Toast of the Town: 2003 Readers' Choice Awards

We Celebrate This Year's Readers' Choice Award Winners


You can't go wrong when you have readers who are eager report who they think are the companies they find the most helpful in solving their ever-changing automation needs.

That's the case again with this year's Control Design Readers' Choice Awards. We just put those choices in the hands of our performance-focused Control Design readers. They answered our call again and told us which automation suppliers provide the best instrumentation, controls, and automation technologies for their industrial machine builder community. They also made it clear which of those companies they think provide excellent service and support.

Our model for this award remained the same. Some months ago, we sent survey forms to more than 12,000 Control Design subscribers who tell us they have authority to specify, recommend, or purchase industrial automation and control products for their machines. Vendors are not eligible to vote, so we didn't knowingly let any supplier get a ballot. And, for the few occasions when we found a vendor in the response mix, we purged the ballot with a sense of righteousness and delight. This is for our machine builder and system integrator readers and no one else.

Marketers call our approach an unaided survey. We never include a list of vendors or product brands to choose from. We listed 48 hardware and software categories and asked the participants to fill in the one best company for the products he or she had experience with. We received responses from 350 readers.

While they were choosing the best companies, we also asked the participants to rate the service and support they receive from these companies on a scale of 1 (bad) to 5 (excellent).

Our published results include only those companies that received at least a 5% share in their category.

Variety Is Growing

Similar to previous award results, we have an abundance of clear winners and plenty of closely contested races this year. But the results indicate a trend towards an expanded set of reader product and company preferences within categories (less single-company dominance), even though the total number of companies making the list dropped from 100 to 85.

Thirty of the 48 product categories listed returned margins of victory of 10% or greater vs. the second-best vote-getter (In 2002, 34 races returned this result). Ten of these 30 winners scored landslide wins with margins of victory greater than 25%, a clearly declining sub-set compared with 14 in 2002 and 16 in 2001.

The number of close races--with a margin of victory of 5% or less--increased to 13, compared with 10 the previous two years. Seven of the races were statistical dead heats, up slightly from five last year and six in 2001.

Six companies did themselves proud with multiple category wins. Demonstrating the same powerful reader affinity as in previous years, Rockwell Automation won or tied for first place in 16 hardware and three software categories. Other multiple winners included four each for Emerson Process Measurement and Parker Automation/Parker Hannifin. Highlighting the scope of its aggressive acquisition posture, Danaher Motion tied for first place in three separate categories, while Baldor Electric, GE Fanuc, Honeywell, and Pepperl+Fuchs all won twice.

Of the 55 winners (there were some category ties for first) listed last year, 43 defended their turf by winning or tieing in the category again this year.

Those No-Contest Contests

The result in eight of the product categories produced winners that garnered 50% or more of the votes cast, a result similar to previous years.

Five of categories produced winners gaining more than 60% shares. Hoffman Engineering picked up 64% of the Enclosures vote, Pepperl+Fuchs, as a result of its purchase of BebcoEPS, nailed down 64% of the Purging System responses, Rockwell Automation received a 63% share in both PLCs and PLC Programming Software, and Autodesk was the choice of 62% of the ECAD Software voters.

There were nine other categories where the winner didn't garner a majority, but still whipped its closest competitor by 25 percentage points or more.

GE Fanuc Automation's wins in CNC Software and CNC Hardware were by margins of 47 and 40 percentage points. Rockwell Automation's margin of victory in Industrial Electric Drives was 34 points; it won the I/O Systems category by 33 points; it was 29 points better than its nearest rival in Light Towers, and was a 28-point winner Motion Control Software. Sola/Hevi-Duty powered its way to a 29-point win in Power Supplies, Emerson Process Management measured in as a 28-point winner in the Pressure Measurement category, while Red Lion Controls took the Panel Meter category by a 25-point margin.

After Careful Tabulation, the Close Races

As stated above, we had 13 tightly contested races that offset the eight blow-outs.

