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Ethernet field buses in focus of changing the automation technology 2012

The changes in automation technology machine-builders want to implement at the machines this year are determined by Quest TechnoMarketing covering 37% of the machine-builders in 10 sectors with 100 and more employees. Out of the many detailed results this article picks a few trends of the changes concerning Ethernet at the machines.

Changes in automation technology in the German machinery industry 2012.

Field buses in the focus of the changes 2012

October 2nd, 2012 - 26% of the investigated machine-builders intend to change field buses at the machines this year. So field buses meet the highest degree of change willingness this year. 25% of the investigated machine-builders aim to change the control technology, 22% the drive technology.


With 26% the change willingness of the machine-builders is still strong. However, the high values of the years 2009 (39%) and 2010 (43%) are not achieved any more.


The changes with field buses particularly affect real time Ethernet at the machines.

Changes with Ethernet and Safety Ethernet in the German machinery industry 2012.

Turning to Ethernet field buses dominate the changes

The number of change-willing machine-builders that want to implement Ethernet field buses extended or for the first time this year, almost quadrupled (+385%).


That happened at expense of the classical, non-Ethernet field buses (- 75%). The high ratio of implementation of Safety Ethernet is based on a very low number of change-willing machine-builders.


The topic Safety-Ethernet is still very carefully touched by the machine-builders.

How the changes to Ethernet are to be obtained

Changes with Ethernet field buses cover the extended or also the first use of real time Ethernet at the machines but also in addition when real time Ethernet is not any longer used, be it, because it did not successfully prove for application, be it, because the end-user does not require it. In this coming and going of Ethernet field buses the new use clearly outweighs.


There are various ways to cover the migration movements with Ethernet field buses. The Quest study „What the machine-builder wants to change in the automation technology 2012“ investigated the migration movement of each real time Ethernet protocol making the dynamics of the modifications of the individual protocols particularly noticeably visible.


We use now a different way by referring the number of machine-builders with new use of a real time Ethernet protocol to the total number of the machine-builders changing Ethernet field buses this year.


Which proportions of new use show the individual Ethernet field buses now?

The changes 2012 to real time Ethernet in the overview

The diagram below shows the changes of the machine builders regrding real time real time Ethernet 2012.

Changes to real time Ethernet in the German machinery industry 2012.

ProfiNet benefits most strongly with 52%

52% of the machine-builder changing field buses intend to implement ProfiNet for the first time or extended this year. That is the lion's share, other protocols only follows with 13%.

  • „Actually we do not need real time on field bus level, but we already interlaced each panel PC with Ethernet. Now we will equip a part of the machines, equipped with field bus, with Profinet.“ (Building/glass/ceramic machines)
  • „About 50-60 machines require fast bus technique for motion applications. One is now starting with the change to ProfiNet. Prospectively 5 series will be concerned, i.e. all Simotion machines.“ (Packaging machines)
  • „Extension of ProfiNet where Profibus was implemented so far.“ (Machine tools)
  • „The machines are equipped with CAN for the IO level and with Sercos, as far as CNC is used. One wants to change to ProfiNet on a long-term basis and is starting right now.“ (Wood processing machines)
  • „One uses Sercos III so far, however, for a part of the machines one would like to change to ProfiNet IRT. The customers request Siemens components and in addition Siemens would like to implement a development project with us.“ (Packaging machines)
  • „Probably we will change to ProfiNet, at the present we still operate without bus system“. (Wood processing machines)

EtherCat with 13% and Sercos III with 11% new use

13% of the change-willing machine-builders want to implement EtherCat for the first time or extended this year.

  • „We want to expand EtherCat.“ (Machine tools)
  • „We have started to turn to EtherCat. In the final phase all 200 machines will be changed.“ (Packaging machines)
  • „One will use mixed components at the machines, apart from EtherCat still Profibus is implemented. Additionally we also use a safe bus and safety engineering.“ (Machine tools)


11% of the change-willing machine-builders intend to implement Sercos III for the first time or extended at the machines this year.

  • „We test the change to Sercos III. If the test is positive, 90% will be equipped with Sercos III, however, this will happen not until next year.“ (Packaging machines)
  • „One uses Profibus and Ethernet IP, however, the change to other Ethernet versions is not determined yet. Possible is the change to Sercos III.“(Packaging machines)
  • „The change is connected with the new control system series. So we want to change to Sercos III.“ (Packaging machines)
  • „One used Profibus and various other field buses so far; Sercos III and ProfiNet will newly be used.“ (Machine tools)

Lower migration movements with other Ethernet field buses

This year other Ethernet protocols are only at low extent concerned by the migration movement. The proportions of the change-willing machine-builders aiming an extended or first use of the Ethernet protocol concerned this year, are 5% for Ethernet IP, in each case 2% for Powerlink and Varan and 3% for Ethernet in-house solution.

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