1660316789612 Ct2201coverhero2

2022 Readers' Choice Awards

Jan. 20, 2022
Control magazine readers vote for their preferred suppliers in more than 80 process control and instrumentation technology categories

This year marks the 30th anniversary of our Readers’ Choice Awards, a program that broke new ground in the process control and instrumentation arena when our first winners were unveiled back in the January 1993 issue.

Over the past three decades, the awards have morphed a bit. We no longer have a winner for expert systems software or minicomputers. The number of categories has grown from 50 to more than 80. And leadership by automation discipline was added to acknowledge the all-important application expertise that often transcends a particular product category. Plus, many of the organizations that claimed top honors in 1993 no longer exist—many having been absorbed by acquisition into today’s leading solution providers.

But several essential aspects have remained constant. The Readers’ Choice Awards is perennially among our most popular feature articles. 2021’s version was no exception, ranking as the year’s most visited story at ControlGlobal.com. Instrumentation and control professionals refer to the Readers’ Choice Awards because they represent the collective wisdom of you, our readers, who for the past three decades have taken the time to share your technology and application expertise in products ranging from annunciators to weighing systems—and everything in between.

We sincerely thank all our readers who participated this year, an eclectic group of process automation and instrumentation professionals representing diverse process industry verticals as well as all corners of the U.S. and, increasingly, the world. (For more information on survey respondent demographics, see sidebar above.)

Voter demographics

Respondents to this year's Readers' Choice Awards survey are an industrially diverse but North American-centric mix of individuals from across the process industries. Process control and instrumentation professionals from end-user and engineering firms made their voices heard, responding to invitations emailed in late 2021. The tables above summarize their industry and geographic demographics. Those individuals who worked for systems integration and engineering service firms were asked to choose the end-user industry that most closely represents their work.

Leaders by discipline

Our first grouping of Readers’ Choice Awards isn’t so much a set of product technologies as it is a set of fundamental control domain competencies—ranging from batch automation to SCADA. (See listing of “Process Automation Discipline” winners.) Not unexpectedly, the readers’ vote is concentrated among the “Big 7” global leaders in process automation systems technology: ABB, Emerson, Honeywell, Rockwell Automation, Schneider, Siemens and Yokogawa.

Emerson got the nod in both Batch Process Automation and Continuous Regulatory Control, while Rockwell Automation took top honors in both Sequential Logic Control and Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition (SCADA). Honeywell took first place in Continuous Sheet Monitoring & Control, and Schneider in Safety/Emergency Shutdown.

AVEVA’s presence in the listings resulted from Schneider Electric’s spin-off of its industrial software businesses into this separate, independent entity that's still majority owned by Schneider. GE notably slipped from these listings following the sale of its industrial automation business to Emerson and its disinvestment in Baker Hughes.

Best in control

Readers' Choice Awards by process automation discipline

Batch process automation Continuous regulatory control Continuous sheet/web monitoring & control Safety/emergency shutdown Sequential logic control Supervisory control & data acquisition

1. Emerson

2. Rockwell Automation

3. Siemens

4. Honeywell

5. ABB

6. Yokogawa

7. Schneider

1. Emerson

2. Honeywell

3. Rockwell Automation

4. ABB

5. Yokogawa

6. Schneider

7. Siemens

1. Honeywell

2. Emerson

3. Rockwell Automation

4. ABB

5. Siemens

6. Yokogawa

7. Schneider

1. Schneider

2. Emerson

3. Rockwell Automation

4. Yokogawa

5. Siemens

6. Honeywell

7. ABB

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Siemens

3. Schneider

4. Emerson

5. Honeywell

6. Yokogawa

7. ABB

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Emerson

3. Honeywell

4. AVEVA

5. Schneider

6. Siemens

7. ABB

Applications expertise

Closely aligned with the process automation discipline awards are those in the category of Application Software. Here, again, a significant amount of market presence and customer preference is focused among the global discipline leaders. (See the listing of "Application Software" winners.)

Technology specialists that made these ranks included Beamex and Fluke in Calibration Management, Autodesk in Design/Documentation, and Mitsubishi in PLC Programming. AspenTech and AVEVA made the grade in Simulation & Modeling, each now representing a software-focused entity that is majority owned by a systems player—Emerson and Schneider Electric, respectively. In the category of OPC Connectivity, PTC edged out Honeywell-owned Matrikon OPC on the strength of its Kepware acquisition.

