matches the leading fieldbus Profibus at 8 percent market share.

Modbus TCP is next at 5 percent market share and together with fieldbus brother Modbus RTU, these Modbus technologies now account for 10 percent of the market, confirming their continued importance in factory installations globally.

The ongoing fieldbus decline reported by HMS in recent years is almost halted with a fieldbus decrease of only -1 percent in 2021, as factories tend to stick to existing technologies to a higher degree in uncertain times, such as during the pandemic.

Fieldbuses are now at 28 percent market share of the total amount of new installed nodes (30 percent last year). Profibus is still the clear fieldbus leader at 8 percent followed by Modbus-RTU at 5 percent share and CC-Link at 4 percent.

EtherNet/IP and Profinet are leading in Europe and the Middle East with Profibus and EtherCAT as runners up. Other popular networks are Modbus (RTU/TCP) and Ethernet POWERLINK.

The US market is dominated by EtherNet/IP with EtherCAT gaining some market share. PProfinet and EtherNet/IP lead a fragmented Asian market, followed by strong contenders CC-Link/CC-Link IE Field, Profibus, EtherCAT and Modbus (RTU/TCP).

www.hms-networks.com

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