The Usual Suspects Win the Readers' Choice Awards!

The Question Isn't Who Won, but Rather Why Do They Win and How Do They Do It

By Walt Boyes, Keith Larson

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Analyze This!

Process analyzers continue to proliferate throughout the process industries. Both online and at-line analyzers are being used much more often for quality and performance. In Table 9, we present the top honors for online process analyzers. ABB continued its streak, winning four of the seven categories in this group. Yokogawa also made a strong showing, as did Emerson Process Management. Smaller companies like Draeger Safety, K Patents and others continued to show that you don't have to be huge to be well-branded. You just have to both talk the talk, and walk the walk.

The Essential Elements

All the control systems in the world won't work if the final control elements aren't properly designed, installed and above all, working. Generally, this means a valve, drive and motor combination of some kind. Table 10 shows this year's results in these categories. As always, Emerson Process Management's Fisher Valve division took the control valve category, with mentions of Flowserve, GE Masoneilan and Metso Automation. The same companies took the pneumatic valve actuator category, too.  In the electric actuator category, Rotork reprised its top ranking from last year, while Beck joined the list. Metso Automation, Emerson Industrial Automation and Flowserve won the on/off valve category.

In electric motor drives, Rockwell Automation took the category, followed by ABB, Siemens Industry, Schneider Electric, Toshiba and Baldor Electric (a division of ABB). Baldor also took the electric motor category, which certainly reflects the North American bias of these awards. Second was Siemens Industry, which after over 100 years of manufacturing motors, has finally decided to trade name the product: Simotics.

Outstanding in the Field

In Table 11, we list the other indispensable systems and devices that process automation technologists need and use—but don't fit in any other logical group we've discussed so far. These include "data acquisition," without which no control system works, but which appears to mean different things to different users. There are enclosures, fittings, calibrators, Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) for SCADA systems, purge systems, vibration instrumentation, and last but certainly not least, weighing systems and load cells. This year, Rockwell, as usual, took data acquisition and remote terminal units. Hoke joined the instrument fittings category, while SKF and Shinkawa joined the vibration instrumentation group. Pepperl+Fuchs/Bebco was all alone this year in the purge system category.

We want to offer our congratulations to everyone who made the list, whether they were listed first or not. We believe that this Award listing accurately reflects the brand preferences of end-users in the process industries, and every company that is listed here is a real winner.

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