Application software
Advanced process control Loop tuning Alarm management OPC connectivity Asset performance management PLC programming

1. Emerson

2. Rockwell Automation

3. Honeywell

4. Yokogawa

5. ABB

1. Emerson

2. Rockwell Automation

3. Yokogawa

4. Siemens

5. Honeywell

1. Emerson

2. Honeywell

3. Yokogawa

4. Rockwell Automation

5. ABB

1. PTC

2. Matrikon OPC

3. Rockwell Automation

4. Emerson

5. Siemens

1. Emerson

2. Rockwell Automation

3. Yokogawa

4. Honeywell

5. ABB

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Siemens

3. Schneider

4. Emerson

5. Mitsubishi

Calibration management SCADA Design/documentation Simulation & modeling Human-machine interface  

1. Emerson

2. Beamex

3. Fluke

4. Honeywell

5. Yokogawa

1. Rockwell Automation

2. AVEVA

3. Emerson

4. Siemens

5. ABB

1. Autodesk

2. Rockwell Automation

3. Emerson

4. Honeywell

5. Schneider

1. Emerson

2. AspenTech

3. AVEVA

4. Rockwell Automation

5. Honeywell

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Siemens

3. Emerson

4. Honeywell

5. Schneider

 
Visualization/control hardware
Annunciator Panel Display

1. Ametek

2. Rockwell Automation

3. ABB

4. Federal Signal

5. Ronan Engineering

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Siemens

3. Precision Digital

4. Hope Industrial Systems

5. Emerson

Industrial computer Process loop controller

1. Siemens

2. Rockwell Automation

3. Dell

4. Advantech

5. Emerson

1. Yokogawa

2. Siemens

3. Emerson

4. ABB

5. Honeywell

Operator interface terminal Recorder

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Schneider

3. Siemens

4. Omega Engineering

5. AutomationDirect

1. Yokogawa

2. ABB

3. Siemens

4. Honeywell

5. Emerson 

Visualization hardware

A further step adjacent to the core process automation disciplines are the hardware devices that provide a local platform for control, compute and visualization—notably annunciators, panel displays, loop controllers, recorders and industrialized PCs. (See listing of “Visualization/Control Hardware” winners.)

As with application software, the global process automation majors earn their share of allegiance in this arena. Notable exceptions include Ametek, whose Panalarm annunciators have long set the standard in the category. Federal Signal and Ronan Engineering also made the list in the Annunciator category.

Siemens earned top honors for its Industrial PCs, and was joined by Dell and Advantech in the top five. In the category of Operator Interface Terminal, Rockwell Automation took top honors with Omega Engineering and AutomationDirect also making the short list. Meanwhile, Precision Digital and Hope Industrial Systems made the Panel Display rankings and Yokogawa received top honors for its Process Loop Controllers and Recorders.

Flow instrumentation
Coriolis mass Turbine Magnetic Ultrasonic (closed pipe) Open channel

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Krohne

4. Yokogawa

5. ABB

1. Emerson

2. Badger Meter

3. TechnipFMC

4. Hoffer Flow Controls

5. AW-Lake

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Krohne

4. ABB

5. Yokogawa

1. Emerson

2. Krohne

3. Endress+Hauser

4. Baker Hughes

5. Siemens

1. Endress+Hauser

2. Emerson

3. Siemens

4. Krohne

5. Yokogawa

Variable area (rotameter) Positive displacement

Vortex

Thermal mass Flow switch

1. Krohne

2. Brookes Instrument

3. Yokogawa

4. Dwyer Instruments

5. Siemens

1. Badger Meter

2. TechnnipFMC

3. Omega Engineering

4. Oval

5. Bopp & Ruether

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Yokogawa

4. Krohne

5. Siemens

1. FCI

2. Endress+Hauser

3. ABB

4. Sierra Instruments

5. Kurz Instruments

1. Endress+Hauser

2. FCI

3. Ametek

4. Keyence

5. Dwyer Instruments

Process measurements

Process analyzers, together with devices for measuring the primary process variables of flow, level, pressure and temperate are the workhorse instruments of the process industries. Indeed, the accompanying four listings include nearly 40 different technologies for sussing out these important variables in a broad variety of challenging conditions. (See listings of “Flow Instrumentation,” “Level Instrumentation,” “Pressure & Temperature Instrumentation” and “Process Analyzer” winners.)

The leaders here include instrumentation heavyweights Emerson and Endress+Hauser, which win or rank highly in the most categories. But ABB, Krohne, Schneider, Siemens and Yokogawa also show a following in multiple instrumentation categories. Again, a range of specialists have managed to hold out against the majors in this realm, including Badger Meter for its Positive Displacement flowmeters and Fluid Components International (FCI) for its Thermal Mass flowmeters and Flow Switches.

