ARC questions future of non-Ethernet Industrial Networks

  • October 22, 2007
  • ARC Advisory Group
  • News
Dedham, Massachusetts - October 22, 2007 - Future prospects for traditional, non-Ethernet based industrial device networks look increasingly narrow as industrial Ethernet continues its migration into lower levels of the industrial automation hierarchy. Growth in shipments of traditional industrial device networks will continue through the end of the decade, but the rate of growth will slow from the double-digit annual gains witnessed to date, to more modest single-digit increases. The worldwide market for traditional industrial device networks is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.7% over the next five years. The market totaled over 12 million nodes shipped in 2006 and is forecasted to total close to 23 million nodes in 2011, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study. Originally viewed over a decade ago as a radical departure from conventional point-to-point factory automation wiring schemes, traditional device networks have been rapidly assimilated into today’s automation hierarchies by virtue of their ability to dramatically lower wiring costs and increase network functionality. “The sustained value propositions of low cost installation and incremental functionality will contribute to ongoing growth in shipments, as will the use of device networks in specialty applications and as a low-level complement to industrial Ethernet architectures,” according to Vice President Chantal Polsonetti (, the principal author of ARC’s “Device Networks Worldwide Outlook” ( Value Proposition for OEMsA number of the traditional industrial device networks have passed the very significant milestones of ten years of service and millions of nodes installed. Adoption has been particularly strong in OEM machinery applications as both standard and proprietary device networks are used to wire the myriad sensors, actuators, remote I/O, and other devices deployed. Device networks help OEMs reduce hardware, installation and maintenance costs through reduced wiring requirements, remote access capabilities, and the ability to reuse configurations, profiles, and other software-based components. Traditional device networks also enable in-corporation of embedded, distributed functionality that can drive higher machine availability. Device Networks Need to CoexistThe need for device networks to coexist with other types of industrial interfaces, including industrial Ethernet, is increasingly obvious. While third parties and other entities are introducing physical layer connectors that enable hardware integration of disparate networks, network integration at a higher level delivers greater value-add to the end users and OEMs who use device networks. This type of integration is delivered in the support of common profiles, configuration tools, and similar software-oriented components that allow management of the separate entities as if they were part of a single solution. Device Networks Follow OEM Market to AsiaOEM applications in a wide range of industrial machinery will continue to adopt and use traditional device networks due to the direct business benefits they deliver to both the OEM/system integrator and ultimate end user, resulting in a further increase in share of shipments. As the machinery markets in China and the rest of Asia continue to represent the largest growth through the end of the decade, the increasing use of device networks by OEMs in these regions will drive geographic share growth. About ARC: Founded in 1986, ARC Advisory Group has grown to become the Thought Leader in Manufacturing and Supply Chain solu-tions. No matter how complex your business issues, our analysts have the expert industry knowledge and first-hand experience to help you find the best answer. We focus on simple yet critical goals: improving your return on assets, operational performance, total cost of ownership, project time-to-benefit, and shareholder value. Learn More

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