And the winners are...

This is the 12th year that CONTROL magazine has surveyed the best in products and service in the process automation and controls industry. Find out who won this year's Readers' Choice Awards.

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By Walt Boyes, Editor in Chief

WE THINK times are looking better for the process automation profession; at least we sincerely hope so. This is the 12th year that CONTROL has surveyed the best in products and service in the process automation industry, and during the past 12 years, more than 250 well-known industry brand names have been absorbed, changed, disappeared or dissolved. Among them, familiar monikers like Cutler-Hammer, Fischer and Porter, Bailey Controls, and many more. This process is going to continue, as companies shift, reorganize, and jockey for position in the industry. While they go about doing that, however, sometimes the end-users are left to fend for themselves. At times it is even hard to find companies after acquisitions or consolidations.

So, when we look at the list of companies that make up the Readers Choice Awards this year, two things strike us immediately. First, of course, is the number of companies that continue to make the list year after year. This is a testament to their willingness to put the customer first, and unfailingly provide the best quality of product and service, despite the corporate machinations they may be undergoing. The second is the likelihood that the choices are an excellent indication of the character of their installed base. In this type of survey, clearly, familiarity has an effect on ones response.

CONTROL asked its readers to name the vendors delivering the best technologies in 65 categories and rate their customer service. These are the people whose opinions really count: They have the first-hand experience with how these instruments function, and they carefully spend their companies' increasingly scarce funds for instrumentation and controls. Any supplier who finds its name on the following pages--even fourth or fifth in a hotly contested category--can rightfully be proud of the accolade that it implies. And, as we do every year, we "scrubbed" the list of names to whom we sent the ballots, to prevent the accidental stacking of responses. Each person surveyed was asked to "identify by name the best supplier, in your opinion, in each of the following technology categories."

Beyond that, each reader used his or her own experience, knowledge, and familiarity with the products and vendors, to rate them in each category. It's likely respondents weighed cost versus benefit, ease of use, performance, reliability, service life, even who and how big the supplier is to determine their choices.

Then there was the rating of customer service to consider. If an engineer, his company, or anyone he knows, has had an experience, good or bad, with a given vendor, that experience can matter a great deal. With more and more suppliers concentrating on providing value-added services and solutions to their customers CONTROL also asked respondents to rank that aspect of their chosen suppliers on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). Vendors providing excellent service (4.0 or higher) are listed in the accompanying table

Once more, it isnt a surprise that Emerson continues to be rated among the best in nearly all their relevant product categories. Rockwell, Honeywell, and Invensys also fared well, as usual. But big doesn't always mean better. You dont necessarily have to be a big company to place well in one's core category. Magnetrol (level), FCI (flow meters and switches), Kistler-Morse and Rice Lake (weighing systems) and ExperTune (loop tuning software) instantly spring to mind here.

Changes wrought by Internet commerce are clearly shown in our survey, evidenced by the fact that Omega Engineering and AutomationDirect (catalog and direct Internet merchants) did quite well in several categories. In the "thermocouple" category, for example, Omega (at 18%) was in a statistical draw (3% or less difference) with Emerson/Rosemount (at 21%). Perhaps we should expect other not so bricks-and-mortar vendors to start appearing in future surveys.

As we venture forward into a hopefully brightening future, it is worth a great deal to pay homage to the vendors whose products, technologies, applications knowledge, and dedication to service make our jobs easier and, dare we say, more fun to do. And the winners are...

2004 CONTROL Readers Choice Awards

(*Differences of less than 3% are of marginal statistical significance.)

Analyzer, Ambient Gas Detector
1. MSA 28%
2. General Monitors 13%
3. Det-Tronics 9%