Level instrumentation
Admittance/conductance (continuous) Ultrasonic  Float/displacer Level switch, electrical property-based

Guided-wave radar

1. Endress+Hauser

2. Ametek

3. VEGA Americas

4. Clark-Reliance

5. Yokogawa

1. Endress+Hauser

2. Siemens

3. VEGA Americas

4. Krohne

5. Ametek 

1. Emerson

2. Ametek

3. Omega Engineering

4. Schneider Electric

5. SOR 

1. Ametek

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Emerson

4. VEGA Americas

5. Krohne 

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. VEGA Americas

4. Krohne

5. Ametek 

Level switch, mechanical Radar, non-contact Level switch, ultrasonic  Tank gauge, inventory-grade Level switch, vibratory

1. Ametek

2. Emerson

3. ABB

4. Endress+Hauser

5. Omega Engineering 

1. Emerson

2. Krohne

3. VEGA Americas

4. Endress+Hauser

5. Ametek

1. Endress+Hauser

2. ABB

3. VEGA Americas

4. Siemens

5. Keyence 

1. Emerson

2. Honeywell Enraf

3. Endress+Hauser

4. VEGA Americas

5. Varec

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. VEGA Americas

4. Krohne

5. Siemens

Magnetostrictive Magnetic level indicator Radiometric Laser  

1. ABB

2. Emerson

3. Ametek

4. Endress+Hauser

5. WIKA 

1. Ametek

2. Emerson

3. ABB

4. Krohne

5. Bliss Anand

1. VEGA Americas

2. Thermo Fisher Scientific

3. Endress+Hauser

4. Berthold

5. Tracerco 

1. ABB

2. Keyence

3. Banner Engineering 

 

In the level realm, ABB carries the day in Magnetostrictive and Laser technology while VEGA Americas is top of the charts when it comes to Radiometric (nuclear) gauges.

Meanwhile, Ametek gained the top spot in both Mechanical and Electrical Level Switches, as well as Magnetic Level Indicators on the strength of its recent acquisition of Magnetrol and its sister brand Orion Instruments.

Pressure & temperature instrumentation
Pressure transmitter Temperature transmitter Pressure switch Temperature switch

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Honeywell

4. Yokogawa

5. Siemens

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Honeywell

4. Yokogawa

5. ABB

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. WIKA

4. SOR

5. United Electric Controls

1. Emerson

2. WIKA

3. Endress+Hauser

4. ABB

5. Honeywell

Resistance temperature detector Infrared temperature sensor Thermocouple Infrared imaging/thermography

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. ABB

4. WIKA

5. JMS Southeast

1. Fluke

2. Omega Engineering

3. FLIR Systems

4. Calex Electronics

5. Turck

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. ABB

4. WIKA

5. Honeywell

1. Fluke

2. FLIR Systems

In the realms of pressure and temperature sensing, Emerson carries the day in most categories, with Endress+Hauser often playing second fiddle. In infrared technologies, however, Fluke reigns supreme.

And in the category of analytical instrumentation (see “Process Analyzers” listing), Emerson again takes top honors across the board, with notable second place showings by MSA in Ambient Gas Detection, Vaisala in Humidity/Moisture and Thermo Fisher Scientific in Process Spectrometers. Other high-ranking suppliers include ABB, which ranked in six of seven analyzer technologies and Yokogawa (five of seven).

Process analyzers
Ambient gas detector Density/concentration Humidity/moisture pH/ORP/conductivity

1. Emerson

2. MSA

3. ABB

4. Thermo Fisher Scientific

5. Draeger

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Krohne

4. Yokogawa

5. ABB

1. Emerson

2. Vaisala

3. Baker Hughes

4. Endress+Hauser

5. Ametek

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Yokogawa

4. ABB

5. Mettler Toledo

Process chromatograph Process spectrometer Stack gas/emissions  

1. Emerson

2. Siemens

3. ABB

4. Yokogawa

5. Thermo Fisher Scientific

1. Emerson

2. Thermo Fisher Scientific

3. ABB

4. Siemens

5. Yokogawa

1. Emerson

2. ABB

3. Siemens

4. Yokogawa

5. Ametek

 

Final control
Control valve Valve, on/off

1. Emerson

2. Baker Hughes

3. Flowserve

4. Samson Controls

5. Neles

1. Emerson

2. Flowserve

3. Neles

4. Bray International

5. Schlumberger

Control valve actuator, pneumatic Electric motor

1. Emerson

2. Baker Hughes

3. Flowserve

4. Samson Controls

5. Rotork

1. ABB

2. Siemens

3. WEG Electric

4. GE Industrial Motors

5. U.S. Motors

Control valve actuator, electric Electric motor drive

1. Rotork

2. Emerson

3. Auma

4. Flowserve

1. Rockwell Automation

2. ABB

3. Siemens

4. Schneider

5. Yaskawa

Final control elements

When it comes to final control elements, Emerson takes top honors when it comes to control valves, on/off valves and pneumatic actuators. Other high-ranking valve-makers include Baker Hughes (Masoneilan), Flowserve, Samson Control and Neles. Valve Actuator specialists Rotork and Auma also made the grade, with Rotork taking top spot in the Electric Valve Actuator category. (See listing of “Final Control” winners.)

