Ethernet installations are growing fast, but according to a reader survey reported in the US magazine Automation World, respondents say they have no plans to move away from serial devices anytime soon.
Market inertia, familiarity and smart device solutions are some of the drivers quoted for keeping fieldbus alive. Not only do fieldbus networks represent the majority of the installed base, according to survey sponsor HMS Industrial Networks, but installations continue to grow by 7% a year, a rate that is far greater than the growth rate for automation equipment in general.
Even with a larger learning curve and fieldbus enterprise connectivity solutions, Ethernet installations account for a third of all industrial networks, and are growing by 17% per year, HMS says.
Not too surprisingly, field devices are the most common devices not yet connected to the Ethernet, regardless of industry type. Also ranking high on the not-connected list are motors, drives and sensors.
Legacy plants are slow to add Ethernet-enabled devices, the survey finds. Asked which devices they would likely get connected to Ethernet next, almost a quarter said they would not add any Ethernet-enabled floor devices, machines or systems in the near future.