Analyzer, Density/Concentration
1. Emerson/Micro Motion 38%
2. Solartron Mobrey 13%
3. Electron Machine 6%
Analyzer, Gas Chromatograph
1. Siemens/Applied Automation 34%
2. Emerson/Rosemount/Daniel 27%
3. ABB 16%
Analyzer, Humidity/Moisture
1. GE Panametrics 33%
2. Emerson/Rosemount Analytical 14%
    *Vaisala 14%
Analyzer, pH/ORP/Conductivity
1. Emerson/Rosemount Analytical 39%
2. Hach/GLI 9%
    *Invensys Foxboro 9%
    *Yokogawa 7%
5. Thermo Electron/Orion 6%
    *ABB/TBI Bailey 5%
Analyzer, Process Spectrometer
1. ABB 27%
2. Emerson/Rosemount Analytical 23%
3. Siemens 10%
Analyzer, Stack Gas/Emissions
1. Emerson/Rosemount Analytical 21%
2. Ametek Thermox 11%
    *Teledyne Monitor Labs 11%
4. Horiba 7%
Annunciator
1. Ametek Panalarm 42%
2. Ronan Engineering 15%
3. Qualitrol/Hathaway/Beta 12%
4. Federal Signal 8%
Control Valve
1. Emerson/Fisher Controls 64%
2. Flowserve/Valtek 6%
    *Dresser Masoneilan 5%
Enclosure
1. Hoffman 74%
2. Rittal 12%
Flowmeter, Coriolis
1. Emerson/Micro Motion 83%
2. Endress+Hauser 9%
Flowmeter, Magnetic
1. Emerson/Rosemount 40%
2.*Endress+Hauser 13%
    Yokogawa 12%
    Invensys Foxboro 11%
5.*Krohne 7%
    ABB 6%
Flowmeter, Open Channel
1. Siemens/Milltronics 34%
2. Endress+Hauser 16%
3. Emerson/Rosemount 9%
Flowmeter, Positive Displacement
1. Emerson/Brooks 39%
2. FMC Smith 18%
3. Badger Meter 11%
Flowmeter, Thermal Mass
1. FCI 50%
2. Emerson/Brooks Instrument 15%
3. Sierra Instruments 9%
4. Kurz Instruments 5%
Flowmeter, Turbine
1. Emerson/Brooks/Daniel 20%
2. Hoffer Flow Controls 10%
    *FMC Smith 8%
    *Halliburton 8%
    *Invensys Foxboro 8%
6. GF Signet 5%
Flowmeter, Ultrasonic
1. GE Panametrics 28%
2. Emerson/Daniel 13%
3. Thermo Polysonics 10%
    *Endress+Hauser 8%
4. Controlotron 6%
    *Greyline Instruments 5%
    *Siemens Milltronics 5%
Flowmeter, Variable Area
1. Emerson/Brooks 47%
2. Wallace & Tiernan 15%
3. ABB 8%
Flowmeter, Vortex
1. Emerson/Rosemount 44%
2. Yokogawa 24%
3. Invensys Foxboro 15%
4. Endress+Hauser 6%
Flow Switch
1. FCI 29%
2. Endress+Hauser 7%
    *IFM Efector 6%
    *Emerson/Rosemount 6%
    *Gems 5%
    *SOR 5%
Industrial Computer
1. Dell 34%
2. Rockwell/Allen-Bradley 15%
3. Parker CTC 6%
    *Xycom 6%
Input/Output System
1. Rockwell Automation 52%
2. Honeywell 7%
Instrument Fittings
1. Swagelok 68%
2. Parker 22%
Intrinsic Safety Barrier
1. Pepperl+Fuchs 27%
2. R. Stahl 18%
3. MTL 15%
4. Turck 12%
Level Gauge, Electrical Property-Based
1. Ametek/Drexelbrook 28%
2. Emerson/Rosemount 19%
3. Endress+Hauser 11%
4. K-Tek 5%
Level Gauge, Float/Displacer
1. Emerson/Rosemount 35%
2. Magnetrol 21%
3. K-Tek 7%
    *Endress+Hauser 5%
Level Gauge, Contact Radar
1. Emerson/Rosemount 30%
2. Magnetrol 27%
3. Endress+Hauser 19%
4. Ohmart Vega 10%
Level Gauge, Non-Contact Radar
1. Emerson/Saab Rosemount 38%
2. Ohmart Vega 22%
3. Endress+Hauser 19%
Level Gauge, Nuclear
1. Thermo MeasureTech 42%
2. Ohmart Vega 30%
3. Berthold Technologies 9%
    *Emerson/Rosemount 8%
Level Gauge, Ultrasonic
1. Siemens/Milltronics 37%
2. Endress+Hauser 12%
3. Ohmart Vega 8%
    *Emerson/Rosemount 6%
Level Switch, Point
1. Endress+Hauser 26%
2. Magnetrol 16%
3. Ametek Drexelbrook 9%
    *Thermo MeasureTech 7%
Level Gauge, Inventory Grade
1. Emerson/Saab Rosemount 35%
2. Endress+Hauser/Varec 20%
3. Enraf 11%
Operator Interface Terminal
1. Rockwell/Allen-Bradley 46%
2. Honeywell 8%
3. AutomationDirect 5%
    *GE Fanuc/TCP 5%
    *Nematron 5%
Panel Display
1. Rockwell/Allen-Bradley 36%
2. Precision Digital 9%
Portable Calibrator
1. Fluke 43%
2. Altek/Transmation 15%
3. Ametek 8%
