2010 Readers' Choice Awards: Top Automation Suppliers of the Year

The 2010 Readers' Choice Awards winners have what it takes to climb to the top.

By Joe Feeley, Editor in Chief

September2010How does that go, again? Is it tougher to get to the top, or tougher to stay there once you get there? It's clear that the answer is "yes."

The journey to market acceptance, and in some cases dominance, requires immense work and excellent listening skills. Staying there requires that these same companies never rest on their laurels. There are plenty of worthy competitors working hard to knock them off the platform.

Our annual Readers' Choice Awards balloting is one venue where automation supplier companies get put in their places by our audience, and that has clear reflection on their market standing. It's our automation users who anoint the most worthy.

SEE ALSO: 2009 Readers' Choice Awards Winners

Our model for this award is the same as when we first presented Readers' Choice Awards results 10 years ago. We sent questionnaires to about 15,000 subscribers, who tell us they specify, recommend or buy industrial automation and control products. Vendors are not eligible, so we didn't knowingly let any supplier vote. If we did find a vendor in the mix, we deleted it. The voting is only for our machine-builder and system-integrator readers. We use an unaided ballot, meaning we don't provide a list of vendors or product brands to choose from. We include 50-odd hardware and software categories and ask participants to name the companies that provide them the best technology value for the products with which they have experience. We tallied nearly 400 ballots this year. Once they chose the best providers, participants rate service and support they receive from them. Only companies that received at least 5% of their category vote are recognized.

Those Usual Suspects and the Up and Coming
In 51 product categories, 87 individual companies made the cut this year, compared with 92 in 2009 and 107 (in 54 categories) in '08. Eleven companies made this elite list in 2010 either for the first time or after a one-year or more absence. Reflecting a somewhat traditional annual churn, the results jettisoned 20 companies that had been in the rankings in 2008.

Nine companies, two fewer than in 2009, won in multiple categories. Perennial heavyweight Rockwell Automation won or tied for first place in 19 hardware and software categories. Emerson received five category wins. Advantech, Cisco, Fanuc CNC, National Instruments, Parker-Hannifin, Pepperl+Fuchs and Thomson each won twice.

Similar to prior results, many of companies had clear wins in their categories. This year, 34 of the 51 (35 last year) categories had winners with margins of greater than 10 percentage points. Close races decided by a margin of five percentage points or less dropped slightly to nine, compared with 11 in 2009. Four of those tight races ended in statistical dead heats between two or more companies.

Service Scores Better
Of those 87 individual companies in the product category results, you awarded service and support scores of 4.0 or better (very good-to-excellent performance on a 1 = poor to 5 = excellent scale) to 62 (71%) of them. This is noticeably up from the 63% rate last year, and more in line with the 70% in '07, and 80% in '06.

Reversing last year's result, service recognition scores generally rose. You assigned 20% of the service recognitions to the 4.3+ columns, compared with 15% last year, and 17% in 2008. Awards in the 4.0 to 4.1 ranges dropped to half the total service recognitions, compared with 59% last year.

You awarded the highest service praise this year — at 4.4 — to AutomationDirect in the Operator Terminal category and to Precsion Digital in the Panel Meter category.

Every company making the service and support list should be pleased. Some achieved great service marks more than once. The table on p. 32 lists those companies that voters say have terrific service/support in specific product categories. Voters again recognized Rockwell Automation service and support in 26 product categories, followed by Emerson Process Management and Siemens Industry in eight categories. Yokogawa made the service rankings in seven categories while Banner Engineering, Invensys, National Instruments and Schneider Electric each received six service accolades.

Endress+Hauser, General Electric, Phoenix Contact and Turck were recognized four times; ABB, AutomationDirect, Cisco/Linksys, Honeywell, Mitsubishi Electric, and Pepperl + Fuchs each received service plaudits in three categories.

Belden, Cooper Bussmann, Hoffman, Moxa, Omega Engineering, Omron and SMC made the list twice.

So, with product categories listed alphabetically, here are 2010's choice companies.

