Use of Ethernet-based technologies in industrial communications will grow faster than use of fieldbus, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a new report from IMS Research. This growth will be largely driven by the need to improve efficiency as currency and wage pressures threaten the cost advantage that has fueled the rapid growth of manufacturing in the region, IMS Research says.

Globally, Ethernet-based technologies will account for more than 26 percent of all new networked nodes connected in industry in 2015, according to the report. The worldwide growth in the installation of new Ethernet based nodes is forecast to be 13 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2010 to 2015; regional growth rates are 11 percent in the Europe, Middle East, Africa region (EMEA), 10.4 percent in the Americas, and 18.6 percent in Asia Pacific.

The report was compiled from data collected during the second half of 2011, including input from specialist industrial reports published by IMS Research. Overall, 16 industrial product types were analyzed for networking connectivity.

John Morse, the senior analyst who wrote the report, said the faster growth in the Asia Pacific region is not unexpected, however, the rate of growth seems to be gathering pace in the recovery from the 2008-2009 recession.

“The Asia-Pacific growth rate is high despite the pressure on local manufacturing costs from increasing wages in the growing economies of Asia, most notably China,” Morse said in a prepared statement. “In addition, the demand for products from both America and Europe is currently slowing, adding an additional threat to the economies of scale needed to maintain profitability. I am aware of some Western companies that are considering bringing manufacturing facilities back home, citing that the cost advantages of outsourcing have been substantially reduced in recent times.”

Morse said the market in Japan is somewhat different and has been much slower to adopt Ethernet-based communication technologies in industry. “Even there, this is changing with the introduction of CC-Link IE, a Gigabit technology from Mitsubishi Electric; and with extensive promotion by other organizations, including ODVA and Profibus International promoting Ethernet/IP and PROFINET respectively.”