Connected node numbers show continued growth, while users increasingly run multiple networks

The annual industrial network market share survey from HMS Networks estimates the distribution in factory automation of new connected nodes - a machine or device connected to an industrial network.

The 2023 study (Figure 1) shows an overall growth of 7% in the number of installed nodes. While Industrial Ethernet still shows the highest growth and now accounts for 68% of the total, usage of well-functioning and proven fieldbus technologies remains significant and stable. Wireless growth is accelerating in 2023 as more wireless industrial networking solutions are introduced in factory automation, though its market share is still quite low.

Full analysis of the survey can be read here
Survey shows growing need for multi-network access
Figure 1: HMS Industrial Market Shares 2023

Multiple networks

What are the principal takeaways from the survey? Looking from a global market perspective, the market-share per protocol is widely spread and there are significant regional differences. Although Industrial Ethernet continues to grow as a percentage of the new nodes, fieldbuses remain popular, especially if you consider the installed base.
As a result, industrial slave devices, such as sensors or actuators, need to be able to use more than one network protocol. Even more so if they are aimed at global installations or possible upgrades from fieldbus to Industrial Ethernet.

When designing an industrial network interface within their project, electronics designers should keep in mind the option for additional protocols to be supported. This is especially important because - even with Industrial Ethernet - the electronics and software behind the connector can be very different. Often only an initial network is developed, with a subsequent network requiring a complete redesign of the interface.

But this “cul-de-sac” design approach can be avoided. An excellent guide to embedding a communication interface into industrial devices or machines is available for download from HMS here.

Other trends

Overall, HMS Networks recognizes that solid industrial network connectivity is key to obtaining the manufacturing uptime that is needed to reach productivity and sustainability objectives in factories.

The company sees the following current trends within the industry networking in factories: The development of TSN for Ethernet-based real-time communication has become an ongoing process across user organizations. Secondly, the initiative OPC UA FLC progresses, targeting standardization and interoperability for field devices. Finally, single-pair Ethernet is a promising complement to established Industrial Ethernet networks for resource-constrained devices.

About HMS Networks and Anybus Embedded Solutions
HMS Networks’ technology enables industrial hardware to communicate and share information with software and systems. With more than 9 million network devices installed, and a production of more than 100,000 devices per month, HMS has a good insight knowledge of the industrial network market.

Anybus CompactCom is the embedded, modular network solution for industrial protocols. With a single development you have direct access to all popular network protocols for both Industrial Ethernet and fieldbus. Compared to development in-house, true development costs may be cut by up to 70%.