    *Emerson Process Management 7%
Power Supply
1. Sola/Hevi-Duty 38%
2. Acopian 26%
3. Phoenix Contact 7%
4. AutomationDirect 5%
Pressure Transmitter
1. Emerson/Rosemount 65%
2. Honeywell 11%
3. Yokogawa 5%
Process Control/Automation System
1. Emerson Process Management 32%
2. Rockwell Automation 25%
3. Honeywell 19%
    *Siemens 19%
5. ABB 6%
Process Loop Controller
1. Siemens 44%
2. Honeywell 12%
    *Rockwell Automation 10%
4. Yokogawa 6%
Programmable Logic Controller
1. Rockwell/Allen-Bradley 76%
2. Schneider Electric/Modicon 8%
    *AutomationDirect 7%
Purge System
1. Pepperl+Fuchs/Bebco 71%
Recorder
1. Yokogawa 33%
2. Honeywell 26%
3. Invensys Eurotherm/Chessell 19%
Remote Terminal Unit
1. Emerson/Fisher Controls 16%
    *Rockwell/Allen-Bradley 16%
3. Schneider Electric/Modicon 9%
Resistance Temperature Detector
1. Emerson/Rosemount 40%
2. Omega Engineering 10%
    *Pyromation 10%
4. Watlow/Gordon 6%
    *Sandelius 5%
Safety/Emergency Shutdown System
1. Invensys Triconex 29%
2. Siemens 22%
3. Rockwell Automation 15%
Signal Conditioner
1. Moore Industries 30%
2. Acromag 10%
3. Invensys Eurotherm/Action 7%
    *M-System 7%
    *Phoenix Contact 7%
Software, Asset Management
1. Emerson Process Management 59%
2. PSDI/Maximo 7%
Software, Batch Control/Management
1. Emerson Process Management 33%
2. GE/Intellution 17%
3. Rockwell Software 14%
4. ABB 8%
    *Honeywell 8%
Software, Calibration Management
1. Emerson Process Management 32%
2. Fluke 18%
3. Honeywell 14%
Software, Design/Documentation
1. AutoDesk 46%
2. Intergraph 8%
Software, Expert System
1. Emerson Process Management 33%
2. Honeywell 22%
Software, Human-Machine Interface
1. Invensys Wonderware 36%
2. Rockwell Software 22%
3. GE/Intellution 13%
4. Emerson Process Management 5%
Software, Loop Tuning
1. ExperTune 38%
2. Emerson/EnTech 28%
3. Honeywell 9%
Software, Neural Network
1. Emerson Process Management 29%
2. Pavilion Technologies 21%
3. Brainwave 14%
Software, Process Control
1. Emerson Process Management 24%
2. Rockwell Automation 16%
    *Honeywell 14%
4. ABB 6%
Software, PLC Programming
1. Rockwell Software 69%
2. Schneider Electric 10%
3. AutomationDirect 6%
Software, SCADA
1. Invensys Wonderware 25%
2. GE/Intellution 16%
3. Rockwell Software 14%
4. AspenTech 5%
    *Iconics 5%
Software, Simulation
1. AspenTech 22%
2. Emerson Process Management 18%
    *Mimic 18%
4. SST 13%
5. Invensys SimSci 9%
Temperature Sensor, Infrared
1. Raytek 31%
2. Omega Engineering 14%
3. Fluke 11%
    *Land Instruments 11%
Temperature Transmitter
1. Emerson/Rosemount 56%
2. Honeywell 12%
3. Omega Engineering 5%
Terminal Block
1. Phoenix Contact 26%
    *Rockwell/Allen-Bradley 26%
3. Weidmuller 23%
Thermocouple
1. Emerson/Rosemount 21%
2. Omega Engineering 18%
3. Pyromation 12%
4. Thermo Electric 7%
    *Sandelius 6%
    *Watlow/Gordon 6%
Valve Actuator, Electric
1. Limitorque 23%
2. Rotork 17%
3. Emerson/Fisher Controls 14%
4. Beck 6%
    *EIM 5%
    *Honeywell 5%
Valve Actuator, Pneumatic
1. Emerson/Fisher Controls 55%
2. Flowserve/Valtek 5%
Variable Speed Drive
1. Rockwell/Allen-Bradley/Reliance 55%
2. ABB 10%
3. Toshiba 5%
Vibration Instrumentation
1. Bently Nevada 63%
2. Emerson/CSI 11%
3. Metrix/PMC Beta 8%
Weighing System/Load Cell
1. Mettler Toledo 22%
2. BLH 14%
3. Hardy Instrument 10%
4. Kistler Morse 6%
    *Rice Lake 6%
    *Thermo Ramsey 6%
    *Weigh-Tronix 5%
Weighing System, In-Line
1. Mettler Toledo/Hispeed 23%
2. Thermo Ramsey 10%
    *Acrison 8%
    *Weigh-Tronix 8%
Wire & Cable
1. Belden 67%
2. Alpha Wire 7%
    *Lapp/Olflex 5%


