2012 Readers' Choice Awards: Top Automation Suppliers and Companies

Machine Builders That Successfully Landed on the List Look for New Ways to Improve Their Performance to Satisfy Customer Needs

By Joe Feeley, Editor in Chief

To say that technological achievement seems to constantly reach new heights is an appropriate description, considering what's been happening on Mars these days.

The complexity involved in the dozens of carefully synchronized and coordinated events that brought Curiosity to a safe Martian landing can't be over-appreciated.

Granted, the machine projects you undertake don't cost $2.6 billion and take years to complete, and don't have to be supported from 160 million miles away after delivery. However, most of those machines are growing more complex in their own rights, and without dependable technology from dependable automation suppliers, the performance of those machine designs could end up way off course. We think the automation vendors that made this year's Readers' Choice Awards lists must be those types of suppliers.

We've not changed the process for this event since we launched Readers' Choice Awards in 2001. We sent questionnaires to more than 10,000 subscribers who tell us they have buying influence or buying authority for industrial automation and control products. Automation suppliers are never eligible, so we didn't knowingly let any supplier vote. Voting is reserved for our machine-builder and system-integrator audience.

See Also: 2011 Readers' Choice Awards: Top Spots in the Automation Vendor Universe

We use an unaided ballot, which means we don't provide a list of vendors or product brands from which to choose. We list 50+ hardware and software categories and ask participants to name the companies that provide them the best technology value for products with which they have experience. This year we tallied 200+ eligible ballots. Once they choose the best providers, participants rate service and support they receive from them. Only companies that receive at least 5% of their category vote are listed.

This year, 90 individual companies made the listings in one or more of 54 product categories.

Eleven companies won in multiple product categories. Rockwell Automation won or tied for first place in 21 hardware and software categories. Emerson earned five category wins, while Phoenix Contact won in three categories. ABB, Advantech, Bosch Rexroth, National Instruments, Pepperl+Fuchs, Thomson, Turck and Yokogawa all won two categories.

The evaluation of your automation suppliers' overall service and support continues its trend of less-generous scoring. Of those 90 individual companies in the product category listings, you awarded service and support scores of 4.0 (very good) or better performance (on a scale of 1 = poor to 5 = excellent) to 48 of them, a 53% rate that compared with 73% in 2011.

The distribution of these service recognition scores dropped. In 2010, 20% of the listed service scores were at 4.3 and higher levels. Last year it dropped to 10%, and this year only 2% reached 4.3.

Awards in the 4.0 to 4.1 groupings grew to represent 85% of all the listed service scores, compared with 70% last year, and 50% in 2011.

National Intruments for DAQ Software, and Rockwell Automation for the Safety Relay category were the companies that received the 4.3 service mark this year.

Every company earning a spot on the service and support list should be very pleased. Some 17 of those 48 companies received multiple great service marks. Voters recognized Rockwell Automation service and support in 26 product categories, followed by Siemens Industry with 14 categories, and Emerson with nine. ABB and AutomationDirect made the service rankings in six categories, while Phoenix Contact received five service accolades. Banner Engineering, Endress+Hauser, National Instruments, Pilz Automation Safety and Schneider Electric each received three product category nods; and Beckhoff Automation, Bosch Rexroth, Hoffman, Kollmorgen, Omega Engineering and Turck all made it twice. See the table on p42 for details.

With product categories listed alphabetically, here are 2012's galaxy-class companies.
(Access it in PDF format)

 



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The 2012 Readers' Choice Awards Service and Support Leaders

Control Design's voters tell us these companies provide very good (4.0) to excellent (5.0) service in the noted product categories. Only those companies that received the minimum 5% vote share in the preceding pages were tallied.

