CANopen Growth Strongest in Sensing

The international users' and manufacturers' group, CAN in Automation (CiA, www.can-cia.org), has published figures showing the number of CANopen devices sold in the years 2003 and 2004, and estimating sales for 2005. The study is based on a survey of CANopen device manufacturers and excludes devices for in-house use. It breaks down figures by type of product: CANopen manager, I/O modules, actuators, sensors, and other. The study found that on average, nine devices are connected to a CANopen network, and the highest growth rates are for sensors. CANopen sensor sales are shown to nearly double every year, from 27,543 CANopen sensor nodes in 2003 to 53,861 in 2004, to an estimated 106,976 in 2005. CiA says that while overall growth was slow in 2004, device manufacturers expect a significant upturn lasting several years, owing partly to increasing acceptance of CANopen in North America and Asia. And they expect the increase in electric drives and sensors to be superproportional.

"We see proprietary networks and buses as main opponents," says Holger Zeltwanger, CiA's managing director. "However, we have noticed a trend toward standardization of communication in embedded control systems." He adds, "The prospects for the future are excellent, especially since CANopen and Ethernet complement each other so well." The first CiA-Gateway specification (CiA 309) describes the connection between TCP/IP and CANopen networks for the ModbusTCP and an ASCII-based protocol.

CiA, founded in 1992, has more than 430 member companies. CANopen is most widely deployed in plastics-processing, textile, printing, and IC-manufacturing machines; and in medical devices, mobile vehicles, and special-purpose machinery.