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2023 Readers' Choice Awards

Jan. 24, 2023
Process automation professionals vote for their favorite suppliers in more than 80 categories.

For more than three decades now, the Control Readers’ Choice Awards have identified our readers’ favorite suppliers across a range of instrumentation and control technologies—from annunciators and batch management to vibration sensors and weighing systems. Over the years, the awards have morphed a bit in line with the times. 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—most 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. 2022’s version was no exception, ranking as the year’s most visited story on ControlGlobal.com. Instrumentation and control professionals refer to the Readers’ Choice Awards because they represent the collective wisdom of you, our readers, who have taken the time to share your technology and application expertise.

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 figures above.)

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. ABB

5. Honeywell

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. Siemens

5. ABB

6. Yokogawa

7. Honeywell

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Siemens

3. Emerson

4. Schneider

5. Honeywell

6. Yokogawa

7. ABB

1. Emerson

2. Rockwell Automation

3. Honeywell

4. AVEVA

5. Schneider

6. Siemens

7. ABB

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 on the left.) Not unexpectedly, the readers’ vote is concentrated among the global leaders in process automation systems technology: ABB, Emerson, Honeywell, Rockwell Automation, Schneider, Siemens and Yokogawa.

Application software

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

1. Emerson

2. Honeywell

3. Rockwell Automation

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

3. Siemens

4. Emerson

5. Rockwell Automation

1. Emerson

2. Rockwell Automation

3. Yokogawa

4. ABB

5. Honeywell

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. Honeywell

4. Hexagon

5. Emerson

1. Emerson

2. Rockwell Automation

3. AspenTech

4. Honeywell

5. AVEVA

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Siemens

3. AVEVA

4. Emerson

5. Honeywell

 

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

AVEVA’s presence in the listings resulted from Schneider Electric’s spin-off of its industrial software businesses into this separate, independent entity that is still majority-owned by Schneider. GE is noticeably absent from our rankings the past few years following the sale of its industrial automation business to Emerson and disinvestment in Baker Hughes.

Applications expertise

Visualization/control hardware

Annunciator Panel Display

1. Ametek

2. Rockwell Automation

3. ABB

4. Ronan Engineering

5. Federal Signal

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Siemens

3. Precision Digital

4. Hope Industrial Systems

5. Red Lion

Industrial computer Process loop controller

1. Dell

2. Rockwell Automation

3. Advantech

4. Siemens

5. Emerson

1. Yokogawa

2. Siemens

3. ABB

4. Emerson

5. Honeywell

Operator interface terminal Recorder

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Siemens

3. Schneider

4. Omega Engineering

5. AutomationDirect

1. Yokogawa

2. ABB

3. Honeywell

4. Siemens

5. Eurote 

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 listing of “Application Software” winners on the left.)

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 Modeling & Simulation, each now representing a software-focused entity that's majority owned by a systems player—Emerson and Schneider, respectively. In the category of OPC Connectivity, PTC edged out Honeywell-owned Matrikon on the strength of its Kepware acquisition.

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 industrial PCs. (See listing of “Visualization & Control Hardware” winners on the left.)

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. TechnipFMC

3. Badger Meter

4. AW Lake

5. Hoffer Flow Controls

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Krohne

4. ABB

5. Yokogawa

1. Krohne

2. Emerson

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. Endress+Hauser

3. TechnipFMC

4. Krohne

5. ABB

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. FCI

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Ametek

4. Keyence

5. Dwyer Instruments

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.

And in a manifestation of IT/OT convergence, Dell topped our Industrial PC rankings for the first time. In the category of Operator Interface Terminal, Rockwell Automation took top honors, while Yokogawa receives top honors for both its Process Loop Controllers and Recorders. Meanwhile, Advantech, Hope Industrial Systems and Precision Digital earn mentions in the visualization grouping.

Level instrumentation

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

Guided-wave radar

1. Endress+Hauser

2. Ametek

3. VEGA Americas


1. Endress+Hauser

2. Krohne

3. Siemens

4. VEGA

5. Ametek 

1. Emerson

2. Ametek

3. Omega Engineering

4. Baker Hughes

5. WIKA

1. Ametek

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Emerson

4. Krohne

5. Siemens 

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Krohne

4. VEGA

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. Endress+Hauser

3. VEGA

4. Krohne

5. Ametek

1. Endress+Hauser

2. Emerson

3. Ametek

4. ABB

5. VEGA 

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Honeywell Enraf

4. Siemens

5. VEGA

1. Endress+Hauser

2. Emerson

3. Krohne

4. VEGA

5. Ametek

Magnetostrictive Magnetic level indicator Radiometric Laser  

1. ABB

2. Emerson

3. Ametek

4. Endress+Hauser

5. WIKA 

1. ABB

2. Emerson

3. Ametek

4. Krohne

5. WIKA

1. VEGA

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Berthold

4. Tracerco 

1. ABB

2. Keyence

3. Banner Engineering 

 

Pressure & temperature instrumentation

Pressure transmitter Temperature transmitter Pressure switch Temperature switch

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Yokogawa

4. Honeywell

5. Siemens

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Honeywell

4. Yokogawa

5. ABB

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. WIKA

4. United Electric Controls

5. Honeywell

1. Emerson

2. WIKA

3. Endress+Hauser

4. ITT Neo-Dyn

5. ABB

Resistance temperature detector Infrared temperature sensor Thermocouple Infrared imaging/thermography

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Omega Engineering

4. JMS Southeast

5. ABB

1. Fluke

2. Omega Engineering

3. Teledyne FLIR

4. Ametek Land

5. Williamson

1. Emerson

2. Omega Engineering

3. Endress+Hauser

4. ABB

5. JMS Southeast

1. Fluke

2. Teledyne FLIR 

Process measurements

Process analyzers, together with devices for measuring the primary process variables of flow, level, pressure and temperature are the workhorse instruments of the process industries. Indeed, the accompanying four award groupings 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 on the previous and following pages.)