Vendors Offering Exceptional Service

(Very Good = 4.0 to Excellent 5.0)

4.5+
Emerson/Micro Motion Analyzer, Density/Concentration
Invensys Foxboro Analyzer, pH/ORP/Conductivity
Siemens/Applied Automation Analyzer, Stack Gas/Emissions
Dresser Masoneilan Control Valve
Endress+Hauser Flowmeter, Vortex
Honeywell Input/Output System
Turck Intrinsic Safety Barrier
Enraf Level Gauge, Inventory Grade
AutomationDirect Operator Interface Terminal
AutomationDirect Power Supply
Yokogawa Pressure Transmitter
Schneider Electric/Modicon Remote Terminal Unit
Sandelius Resistance Temperature Detector
Invensys Triconex Safety/Emergency Shutdown System
Phoenix Contact Signal Conditioner
Honeywell Software, Calibration Management
Emerson Process Management Software, HMI
Schneider Electric Software, PLC Programming
AutomationDirect Software, PLC Programming
Sandelius Thermocouple
Watlow/Gordon Thermocouple
Emerson/Fisher Controls Valve Actuator, Electric

4.4
Flowserve/Valtek Control Valve
Emerson/Micro Motion Flowmeter, Coriolis
SOR Flow Switch
Swagelok Instrument Fittings
Emerson/Rosemount Level Gauge, Electrical Property-Based
Endress+Hauser Level Gauge, Electrical Property-Based
Ohmart Vega Level Gauge, Contact Radar
Emerson/Rosemount Level Gauge, Nuclear
Endress+Hauser Level Switch, Point
Rockwell/Allen-Bradley Process Loop Controller
AutomationDirect Programmable Logic Controller
Emerson/Rosemount Resistance Temperature Detector
Rockwell Software Software, HMI
Emerson/Rosemount Thermocouple
Mettler Toledo/Hispeed Weighing System, In-Line

4.3
Emerson/Rosemount Analytical Analyzer, Process Spectrometer
Siemens/Applied Automation Analyzer, Process Spectrometer
Emerson/Fisher Controls Control Valve
Emerson/Rosemount Flowmeter, Magnetic
Endress+Hauser Flowmeter, Magnetic
Emerson/Rosemount Flowmeter, Open Channel
FMC Smith Flowmeter, Positive Displacement
FMC Smith Flowmeter, Turbine
Emerson/Daniel Flowmeter, Ultrasonic
K-Tek Level Gauge, Electrical Property-Based
Ohmart Vega Level Gauge, Ultrasonic
Emerson/Rosemount Level Gauge, Ultrasonic
Honeywell Operator Interface Terminal
Emerson/Rosemount Portable Calibrator
Emerson/Rosemount Pressure Transmitter
Honeywell Pressure Transmitter
Emerson Process Management Process Control/Automation System
Rockwell Automation Process Control/Automation System
Schneider Electric Programmable Logic Controller
Emerson Process Management Software, Batch Control/Management
Emerson Process Management Software, Calibration Management
Rockwell Automation Software, Process Control
Emerson Process Management Software, Simulation
Fluke Temperature Sensor, Infrared
Emerson/Rosemount Temperature Transmitter
Emerson/Fisher Controls Valve Actuator, Pneumatic
Bently Nevada Vibration Instrumentation
BLH Weighing System/Load Cell
Rice Lake Weighing System/Load Cell
Thermo Ramsey Weighing System, In-Line
Weigh-Tronix Weighting System, In-Line