 

Thomson Ballscrews and Leadscrews

Ball Screw/Lead Screw

1. Thomson 22% 
2. Nook 9%
    SKF 9%
4. THK 6%

Fanuc CNC America 30i-B Series CNC Controls

Controller, CNC

1. Fanuc CNC America 27%
2. Siemens Industry 14%
3  Rockwell Automation 6%
    Mitsubishi 5%

HC900 Honeywell Control System

Controller, Loop

1. Honeywell 17%
2. Yokogawa 14%
3. Siemens Industry 9%
    Invensys 8%
    Emerson Process 7%
6. ABB 5%

Rockwell Automation ControlLogix Programmable Automation Controller

Controller, Motion

1. Rockwell Automation 32%
2. Siemens Industry 7%
    GE Intelligent Platforms 6%

Rockwell Automation Control-Logix L73 and L75 Programmable Automation Controllers

Controller, PLC

1. Rockwell Automation 45%
2. Siemens Industry 14%
3. GE Intelligent Platforms 6%
    Schneider Electric 6%
    AutomationDirect 5%

National Instruments NI LabView 2010

Data Acquisition System

1. National Instruments 25%
2. Rockwell Automation 14%
3. Invensys 9%
4. Yokogawa 6%
    GE Intelligent Platforms 5%

Yokogawa DXAdvanced Data Acquisition & Display Station

Data Recorder

1. Yokogawa 19%
2. Honeywell 12%
    National Instruments 11%
4. Invensys 8%

CST/BEI SensorsIndustrial Encoders

Encoder/Resolver

1. CST/BEI Sensors 20%
2. Rockwell Automation 9%
    Danaher 8%
    Sick/Stegmann 7%
5. Encoder Products Co. 6%   
    Heidenhain 6%

Parker Hannifin Hydraulics Group Products

Hydraulic Components

1. Parker Hannifin 29%
2. Bosch Rexroth 20%
3. Eaton/Vickers 12%
4. Festo 6%

Advantech Trek-550Rockwell Automation 6180 Series

 

Industrial Computer

1. Advantech 17%
2. Rockwell Automation 16%
3. Dell 13%
4. Siemens Industry 7%

Turck A-Size Powerfast Connectors

Industrial Electrical Connector/Cordset

1. Turck 33%
2. Molex/Woodhead 13%
    Phoenix Contact 13%
4. Rockwell Automation 6%

Rockwell Automation PowerFlex 755 AC Drives

Industrial Electric Motor Drive

1. Rockwell Automation 27%
2. ABB 13%
3. Siemens Industry 10%
4. Baldor 6%
    Yaskawa 6%
    Mitsubishi 5%

Hoffman Fusion G7 Global Wall-Mount Enclosures

Industrial Enclosure

1. Hoffman 46%
2. Rittal 18%
3. Saginaw Engineering 9%

Pepperl+Fuchs/BPS 6000 Series Purge/Pressurization System

Industrial Enclosure Purge System

1. Pepperl+Fuchs/BPS 50%
2. Hoffman  18%
3. Rittal 12%

Rockwell Automation Stratix 8300 Layer 3 Managed Switch

Industrial Network Components—Wired

1. Rockwell Automation 16%
2. Belden/Hirschmann 13%
    Cisco Systems 12%
4. N-Tron 8%
    Phoenix Contact 7%
    Turck 7%
    Moxa 6%

Cisco/Linksys E-Series Router

Industrial Network Components—Wireless

1. Cisco/Linksys 18%
2. Phoenix Contact 9%
    Emerson Process 8%
    Banner Engineering 7%
    ProSoft 7%
6. Cooper Bussmann/Elpro 6%
    Moxa 6%
    B&B Electronics 5%
    N-Tron 5%

