The Heat (and Pressure) Is On
Back to the days of the original Rosemount 1151, the industrial pressure transmitter is in many ways the foundation from which Emerson Process Management built or assembled its market leadership position in a broad range of measurement technologies. Temperature sensors and transmitters are no exception, and only the arena of infrared has remained beyond their scope, where Fluke carries the day in the categories of both Infrared Temperature Sensing and Infrared Imaging/Thermography.
A Process Analysis Primer
Typically a step in complexity beyond the measurement of primary physical variables such as temperature, pressure, flow or level, is the realm of process analysis. These devices, once confined primarily to the laboratory, have increasingly moved into the field, gone on line, and are helping to improve control and boost quality throughout the process industries.
Here, as in other field instrument categories, the process instrumentation majors lead the industry with Emerson Process Management and ABB taking top spots in four and two categories, respectively. The other process majors including Siemens, Yokogawa, Invensys and Endress+Hauser also place well in these categories. In the yet-more specialized category of Humidity and Moisture analysis, GE Measurement & Control rolls on the strength of its Panametrics brand.
The Final Element
The last crucial link in any automated process control loop is of course the final control element. Measurements can be taken and control decisions made—but all unravels if those decisions aren't effectively and reliably translated into final action. Primary among the process industries means of affecting process control are the position of a valve or the direction and speed of an electric motor.
For the Control Valve itself, top spot in this year's Readers Choice Awards goes to Emerson Process Management, primarily on the strength of its Fisher Controls brand. Runners up Flowserve, Samson Controls, GE Energy and Metso Automation were often mentioned as well. In the category of Pneumatic Actuator, Emerson also prevails, but cedes Electric Actuator to Rotork Controls. The nod for On/Off Valves also went to Emerson, represented primarily by the company's ASCO brand, a division of Emerson Industrial Automation.
In the category of Variable-Speed Motor Drive, Rockwell Automation is ranked most highly in this year's Readers Choice Awards polling. And as for the Electric Motors themselves, Baldor Electric takes top honors. ABB and Siemens also placed highly in both motors and drives technology categories.
Elsewhere in the Field
Last but certainly not least, this final group of Readers Choice Awards includes a supporting cast of essential field instrumentation technologies that play a critical role in process automation, but don't belong to another logical group discussed thus far.
First off, the words “Data Acquisition" means many things to many people, but in this year's poll the DAQ System award goes to Rockwell Automation—maker of both data acquisition hardware, as well as the popular RSView visualization environment. Fluke wins in the category of Portable Calibrator. The Enclosure award goes to perennial favorite Pentair Technical Products, while the preferred enclosure Purge System award goes to Pepperl+Fuchs.
Although each of these winners are more likely known for their acquired Hoffman and Bebco brands, respectively.) And what to to put into those boxes? The nod for Remote Terminal Unit goes to Rockwell Automation.
Leak-proof fittings are, of course, critical to any process instrumentation installation, and honors for the category of Instrument Fittings go to Swagelok, followed by Parker Hannifin.
Finally, our Readers Choice Awards for two important process measurements: vibration and weight. The nod for Vibration Instrumentation goes to GE Energy on the strength of its Bently Nevada brand. Excellence in the category of Weighing System/Load Cell goes to Mettler Toledo.