F&B IndustriesAutomation > Ethernet

Trends to Ethernet in the food & beverage industry

The success of Industrial Ethernet depends also substantially on the reaction of the F&B industry. For this industry is the fourth largest representing nearly 9% of the total industrial turnover with 138 billion €. A survey of the largest sectors and their large companies covers the echo on Industrial Ethernet.

Ethernet "nearly a specification"

March 1st, 2010 - 84% of the large food producers already use Ethernet as TCP/IP in the production.


  • „Today it has already nearly become a specification that no new machine will be purchased any more that is not Ethernet suitable.“ (Beverage manufacturers)
  •  "In the futures one wants no new production line other than with Industrial Ethernet.“ (Processing plant fruit, vegetable, potatoes)


Industrial Ethernet is predominantly used as TCP/IP. Ethernet-based field buses occur only in second line.

Market shares of Ethernet in the German food and beverage industry.
Source: Market survey by Quest TechnoMarketing in the German food and beverage industry.

Connecting with the control level

The main application of Industrial Ethernet concerns the connection with the supervisory control level. The benefits, which one wants to realise with Ethernet, are


  • a better process control with the benefit of the transmission of larger data quantities and an uniformity in the process control
  • cost savings by faster repair
  • cost savings by simpler net body.


The interlinking to Internet for maintenance purposes meets a conflicting acceptance.

Reasons for not using Ethernet

16% of the investigated large food enterprises are against the implementation of Ethernet for the next 2 to 3 years. This means no implemenation before 2010 or 2011.


The main reason for these enterprises is that the classic field bus technology is regarded as “sufficient".


  • „One has rejected to implement Ethernet with the field level or with the control system level. Profibus DP is used this is sufficient. One cannot see a benefit of Ethernet regarding the field level because Profibus DP also needs only one cable. There is no reason to switch to Ethernet fighting against a bunch of teething troubles implicated with such a new technology. In addition that would mean to train again the technicians. Therefore one prefers to monitor the development for 2-3 years deciding then again. As long as Profibus DP is sufficiently offered, one will not change even if Ethernet works steadily.“ (Beverage manufacturers)



Further details how Ethernet is used in the food & beverage industry and its market volume provides the survey of Quest TechnoMarketing “Ethernet 2008 - 2011“.