Cisco/Linksys Industrial Ethernet 3000 Series

Industrial Network Hub/Router/Switch

1. Cisco/Linksys 26%
2. N-Tron 14%
    Belden/Hirschmann 13%
4. Moxa 8%
   Phoenix Contact 6%

Rockwell Automation 1799 Embedded I/O

Input/Output Systems

1. Rockwell Automation 34%
2. Siemens Industry 8%
    Opto 22 7%

Pepperl+Fuchs HiC Intrinsic Safety Isolators

Intrinsic Safety Components

1. Pepperl+Fuchs 29%
2. Cooper Crouse-Hinds/MTL 14%
3. Turck 11%
4. Rockwell Automation 8%

Parker Motion 400XR FamilyThomson Thomson LES Electric Slide Table Actuator

Linear Actuator/Slide/Guide

1. Parker Motion 10%
    Thomson 8%
3. SMC 7%
    Festo 5%
    Rockwell Automation 5%

Cognex In-Sight 5605 5-Megapixel Vision System

Machine Vision System

1. Cognex 45%
2. Banner Engineering 12%
    Keyence 10%
4. National Instruments 6%

Emerson Process Flowmeter Family

Measurement, Flow

1. Emerson Process 31%
2. Endress+Hauser 17%
3. Siemens Industry 6%
    ABB 5%
    Yokogawa 5%

Emerson Process Management 5400 Radar Level TransmitterE+H Levelflex M FMP40 Guided- Wave Level Instrument

Measurement, Level

1. Emerson Process 24%
    Endress+Hauser 16%
3. Siemens Industry 9%
    Ohmart Vega 7%

Mettler Toledo IND131 and IND331 Process Control Weighing Terminal

Measurement, Load Cell/Weighing

1. Mettler Toledo 27%
2. Rice Lake 12%
    Hardy 11%
4. Vishay/BLH 8%

Emerson Process 3051S Pressure Transmitter

Measurement, Pressure

1. Emerson Process 27%
2. Endress+Hauser 10%
3. Yokogawa 7%
    Siemens Industry 6%
    ifm efector 5%
    Invensys 5%

Emerson Process 3144P Temperature Transmitter

Measurement, Temperature

1. Emerson Process 19%
2. Omega Engineering 11%
3. Endress+Hauser 8%
    Honeywell 6%

GE Energy Bently Nevada Asset Condition Monitoring

Measurement, Vibration

1. GE Energy 35%
2. Emerson Process 14%
3. Rockwell Automation 9%
    Metrix 8%

Baldor Premium Efficiency Super-E Motor

Motor, Industrial Electric

1. Baldor 37%
2. Regal-Beloit 10%
    Siemens Industry 10%
    General Electric 9%
5. ABB 7%

Rockwell Automation RDD-Series Servo Motor

Motor, Servo

1. Rockwell Automation 24%
2. Siemens Industry  8%
    Yaskawa 8%
    Fanuc CNC America 7%
    Mitsubishi 7%
6. Baldor 5%
    GE Intelligent Platforms 5%

Kollmorgen PowerMax Stepper Motor Family

Motor, Stepper

1. Kollmorgen 13%
2. Fanuc CNC America 10%
    Parker Hannifin  9%
4. Schneider Electric 6%
    Siemens Industry 6%
    Oriental Motors 5%

Rockwell Automation ArmorStart Distributed Motor Controller

Motor Starter

1. Rockwell Automation 40%
2. Schneider Electric 16%
3. Siemens Industry  11%
4. ABB 7%
    Eaton Electrical 7%
    General Electric 6%

Rockwell Automation PanelView Plus Pro HMI

Operator Interface Terminal

1. Rockwell Automation 37%
2. Siemens Industry 10%
3. AutomationDirect 7%
    Pro-face/Xycom 7%
    Schneider Electric 6%

Red Lion Controls Controls Panel Meters

Panel Meter

1. Red Lion Controls 30%
2. Precision Digital 10%
    Omega Engineering 8%
    Yokogawa 8%
5. Newport Electronics 5%

Festo VTSA Valve TerminalSMC SMC EX250 Compact Interface for ControlNet Networks

Pneumatic Components

1. Festo 21%
    SMC 20%
3. Emerson/Numatics 16%
4. Parker Hannifin 8%

Emerson/SolaHD SDN Series Power Supplies

Power Supply

1. Emerson/SolaHD 22%
2. Phoenix Contact 10%
    Rockwell Automation 9%
4. Puls 7%
    Siemens Industry 6%
   Acopian 5%
   TDK-Lambda 5%