4.2
Endress+Hauser Flowmeter, Coriolis
Emerson/Brooks Instrument Flowmeter, Thermal Mass
Invensys Foxboro Flowmeter, Turbine
GE Panametrics Flowmeter, Ultrasonic
Emerson/Rosemount Flowmeter, Vortex
Invensys Foxboro Flowmeter, Vortex
Emerson/Rosemount Level Gauge, Contact Radar
Ohmart Vega Level Gauge, Non-Contact Radar
Ohmart Vega Level Gauge, Nuclear
Endress+Hauser Level Gauge, Ultrasonic
Magnetrol Level Switch, Point
Fluke Portable Calibrator
Rockwell/Allen-Bradley Programmable Logic Controller
Omega Engineering Resistance Temperature Detector
Emerson Process Management Software, Asset Management
GE/Intellution Software, Batch Control/Management
Emerson Process Management Software, Loop Tuning
Emerson Process Management Software, Process Control
Honeywell Software, Process Control
ABB Variable Speed Drive

4.1
General Monitors Analyzer, Ambient Gas Detector
MSA Analyzer, Ambient Gas Detector
Solartron Mobrey Analyzer, Density/Concentration
Siemens/Applied Automation Analyzer, Gas Chromatograph
Emerson/Rosemount Analytical Analyzer, Humidity/Moisture
Emerson/Rosemount Analytical Analyzer, pH/ORP/Conductivity
Emerson/Rosemount Analytical Analyzer, Stack Gas/Emissions
Ametek Thermox Analyzer, Stack Gas/Emissions
Rittal Enclosure
Yokogawa Flowmeter, Magnetic
Emerson/Brooks/Daniel Flowmeter, Turbine
Parker Instrument Fittings
Pepperl+Fuchs, Intrinsic Safety Barrier
K-Tek Level Gauge, Float/Displacer
Magnetrol Level Gauge, Contact Radar
Emerson/Saab Rosemount Level Gauge, Non-Contact Radar
Altek/Transmation Portable Calibrator
Siemens Process Control/Automation System
Siemens Process Loop Controller
Pyromation Resistance Temperature Detector
Moore Industries Signal Conditioner
Rockwell Software Software, PLC Programming
Phoenix Contact Terminal Block
Omega Engineering Thermocouple
Flowserve/Valtek Valve Actuator, Pneumatic
Rockwell/Allen-Bradley/Reliance Variable Speed Drive
Hardy Instruments Weighing System/Load Cell

4.0
Det-Tronics Analyzer, Ambient Gas Detector
Electron Machine Analyzer, Density/Concentration
Thermo Electron/Orion Analyzer, pH/ORP/Conductivity
ABB/TBI Bailey Analyzer, pH/ORP/Conductivity
Teledyne Monitor Labs Analyzer, Stack Gas/Emissions
Ronan Engineering Annunciator
Federal Signal Annunciator
Hoffman Enclosure
Siemens/Milltronics Flowmeter, Open Channel
Kurz Instruments Flowmeter, Thermal Mass
Sierra Instruments Flowmeter, Thermal Mass
Endress+Hauser Flowmeter, Ultrasonic
Yokogawa Flowmeter, Vortex
IFM Efector Flow Switch
Rockwell/Allen-Bradley Industrial Computer
Parker CTC Industrial Computer
Xycom Industrial Computer
Rockwell/Allen-Bradley Input/Output System
R. Stahl Intrinsic Safety Barrier
Emerson/Rosemount Level Gauge, Float/Displacer
Magnetrol Level Gauge, Float/Displacer
Berthold Technologies Level Gauge, Nuclear
Rockwell/Allen-Bradley Operator Interface Terminal
GE Fanuc/TCP Operator Interface Terminal
Nematron Operator Interface Terminal
Precision Digital Panel Display
Ametek Portable Calibrator
Sola Power Supply
Phoenix Contact Power Supply
Honeywell Process Control/Automation System
Yokogawa Recorder
Emerson/Fisher Controls Remote Terminal Unit
Siemens Safety/Emergency Shutdown System
Rockwell Automation Safety/Emergency Shutdown System
Invensys Eurotherm/Action Signal Conditioner
M-System Signal Conditioner
PSDI/Maximo Software, Asset Management
ABB Software, Batch Control/Management
AutoDesk Software, Design/Documentation
Intergraph Software, Design/Documentation
ExperTune Software, Loop Tuning
Emerson Process Management Software, Neural Network
Brainwave Software, Neural Network
ABB Software, Process Control
Iconics Software, SCADA
Mimic Software, Simulation
SST Software, Simulation
Weidmuller Terminal Block
Thermo Electric Thermocouple
Limitorque Valve Actuator, Electric
Beck Valve Actuator, Electric
Thermo Ramsey Weighing System/Load Cell
Weigh-Tronix Weighing System/Load Cell
Belden Wire & Cable
Lapp/Olflex Wire & Cable

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