4.3
National Instruments---Data Acquisition Software
Rockwell Automation---Safety Relay
4.2
ABB---Gear Reducer
ABB---Stepper Motor
AutomationDirect---PLC
Emerson Industrial Automation---Servo Motor
Pepperl+Fuchs---Intrinsic Safety System
Phoenix Contact---Power Supply
Rockwell Automation---Electronic Drive
Rockwell Automation---Industrial Computer
Rockwell Automation---Input/Output System
Rockwell Automation---Motor Starter
Rockwell Automation---Programmable Safety Controller
Rockwell Automation---Terminal Block
Rockwell Automation---Wired Network Component
SEW Eurodrive---Gear Reducer
Siemens Industry---Level Measurement
Siemens Industry---Safety Relay
Wago---Terminal Block
4.1
ABB---Servo Motor
ABB---Terminal Block
AutomationDirect---Operator Interface Terminal
AutomationDirect---Programable Automation Controller
AutomationDirect---PLC Programming Software
Banner Engineering---Stack Tower Light
Bentley---E-CAD Software
Emerson Industrial Automation---    Electronic Drive
Emerson Process---Level Measurement
Emerson Process---Temperature Measurement
Emerson/SolaHD---Power Supply
Endress+Hauser---Level Measurement
Festo---Pneumatic Component
Pentair/Hoffman---Industrial Enclosure
National Instruments---Data Acquisition System
Omega Engineering---Temperature Measurement
Oriental Motors---Stepper Motor
Phoenix Contact---Terminal Block
Rockwell Automation---Data Acquisition Software
Rockwell Automation---I/O, Machine-Mount
Rockwell Automation---Motion Control Software
Rockwell Automation---Network Router/Switch
Rockwell Automation---Operator Interface Terminal
Rockwell Automation.---Programable Automation Controller
Rockwell Automation---PLC
Rockwell Automation---PLC Programming Software
Rockwell Automation---Power Supply
Rockwell Automation---Relay
Rockwell Automation---Safety Network Component
Rockwell Automation---Servo Motor
Rockwell Automation---Stack Tower Light
Saginaw Control and Engineering--- Industrial Enclosure
Siemens Industry---CNC Controller
Siemens Industry---Operator Interface Terminal
Siemens Industry---PLC Programming Software
Siemens Industry---Servo Motor
Siemens Industry---Wireless Network Component
SMC---Pneumatic Component
Stober---Gear Reducer
TE Connectivity---Relay
Turck---Connector/Cordset
Yokogawa---Data Recorder

4.0
ABB---Electronic Drive
ABB---Motor Starter
AutomationDirect---Stack Tower Light
AutomationDirect---Terminal Block
Banner Engineering---Machine Vision
Banner Engineering---Safety Relay
Beckhoff Automation---Input/Output System
Beckhoff Automation---PC-Based Machine Control Software
Belden---Wire & Cable
Bosch Rexroth---Ball Screw/Lead Screw
Bosch Rexroth---Motion Controller
Boston Gear---Gear Reducer
Cisco Systems---Network Router/Switch
Cooper Crouse-Hinds/MTL---Intrinsic Safety System
CST/BEI Sensors---Encoder/Resolver
Emerson/Numatics---Pneumatic Component
Emerson Process Management---Data Acquisition System
Emerson Process Management---Flow Measurement
Emerson Process Management---Pressure Measurement---
Encoder Products---Encoder/Resolver
Endress+Hauser---Pressure Measurement
Endress+Hauser---Flow Measurement
Hammond---Industrial Enclosure
Hardy Process Solutions---Load Cell/Weight Measurement
Pentair/Hoffman---Enclosure Purge
Honeywell---Temperature Measurement
IDEC---Relay
Invensys---HMI Software
Keyence---Presence Sensing
Kollmorgen---Servo Motor
Kollmorgen---Stepper Motor
Mettler Toledo---Load Cell/Weight Measurement
Molex---Connector/Cordset
National Instruments---PC-Based Machine Control Software
Omega Engineering---Load Cell/Weight Measurement
Opto 22---Input/Output System
Phoenix Contact---Network Router/Switch
Phoenix Contact---Relay
Phoenix Contact--- Safety Relay
Pilz Automation Safety---Programmable Safety Controller
Pilz Automation Safety---Safety Network Component
Pilz Automation Safety---Safety Relay
Pro-face---Operator Interface Terminal
ProSoft Technology---Wireless Network Component
Red Lion Controls---Panel Meter
Rockwell Automation---Data Acquisition System
Rockwell Automation---HMI Software
Rockwell Automation---Integrated Development Software
Rockwell Automation---Motion Controller
Rockwell Automation---PC-Based Machine Control Software
Schneider Electric---Motor Starter
Schneider Electric---PLC Programming Software
Schneider Electric---Relay
Siemens Industry---Electronic Drive
Siemens Industry---Input/Output System
Siemens Industry---Motion Control Software
Siemens Industry---Motor Starter
Siemens Industry---PC-Based Machine Control Software
Siemens Industry---Programmable Safety Controller
Siemens Industry---Safety Network Component
Turck---I/O, Machine-Mount
Vega---Level Measurement
Yaskawa---Electronic Drive

 

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