Rockwell Automation Guardmaster Safety Laser ScannersBanner Engineering Banner Sensors

Presence Sensing

1. Rockwell Automation 18%
    Banner Engineering 16%
3. Turck 14%
4. Pepperl+Fuchs 10%
5. Keyence 7%
    ifm efector 6%
    Schneider Electric 5%

Rockwell Automation Compact GuardLogix Programmable Automation Controller

Programmable Safety Controller

1. Rockwell Automation 31%
2. Siemens Industry 11%
    Pilz Automation Safety 9%
4. Banner Engineering 7%
    Invensys/Triconex 5%

Rockwell Automation E3 Plus Solid-State Overload Relay

Relay

1. Rockwell Automation 25%
2. Omron 15%
3. IDEC 12%
4. Schneider Electric 8%
5. Tyco/Potter&Brumfield 5%

Rockwell Automation KwikLink Lite Flat Cable System

Safety Network Components

1. Rockwell Automation 26%
2. Siemens Industry 12%
3. Banner Engineering 7%
    Pilz Automation Safety 6%

Rockwell Automation Guardmaster Minotaur MSR57P Safe-Speed Monitoring Relay

Safety Relay

1. Rockwell Automation 28%
2. Pilz Automation Safety 15%
3. Omron STI  9%
    Phoenix Contact 7%
5. Banner Engineering 5%
    Schneider Electric 5%
    Siemens Industry 5%

Advantech PCM-9362 Single Board Computer

Single-Board Computer

1. Advantech 32%
2. Adlink/Ampro  5%
    Axiomtek 5%
    VersaLogic 5%
    WinSystems 5%

GE Intelligent Platforms and/or Fanuc CNC America CNC Software

Software, CNC

1. GE Intelligent Platforms and/or Fanuc CNC America 25%
2. Siemens Industry 15%
3. MasterCam 11%

National Instruments Ethernet NI CompactDAQ

Software, Data Acquisition

1. National Instruments 22%
2. Rockwell Automation 14%
    Invensys 13%
4. GE Intelligent Platforms 6%
    Siemens Industry 6%
    Schneider Electric 5%

Autodesk AutoCAD Electrical 2011

Software, E-CAD

1. Autodesk 55%
2. Eplan 12%
3. Bentley 7%

Rockwell Automation FactoryTalk ViewPoint

Software, HMI

1. Rockwell Automation 27%
2. Invensys 16%
3. GE Intelligent Platforms 9%
    Siemens Industry 9%
5. Schneider Electric 5%

Rockwell Automation RSLogix 5000 Programming Software

Software, Motion Control

1. Rockwell Automation 38%
2. Siemens Industry 10%
3. Mitsubishi 5%

Rockwell Automation SoftLogix Software

Software, PC-Based Machine Control

1. Rockwell Automation 22%
2. National Instruments 17%
3. Siemens Industry 11%
    Beckhoff Automation 10%

Rockwell Automation RSLogix 5000 Design and Configuration Software

Software, PLC Programming

1. Rockwell Automation 50%
2. AutomationDirect 8%
    Schneider Electric 7%
    GE Intelligent Platforms 6%
    Siemens Industry 6%

Rockwell Automation 855 Control Tower Stack Light

Stack Light Tower

1. Rockwell Automation 37%
2. Banner Engineering  12%
    Schneider Electric 10%
4. Patlite 8%
5. Eaton Electrical 5%

Phoenix Contact Push-In Terminal Blocks

Terminal Blocks

1. Phoenix Contact 26%
3. Wiedmüller 13%
    Wago 12%
5. ABB/Entrelec 6%

Belden Industrial Ethernet Cables

Wire & Cabling

1. Belden 40%
2. Lapp USA 12%
3. Alpha Wire 5%
    Anixter 5%

>> The 2010 Readers' Choice Awards Service and Support Leaders

 

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