We declared co-winners in seven of the 13. Phoenix Contact and Rockwell Automation tied for first in the Terminal Block category, both getting more than double the number of votes of any other company in the category. Tyco Electronics and Thomas & Betts shared top spot the Industrial Electrical Connector, while Pepperl+Fuchs and MTL tied for the top in the Intrinsic Safety category. Both categories were highly contested, with six companies receiving at least a 5% share. Parker Hannifin/Daedal and Danaher Motion/Thomson shared the Linear Actuator category win, Parker/Compumotor and Danaher Motion split the Stepper Motor category, Danaher Motion and Rockwell Automation co-owned the Encoder/Resolver category, while Banner Engineering and Rockwell Automation shared the spotlight for Presence Sensing, the most competitive category with eight companies making the leader board.

In the six other very-close races, four categories were decided by just three percentage points. Rockwell Automation nipped Dell Computer in the Industrial Computer Category, Parker Hannifin got past Festo in the Pneumatic Components/Systems category, Rockwell Automation edged Ametek/Drexelbrook in the Alarms/Annunciator category, and Emerson Process Management beat out Endress+Hauser in Level Measurement, the second most competitive category with seven companies receiving at least a 5% share.

Z-World bested Advantech by four percentage points in Single-Board Computers, while Action Instruments beat Phoenix Contact in Signal Conditioners by only five points.

Great Service

Great service is being recognized, but it's dropping. Eighty-five companies, 15% fewer than in 2002, received enough votes (5% or greater share) to appear in the published results.

Of those 85, you awarded 60 of them service and support scores of 4.0 or better. That's very good-to-excellent performance on a scale of 1-5. That number of companies is a significant 12%-drop compared to the number recognized for their great service last year. To view the complete Service and Support table which lists those companies that readers identified as providing service with ratings of 4.0 click to:

Here is the complete listing of this year's elite group. We welcome your further analysis and comments about this year's outcome.



Rockwell Automation's Bulletin 855P

Panel-Mount Alarms


1. Rockwell Automation 21%

2. Ametek/Panalarm 18%

3. Edwards Signal 14%

4.* Federal Signal 11%

Ronan Engineering 10%



GE Fanuc's iAdapt

Controller, CNC System

1. GE Fanuc Automation 49%

2.* Rockwell Automation 9%

Siemens E&A 7%



Honeywell's UDC 3300

Controller, Loop

1. Honeywell 21%

2.* Siemens E&A 13%

Invensys/Foxboro 12%

4. Yokogawa 9%

5. Rockwell Automation 6%



Rockwell Automation's Family of Control

Products, Including the PLC-5

Controller, Programmable Logic (PLC)

