Industrial Ethernet use slows but does not look set to stall

11 November 2010

The use of Ethernet in industrial automation had been growing steadily from around 2000, a trend that has been influenced by the development of a new Ethernet variants. However, a recent report from IMS Research would indicate that this progress has slowed, probably as a result of the global economic and industrial downturn, which started in 2008 and continued through most of 2009.

The report states that, although over 5 million new Ethernet nodes were installed in industrial automation networks in 2008, the number was estimated to have fallen by 10.7%, to fewer than 4.7 million in 2009.

The report analyses 16 major product groups to assess their Ethernet networking connectivity and use. Forecasts of industrial production by sector were used to give a realistic projection of Ethernet use in industrial automation to 2014.

Commenting on the figures, John Morse, author of the report, said: "This was a significant fall but far less than that in product. This indicates the continuing growth in the use of Ethernet-based communication technologies in industrial applications.

"The average annual growth from 2008 to 2014 is forecast as 7.2%. However, the annual growth from 2010 to 2014 of 11.6% is a better indicator for the rate of recovery from the recession.

“Despite the large decline in 2009, the world market for Ethernet-enabled products and infrastructure components is expected to have recovered by 2011 and by 2014 to have grown, resulting in a greater share of the networking market. However, some variants of Ethernet are forecast to grow faster than others.”

The 393-page report also forecasts differences between the three main regions - with Asia recovering the fastest from 2010 at an estimated growth rate of over 14% per year, and EMEA and the Americas growing at 11.1% and 10.3% respectively. It also includes market-breakdowns by Ethernet variant and by product group.

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