Automation & IT

Readers' Choice Awards: The Best Get Hand Picked

Respondents select technology leaders in more than 40 categories.

By Amanda Joshi, Managing Editor

Chemical Processing's 2011 Readers' Choice Awards survey, now in its eight year, continues to generate strong response from readers. But for many of the 1,000 respondents, picking a favorite technology provider in 47 different categories isn't always easy.

"In all categories I found more than one excellent supplier, so I just apply for those who I know better or I recommend for a specific job," explains one participant.

As in past surveys, some vendors remain strong favorites in certain categories, while in others several suppliers garner substantial votes. The winners in some categories differ from last year. This may reflect increased awareness of a particular vendor's offerings or improved products.

For instance, one reader noted a category that has enhanced its offerings. "Process simulation software has greatly improved lately and is of a much more help now," he says.

The results also show there's still plenty of room for improvement. "I wish there were more automation vendors; every year we need more control of the system," notes one respondent.

Readers recognized that, in the past several years, many companies have merged or consolidated to help expand or improve their product offerings.

"With all the mergers and consolidations during the last 20 years, those companies that remain should be embraced, as they have been through a very rough economic time period," says one reader.

Past Contenders Remain Strong
Many technology leaders held their ground, maintaining their high rankings from previous years. Emerson Process Management, a strong favorite from year-to-year, took top honors in seven categories, and placed in six other categories.

"Of all the dealings I have had with Emerson, they always are willing to come by my office and work with me and my colleagues to find a solution. They also have such a wide variety of products that are time tested that we can always find what we're looking for," says one participant.

"Emerson is the best in my opinion because they have been more than willing to work with customers to resolve any issues even if it takes a couple of months to actually figure out the root cause of the problem," adds another reader.

Honeywell, another strong performer, received top honors in two categories and placed in four others.

Readers also gave accolades to AspenTech, Alfa Laval and GE (Bently Neveda) — each gained two first place finishes.

In addition, ABB, Rockwell Automation, Siemens, Flowserve and SPX all garnered multiple mentions in several categories.

A few contenders moved up the ranks in their categories to earn top honors this year from readers. These include, Cleaver Brooks, Flexicon, MAC Equipment and Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI).

Further details about the winning companies in each category are included on the following pages. For additional information about any of the vendors or products listed, we encourage you to visit and search for bearings, pumps or any other category that interests you. Results from previous Readers' Choice Awards also are available online:

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Crunching the Numbers
Readers received e-mail notices, electronic newsletters, used a link posted on or responded to Twitter and Facebook postings to complete the questionnaire. A total of exactly 1,000 readers cast their votes about which vendors they consider technology leaders in 47 different categories. Categories were listed, but respondents had to enter the name of the technology provider in a blank text box. By not providing a pre-selected list of companies in each category, the survey avoided bias.

The rankings show the percentage of total responses in each category that a particular company received. We only list firms that acquire at least 5% of the votes in a category. Scores within 3% of each other should be considered a statistical tie.

Congratulations to…
Randy Rutledge is the recipient of the 8GB iPod Touch, which was offered as an incentive to participate in the Readers' Choice Awards survey. His name was randomly selected by computer from all of the respondents.

Categories and Percentage of Votes

Alarm Management Software 
Honeywell (Matrikon) 26%
Emerson 16%
PAS 10%
Yokogawa  7 %
SKF 51%
Timken 11%

Boilers/Steam Systems  
Cleaver Brooks 14%
Babcock & Wilcox 11%
Thermax 8%
Spirax Sarco 5% 
BASF (Engelhard) 13%
Johnson Matthey 12%
Honeywell (UOP) 11%
Haldor Topsoe 6%
Criterion 5% 
Centrifugal Pumps  
ITT (Goulds) 31%
Flowserve 12%
Sulzer 7%
KSB 5%
Alfa Laval 21%
GEA Westfalia 12%
Andritz Bird 7%
Beckman 5%
Ingersol Rand 32%
Atlas Copco 18%

Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS)  
SAP 25%
Maximo 19%
Condition Monitoring  
GE (Bently Nevada) 27%
Emerson Process Management 16%
Rockwell Automation 8%
Conveying (Mechanical)  
Flexicon 9%
Hapman 8%
Conveying (Pneumatic)  
MAC Equipment 11%
Dynamic Air 8%
Vac-U-Max 8% 

Cooling Towers   
SPX (Marley) 36%
Paharpur 11%
Baltimore Aircoil 10%
Distillation Equipment  
Koch-Glitsch 28%
Sulzer 24%

GEA Niro 12%
Dust-Control Systems  
Donaldson Torit 22%
Explosion Protection Systems  
Fike 26%
Fenwall 15%

Fans & Blowers  
New York Blower 15%
Howden Buffalo 10%
Dresser Roots 8% 
Chicago Blower 6%

K-Tron 28%
Schenck Accurate 16%
Acrison 9%
Siemens 5%
Filtration Systems  
Pall 14%
Millipore 7%
Siemens 6%
Flow Instrumentation  
Emerson Process Management 51%
Endress + Hauser 11%
Heat Exchangers  
Alfa Laval 24%
Heat Transfer Fluids  
Dow 44%
Solutia 18%

Infrared Thermography Equipment  
FLIR (Extech) 41%
Fluke 36%

Instrument Calibration Systems  
Fluke 25%
Emerson Process Management 15%
Level Instrumentation  
Emerson Process Management 41%
Endress + Hauser 13%
Magnetrol 5%
ExxonMobil 28%
Shell 18%
Royal Purple 7%
Lubrizol 5%

Mixing Systems  
SPX 30%
Chemineer 12%
ABB (Baldor Reliance) 50%
Siemens 11%
GE 7%
Emerson 7%

Packings and Gaskets   
Garlock 15%
John Crane 11%
Flexitallic 10%
Swagelok 31%
Parker Hannifin 10%

Plant Design Software  
AspenTech 24%
Autodesk 15%
Intergraph 14%
Honeywell 8%

Positive Displacement Pumps  
IDEX (Viking) 18%
SPX  8%
Moyno 5%
Pressure Instrumentation   
Emerson Process Management 50%
Yokogawa 7%
Endress + Hauser 7%
Process Analyzers   
Emerson Process Management 30%
Siemens 12%
ABB 9%
Yokogawa 6%

Process Automation Systems   
Emerson Process Management 31%
Honeywell 13%
Rockwell Automation  12%
Yokogawa 11%
Siemens 10%
ABB 7%
Process Simulation Software   
AspenTech 32%
Honeywell 20%
Chemstations 7%
Emerson Process Management 5%
Seals (Mechanical)   
John Crane 42%
Flowserve 17%
Eagle Burgmann 9%
Chesterton 8%

Security Equipment and Services   
Honeywell 12%
ADT 10%
Spray Nozzles   
Spraying Systems 37%
Bete 14%
Lechler 6%
Betz 5% 
Tanks & Vessels   
CBI 7%
Pfaudler 6%
Temperature Instrumentation   
Emerson Process Management 41%
Omega 6%
Endress + Hauser 5%

Vacuum Systems   
Gardner Denver Nash 14%
Busch 14%
Sihi 12%
Graham 10%
Valves & Actuators   
Emerson Process Management 32%
Flowserve 8%
Metso (Neles-Jamesbury) 6%

Variable Speed Drives   
Rockwell Automation 25%
ABB 21%
Siemens 17%
Toshiba 5%
Yaskawa 5%
Vibration Monitoring Equipment   
GE (Bently Nevada) 53%
Emerson Process Management 8%
Rockwell Automation 6%

Water Treatment Systems   
Nalco 23%
GE (Betz) 15%
Siemens (U.S. Filter) 12%
Weighing Systems   
Mettler Toledo 56%
Rice Lake 5%