1. Rockwell Automation 63%

2.* Modicon/Schneider Electric 9%

Siemens E&A 7%

4.* GE Fanuc Automation 6%

AutomationDirect 5%



National Instrument's LabVIEW

Real Time and NI PXI

Data Acquisition

1. National Instruments 28%

2.* Rockwell Automation 8%

GE Fanuc/Intellution 6%

4. Honeywell 5%



Honeywell's EZtrend Paperless Recorder

Data Recorder

1. Honeywell 31%

2. Yokogawa 19%

3. Invensys 13%

4. Danaher/Partlow 6%



Danaher Motion's Resolvers


1.* Danaher Motion 17%

Rockwell Automation 16%

3. BEI 14%

4. Encoder Products 9%

5. Stegmann 5%



Parker Hannifin's Hydraulic Components

Hydraulic System Components

1. Parker Hannifin 35%

2. Bosch Rexroth 28%

3. Eaton/Vickers 12%



Rockwell Automation's VersaView

Industrial Computers

1. Rockwell Automation 18%

2.* Dell 15%

Advantech 14%

4. Pro-face/Xycom 10%



Tyco Electronic's RJ-45 Industrial

Ethernet Connectors

Industrial Electrical Connectors

1.* Tyco Electronics/AMP 13%

Thomas&Betts 12%

3. Harting 10%

4.* Amphenol 6%

Phoenix Contact 6%

Hubbel 5%



Rockwell Automation's Powerflex AC Drives

Industrial Electric Drive

1. Rockwell Automation 40%

2* Siemens E&A 6%

Schneider Electric 6%

ABB Automation 6%

Yaskawa Electric 5%



Hoffman's Watershed Enclosures

Industrial Enclosures

1. Hoffman Engineering 64%

2. Rittal 14%

3. Saginaw Control & Eng'g 5%



Rockwell Automation's KwikLink Flat

Media System

Industrial Network Components

1. Rockwell Automation 26%

2.* 3Com 7%

Blackbox 6%

Cisco 6%

Hirschmann Electronics 6%

Phoenix Contact 6%

Siemens E&A 6%



Rockwell Automation's Point I/O

Input/Output System

1. Rockwell Automation 42%

2.* Opto 22 9%

Siemens E&A 9%

Phoenix Contact 7%



Rockwell Automation's Bulletin 194RS

Disconnect Switches

Interlock Switch

1. Rockwell Automation 35%

2.* Schmersal 12%

STI 12%

4. Schneider Elec 7%



Pepperl+Fuchs' K-System

Intrinic Safety

1.* Pepperl+Fuchs 16%

MTL 15%

3.* Rockwell Automation 13%

R.Stahl 12%

5. Phoenix Contact 8%

6. Turck 5%



Rockwell Automation's 885E 50 mm

Control Tower Stack Lights

Light Tower

1. Rockwell Automation 42%

2.* Schneider Electric 13%

Federal Signal 12%

4.* Edwards Signal 6%

Eaton/Cutler Hammer 5%



Parker Daedal's Linear Components

Linear Actuator

1.* Parker/Daedal 12%

Danaher Motion/Thomson 11%

3. Rockwell Automation 7%



DVT's Legend SmartImage Camera

Machine Vision

1. DVT 34%

2. Cognex 19%

3.* Omron Electronics 8%

Keyence 6%



Emerson's Rosemount Reducer

Vortex Flowmeter

Measurement, Flow

1. Emerson Process Management 30%

2. Endress+Hauser 13%

3. ABB Automation 6%



Emerson's Saab TankRadar Rex

Measurement, Level

1. Emerson Process Management 20%

2. Endress+Hauser 17%

3. Siemens E&A/Milltronics 11%

4.* Ametek/Drexelbrook 5%

Danaher/Gems Sensors 5%

ifm efector 5%

Magnetrol 5%



Mettler Toledo's JagXtreme Scale Terminal

Measurement, Load Cell/Weighing

1. Mettler Toledo 22%

2.* Hardy Instruments 9%

BLH 8%

Omega Engineering 8%



Emerson's Rosemount 3051S

Pressure Transmitter

Measurement, Pressure

1. Emerson Process Management 36%

2.* Honeywell 8%

Omega Engineering 6%

4. Endress+Hauser 5%



Emerson's Rosemount 3144P Temperature


Measurement, Temperature

1. Emerson Process Management 23%

2. Omega Engineering 11%

3.* Watlow 7%

Pyromation 5%

Honeywell 5%



Bently Nevada's Condition Monitoring


Measurement, Vibration

1. Bently Nevada 33%

2. Rockwell Automation/Entek 12%



Baldor Electric's Premium Efficiency Motors

