Take up of ethernet in process automation to double by 2016

Ethernet nodes in process industries are set to nearly double from 2011 to 2016, as the technology increasingly challenges fieldbus for leadership in the industrial networking market, according to a new study from IMS Research (now part of IHS).

Industrial Ethernet nodes in process industries are projected to rise to 8.7 million units in 2016, up 96 percent from 4.4 million in 2011.

This means that industrial Ethernet will account for 45 percent of networked nodes connected in process industries in 2016, up from 39 percent in 2011.Such growth will come at the expense of fieldbus, anticipated to expand at a rate of 51 percent during the same five-year period.

“The process industry is renowned for being slow to adopt new technology,” said Tom Moore, analyst for industrial Ethernet and fieldbus technologies at IHS.

“However, in some key areas, industrial Ethernet adoption is beginning to overtake fieldbus as the mainstream networking technology.”

A good example within the process sector is safety. Although not always driven by compulsory legislation, process safety systems — i.e., safety integrated systems — are updated fairly regularly by companies that want to ensure operator safety and maximise line up-time

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