Continued Growth for Industrial Networks Despite Pandemic

The 2021 industrial network market shares point in the right direction according to HMS Networks.

By Joel Davies -

Every year, HMS Networks, an independent supplier of solutions within Industrial ICT (Information and Communication Technology), carries out a study of the industrial network market to analyze the distribution of new connected nodes in factory automation. Releasing the study this week (12 March) still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they discovered some interesting results for the industry.

The study includes HMS’ estimation for 2021 based on a 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, their own sales statistics and overall perception of the market.

To begin, HMS’ study shows that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the industrial network market is expected to grow by 6% in 2021. Industrial Ethernet still shows the highest growth and now has 65% of new installed nodes (64% last year), whilst Fieldbuses are at 28% (30). Wireless networks continue to climb and are now at 7%. PROFINET passes EtherNet/IP at the top of the network rankings with an 18% market share compared to 17%.

Growing by 8%, Industrial Ethernet continues to take the market share. Industrial Ethernet now makes up for 65% of the global market of new installed nodes in Factory Automation (compared to 64% last year). EtherNet/IP and PROFINET are fighting for first place, but this year PROFINET passes EtherNet/IP at the top of the network rankings with an 18% market share compared to 17%. EtherCAT continues to perform well globally and now matches the leading Fieldbus PROFIBUS at 8% market share. Modbus TCP is next at 5% market share and together with Fieldbus brother Modbus RTU, these Modbus technologies now account for 10% 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% 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 a 28% market share of the total amount of new installed nodes (30% last year). PROFIBUS is still the clear Fieldbus leader at 8% followed by Modbus-RTU at 5% share and CC-Link at 4%.

Market shares 2021 according to HMS Networks – Fieldbus6, industrial Ethernet and wireless. Image: HMS Networks.

With ongoing global activities about wireless cellular technologies as enablers for next-level smart manufacturing, HMS 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. As it stands, wireless now has a 7% market share 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.”

The study found that 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 U.S. market is dominated by EtherNet/IP with EtherCAT gaining some market share. PROFINET and EtherNet/IP lead a fragmented Asian market, followed by strong contenders CC-Link/CC-Link IE Field, PROFIBUS, EtherCAT and Modbus (RTU/TCP).

HMS Networks is a market-leading provider of solutions in industrial information and communication technology. The company develops and manufactures products under the Anybus®, Ixxat®, Ewon® and Intesis® brands with development taking place at the headquarter in Halmstad, and in Ravensburg, Nivelles, Igualada, Wetzlar, Buchen and Delft. It employs over 700 people and reported sales of SEK 1,467 million (€1.45 m) in 2020.

You can find more information about HMS Networks on its websites.

Stay up to date with the most recent automation, machine vision and robotics news on MVPro and read the best stories every Friday with our newsletter.

Automation Articles of the Month

FRAMOS Makes Next-Generation GMSL3 Accessible for Any Embedded Vision Application

May 19, 2022

FRAMOS, a global supplier of custom vision solutions and imaging components, is leading the market...

Delta Launches MH300 AC Motor Drive in EMEA

byJoel Davies

May 13, 2022

Delta has announced the launch of its new advanced compact AC motor drive MH300 series...

SICK Shuffles Executive Board

byJoel Davies

May 11, 2022

After 23 years at SICK (headquartered in Waldkirch), Executive Board member Dr Martin Krämer will...