Motor, Industrial Electric

1. Baldor Electric 34%

2.* Regal-Beloit 14%

Rockwell Automation 13%

4.* Emerson/U.S. Motors 6%

General Electric 6%

Siemens E&A 6%



Baldor Electric's Linear Motors

Motor, Linear

1. Baldor Electric 19%

2.* GE Fanuc Automation 11%

Rockwell Automation 11%



Rockwell Automation's MP-Series

Motor, Servo

1. Rockwell Automation 25%

2.* Danaher Motion 12%

Bosch Rexroth/Indramat 11%

4.* Yaskawa 8%

Parker/Compumotor 7%

GE Fanuc 6%



Rockwell Automation's ArmorStart

Motor Starter

1. Rockwell Automation 51%

2. Schneider Electric 15%

3. Eaton/Cutler Hammer 12%

4. General Electric 7%



Computmotor's VS Stepper Motors

Motor, Stepper

1.* Parker/Compumotor 25%

Danaher Motion 23%

3. Rockwell Automation 7%



Rockwell Automation's PanelView Plus

Operator Interface Terminal

1. Rockwell Automation 50%

2.* AutomationDirect 8%

GE Fanuc Automation 7%



Red Lion's Panel Meters

Panel Meter

1. Red Lion Controls 34%

2.* Simpson Electric 9%

Yokogawa 8%

Newport 7%


Parker Hannifin's Pneumatic Components

Pneumatic Systems/Components

1. Parker Hannifin 18%

2.* Festo 15%

SMC 13%

4. Numatics 12%

5. MAC 6%



SOLA/Hevi-Duty's SDN-P DIN-Rail Mount

Power Suuplies

Power Supply

1. SOLA/Hevi-Duty 38%

2.* Phoenix Contact 9%

Acopian 8%

4. IDEC 5%



Banner Engineering's PresencePlus Pro

Presence Sensing

1.* Banner Engineering 17%

Rockwell Automation 15%

3. Turck 12%

4.* ifm efector 7%

Omega Engineering 5%

Omron Electronics 5%

Pepperl+Fuchs 5%

Schneider Electric 5%



Pepperl+Fuchs' Purge Series 4000

Purging Systems/Components

1. Pepperl+Fuchs/BebcoEPS 64%



Rockwell Automation's MachineAlert Relays


1. Rockwell 34%

2. IDEC 17%

3. Potter & Brumfield 11%

4.* Schneider Elecric 7%

Omron 6%



Rockwell Automation's Guardmaster Minotaur

Safety Network/Components

1. Rockwell Automation 29%

2. STI 20%

3. Pilz Automation Safety 13%



Rockwell Automation's Bulletin 700-CF

Safety Control Relays

Safety Relay

1. Rockwell Automation 35%

2. Pilz Automation Safety 17%

3. STI 9%

4.* Banner Engineering 6%

Schneider Electric 5%



Action Instrument's WV Series Family

Signal Conditioner

1. Action Instruments 18%

2. Phoenix Contact 13%

3.* Moore Industries 10%

Red Lion Controls 8%

5.* Acromag 6%

Analog Devices 5%

Weidmlller 5%


Z-World's BL2500 SBC

Single-Board Computer

1. Z-World 18%

2. Advantech 14%

3. Rockwell Automation 8%



GE Fanuc's CNC Software

Software, CNC

1. GE Fanuc Automation 47%



Autodesk's AutoCAD Electrical 2004

Software, Electrical CAD (ECAD)

1. Autodesk 62%

2. ECT Intl. 5%



Rockwell Software's RSView Supervisory

Edition 3.0

Software, HMI

1. Rockwell Automation 35%

2. Invensys/Wonderware 26%

3. GE Fanuc/Intellution 17%



Rockwell Automation's Motion Book 4.0

Software, Motion Control

1. Rockwell Automation 34%

2.* Bosch Rexroth/Indramat 6%

Danaher Motion 6%

Parker/Compumotor 6%

Schneider Electric 6%

Emerson/Control Technique 5%



Rockwell Software's RSLogix 5000

Software, PLC Programming

1. Rockwell Automation 63%

2. Schneider Electric/Modicon 11%

3.* Siemens E&A 6%

AutomationDirect 5%

GE Fanuc Automation 5%



Phoenix Contact's ST Modular Spring-Cage

Terminal Blocks

Terminal Blocks

1.* Phoenix Contact 29%

Rockwell Automation 29%

3. Weidmuller 12%

4.* Wago 8%

ABB/Entrelec 7%

6. AutomationDirect 5%



Belden's Industrial Ethernet Cabling

Wire & Cable

1. Belden 59%

2.* Alpha 5%

Lapp USA/Olflex 5%