In addition to control valves, electric motors and drives increasingly act together as final control elements across the process industries. Here, ABB retained top honors for its Electric Motor technology, while Rockwell Automation ranked highest in the category of Electric Motor Drive. Other top ranking motor and drive providers include Siemens, WEG, Schneider, GE Industrial Motors, U.S. Motors and Yaskawa.

Infrastructure and essentials

Our final two groups of Readers’ Choice Award winners include foundational contributors to the wired and wireless automation infrastructure, as well as role players that serve important process automation functions, but frankly just didn’t fit cleanly within any of the other award groupings. (See “Automation Infrastructure” and “Elsewhere in the Field” listings.)

Automation infrastructure
Input/output system Terminal block Intrinsic safety

Wire & cable

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Emerson

3. Schneider

4. Siemens

5. Honeywell

1. Phoenix Contact

2. Weidmuller

3. Rockwell Automation

4. Wago

5. Siemens

1. Pepperl+Fuchs

2. Eaton MTL

3. Rockwell Automation

4. ABB

5. Emerson

1. Belden

2. Lapp

3. Southwire

4. Leoni Kerpen

5. Nexans

Power supply Wireless infrastructure Signal conditioner  

1. Phoenix Contact

2. Rockwell Automation

3. Emerson

4. ABB

5. Acopian

1. Emerson

2. Cisco

3. Honeywell

4. GE

5. okogawa

1. Phoenix Contact

2. Pepperl+Fuchs

3. Moore Industries

4. Eaton MTL

5. PR Electronics

 

Input/output (I/O) modules, along with terminal blocks, signal conditioners, intrinsic safety barriers and power supplies, work seamlessly together to reliably gather, digitize and distribute the many electronic signals required to run a modern process facility. In this arena, Rockwell Automation was ranked highest for its I/O Module offering, while Pepperl+Fuchs received top votes for its Intrinsic Safety capabilities. Meanwhile, triple threat Phoenix Contact placed first in the Terminal Block, Signal Conditioner and Power Supply rankings. Belden placed first when it came to Wire & Cable, and Emerson led the field in Wireless Infrastructure.

Winners in our last grouping of other essential product technologies (see “Elsewhere in the Field” listings), are primarily specialists in their respective domains. Two notable exceptions are Rockwell Automation in the category of Data Acquisition Systems, and ABB that gets the nod for its Remote Terminal Units. Leadership in Instrument Fittings went to Swagelok, Portable Calibrators to Fluke, Weighing Systems/Load Cells to Mettler Toledo and Vibration Instrumentation to Baker Hughes (Bentley Nevada). In the arena of field enclosures, nVent (Hoffman) edged out Rittal, and Pepperl+Fuchs carried the day in enclosure Purge System.

Elsewhere in the field
Data acquisition system Vibration instrumentation Enclosure Weighing system/load cell

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Emerson

3. Yokogawa

4. Siemens

5. Honeywell

1. Baker Hughes

2. Emerson

3. Metrix

4. Rockwell Automation

5. SKF

1. nVent

2. Rittal

3. Hammond Manufacturing

4. Saginaw Control & Engineering

5. ABB

1. Mettler Toledo

2. Rice Lake

3. Avery Weigh-Tronix

4. Hardy Instruments

5. Siemens

Portable calibrator Instrument fittings Remote terminal unit Purge system

1. Fluke

2. Emerson

3. Beamex

4. Siemens

5. Honeywell

1. Swagelok

2. Parker Hannifin

3. Emerson

4. Hoke

5. Hy-Lok

1. ABB

2. Rockwell Automation

3. Emerson

4. Honeywell

5. Siemens

1. Pepperl+Fuchs

2. nVent

Sponsored Recommendations

Measurement instrumentation for improving hydrogen storage and transport

Hydrogen provides a decarbonization opportunity. Learn more about maximizing the potential of hydrogen.

Get Hands-On Training in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment

Enhance the training experience and increase retention by training hands-on in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment. Build skills here so you have them where and when it matters...

Learn About: Micro Motion™ 4700 Config I/O Coriolis Transmitter

An Advanced Transmitter that Expands Connectivity

Learn about: Micro Motion G-Series Coriolis Flow and Density Meters

The Micro Motion G-Series is designed to help you access the benefits of Coriolis technology even when available space is limited.