Process analyzers

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

1. Emerson

2. MSA

3. Draeger

4. ABB

5. Thermo Fisher 

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. Yokogawa

4. ABB

5. Krohne

1. Emerson

2. Vaisala

3. Baker Hughes

4. Endress+Hauser

5. ABB

1. Emerson

2. Endress+Hauser

3. ABB

4. Yokogawa

5. Mettler Toledo

Process chromatograph Process spectrometer Stack gas/emissions  

1. Emerson

2. ABB

3. Siemens

4. Yokogawa

5. Thermo Fisher 

1. ABB

2. Thermo Fisher

3. Emerson

4. Siemens

5. Yokogawa

1. Emerson

2. ABB

3. Siemens

4. Ametek

5. Yokogawa

 

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.

Final control

Control valve Valve, on/off

1. Emerson

2. Baker Hughes

3. Flowserve

4. Samson 

5. Neles

1. Emerson

2. Flowserve

3. Neles

4. Bray 

5. Crane

Control valve actuator, pneumatic Electric motor

1. Emerson

2. Baker Hughes

3. Flowserve

4. Samson 

5. Rotork

1. ABB

2. Siemens

3. Wolong

4. WEG

5. Nidec

Control valve actuator, electric Electric motor drive

1. Emerson

2. Rotork

3. Flowserve

4. Auma

5. Samson

1. Rockwell Automation

2. ABB

3. Siemens

4. Yaskawa

5. Schneider

In the level realm, ABB carries the day in Magnetostrictive and Laser technologies as well as Magnetic Level Indicators, while VEGA is top of the charts when it comes to Radiometric (nuclear) gauges. Ametek is tops in Level Switch technologies based on electrical and mechanical principles. Finally, in the realms of pressure and temperature sensing, Emerson ranks highest 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 on page 42), Emerson again takes top honors in all but one category, with ABB taking the top spot in Process Spectrometers. Notable second places include MSA in Ambient Gas Detection, Vaisala in Humidity/Moisture and Thermo Fisher in Process Spectrometers. ABB ranks in six of seven analyzer technologies and Yokogawa in five of seven.

Final control elements

When it comes to final control elements, Emerson takes top honors in control valves, on/off valves plus pneumatic and electric actuators. Other high-ranking valve-makers include Baker Hughes (Masoneilan), Flowserve, Samson Control and Neles.

In addition to control valves, electric motors and drives increasingly act together as final control elements across the process industries. Here, ABB retains top honors for its Electric Motor technology, while Rockwell Automation ranked highest in the category of Electric Motor Drive.

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 don’t fit cleanly in 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. Siemens

4. Schneider

5. ABB

1. Phoenix Contact

2. Weidmuller

3. Rockwell Automation

4. Wago

5. Pepperl+Fuchs

1. Pepperl+Fuchs

2. Eaton MTL

3. Rockwell Automation

4. Phoenix Contact

5. ABB

1. Belden

2. Prysmian Group

3. Southwire

4. Leoni Kerpen

5. Lapp

Power supply Wireless infrastructure Signal conditioner  

1. Phoenix Contact

2. Emerson

3. Rockwell Automation

4. PULS

5. Acopian

1. Emerson

2. Cisco

3. Honeywell

4. Moxa

5. Phoenix Contact

1. Phoenix Contact

2. Pepperl+Fuchs

3. Moore Industries

4. Weidemuller

5. Acromag

 

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 ranks highest for its I/O Module offering, while Pepperl+Fuchs receives top votes for its Intrinsic Safety capabilities. Meanwhile, triple threat Phoenix Contact places first in the Terminal Block, Signal Conditioner and Power Supply rankings. Belden is our readers' favorite when it came to Wire & Cable, as is Emerson when it comes to 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. One notable exception is Rockwell Automation, which carries the day in both Data Acquisition Systems and Remote Terminal Units. Leadership in Instrument Fittings goes 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 Rittal, and Pepperl+Fuchs tops the charts in enclosure Purge Systems.  

Elsewhere in the field

Data acquisition system Vibration instrumentation Enclosure Weighing system/load cell

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Yokogawa 

3. Emerson

4. Honeywell

5. Schneider

1. Baker Hughes

2. Emerson

3. Metrix

4. Rockwell Automation

5. SKF

1. nVent

2. Rittal

3. Saginaw Control & Engineering

4. Hammond Monduacturing

5. ABB

1. Mettler Toledo

2. Rice Lake

3. Hardy Instruments

4. Siemens

5. Avery Weigh Tronix

Portable calibrator Instrument fittings Remote terminal unit Purge system

1. Fluke

2. Emerson

3. Beamex

4. PIE

5. Honeywell

1. Swagelok

2. Parker Hannifin

3. Hy-Lock

4. Emerson

5. Hoke

1. Rockwell Automation

2. Emerson

3. ABB

4. Honeywell

5. Siemens

1. Pepperl+Fuchs

2. Rockwell Automation

3. nVent Hoffman

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