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Readers’ Choice Awards 2005

Aug. 11, 2005
Want to know which suppliers of products and services your peers think are the best? Readers pick the top technology providers in more than forty categories of products and services employed at chemical plants.
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Selecting the right suppliers for equipment or services can be tough but also crucial. Plant performance and even competitiveness can depend upon making the soundest choices. A company’s approved vendors list, however, only really provides a perspective of which suppliers have performed acceptably in the past, not which have the best technology.

It makes sense to identify which firms are technology leaders early in the purchasing process. After all, you want to ensure that you ask for quotes from these vendors; perhaps you will need time to convince corporate to allow a company to bid if it is not on the approved vendors list. Knowing which suppliers are top technically also may help you decide among competing bids. (Comparing such proposals fairly can pose substantial challenges, as last month’s article “Which is the best hardware quote,” p. 23, showed specifically for distillation column internals.)

But how can you pinpoint the suppliers with the best technology? If you are lucky, you can locate people with extensive experience in particular areas who can give you guidance. Unfortunately, the availability of such specialists is dwindling as the ranks of skilled veterans thin. And, anyway, there probably are lots of areas for which you can’t easily find knowledgeable unbiased sources.

For insights on a broad range of technical topics, you can turn to the new “Ask the Experts” feature on our Web site. However, while these authorities will provide real-world guidance, they will not specify specific vendors.    

So, where can you turn? The Chemical Processing Readers’ Choice Awards.

Last year we inaugurated the awards to let readers share their perspectives about which vendors are technical leaders. This year’s survey provides updated results for a wide variety of products and services employed at chemical plants.  We hope that you will find them interesting and valuable. 

The mechanics
Readers were alerted via email and electronic newsletters and on our Web site about the on-line questionnaire. A total of 276 tackled the extensive survey form. This involved typing a single choice into a blank text box rather than picking from a pre-selected list of companies for each category. By not restricting the inputs, we eliminated a potential source of bias. However, this significantly added to our workload in compiling the results because many respondents entered the names of divisions, predecessor companies or specific products or used inaccurate, and sometimes quite creative, spellings for names. Suffice it to say that we paid considerable attention to properly matching these inputs with the appropriate company.

This time, the survey covered 46 categories, up a couple from last year. For the first time, we can present results on computerized maintenance management systems, laboratory and quality systems, lubricants, materials of construction, and pneumatic conveying systems. (We welcome your suggestions for additional categories for the next survey.)

Respondents generally offered opinions only on those categories about which they had the most familiarity. The number of responses for a category reasonably reflects how widespread the use of that type of technology is in the chemical industry. The categories garnering the most responses were flow instrumentation and centrifugal pumps, followed by valves, level instrumentation and pressure instrumentation.

The results
In five categories, only a single company received votes from more than 5% of the respondents, while in eight categories, at least five firms exceeded the 5% mark. In more than a quarter of the categories, one vendor alone garnered a third of more of all responses. In some categories, a dozen or more suppliers received at least one mention.

Kudos go particularly to Emerson Process Management which came in a strong first in seven categories. Aspen Technology got top marks in two categories, while Alfa Laval won one and tied for the top spot in another.

Following are the detailed results, showing companies that got 5% or more of the votes cast in a particular category We consider scores within 3% of each other to be statistical ties.

SKF 36%
Timken 15%

Boilers/Steam Systems
Cleaver-Brooks 21%
Babcock & Wilcox 14%

Englehard 18%
UOP 8%
Johnson-Matthey 6%
Süd Chemie 6%

Centrifugal Pumps
Goulds Pumps – ITT 39%
Flowserve 20%

CentrifugesAndritz Bird 15%Alfa Laval 14%Heinkel 7%Westfalia 6%Krauss-Maffei 5%

Ingersoll-Rand 30%
Atlas Copco 9%
Dresser-Rand 9%
Cooper Turbocompressor (Joy) 7%
Gardner Denver 6%
Kaeser 5%

Computerized Maintenance Management Software
SAP 18%
MRO 13%
Datastream 8%
Indus 5%

Distillation Systems
Koch-Glitsch 35%

Niro 10%
Wyssmont 10%
Carrier Vibrating Equipment 6%

Dust Control Systems
Donaldson Torit 17%
MikroPul 8%

DuPont (DuPont Dow) 50%

Engineering/Design Services
Fluor Daniel 10%
Jacobs 10%
CH2M Hill (Lockwood Greene) 7%
KBR 6%
Explosion Protection Systems
Fike 36%
Fenwal 7%
Protectoseal 5%

New York Blower 19%
Howden Buffalo 10%
Dresser Roots 7%
Chicago Blower 6%
Robinson 6%

K-Tron 23%

Filtration SystemsPall 15%USFilter - Siemens 7%Hayward 7%

Flow Instrumentation
Emerson Process Management 52%
Endress+Hauser 11%
Invensys (Foxboro) 10%

Heat Exchangers
Alfa Laval 13%
ITT Standard 7%
Southern 6%
Doyle & Roth 5%

Heat Transfer Fluids
Dow 53%
Solutia 17%
Paratherm 6%

Infrared Thermography Equipment
FLIR 13%
Land 5%
Mikron 5%

Instrument Calibration Systems
Fluke 16%
Emerson Process Management 7%
Honeywell 5%

Laboratory/Quality Systems
PerkinElmer 6%

Level Instrumentation 
Emerson Process Management 32%
Endress+Hauser 11%
Ohmart/VEGA 5%
Ametek (Drexelbrook) 5%
Siemens 5%

ExxonMobil 31%
Chevron (Texaco) 10%
Shell 8%
Royal Purple 7%

Materials of Construction
Haynes International 15%

Mixing Systems
— SPX Process Equipment 35%
Chemineer (Kenics) 12%
Charles Ross & Son 6%
Ekato 5%

Baldor 23%
Reliance 17%
GE 16%
Emerson (U.S. Electrical Motors) 9%
Siemens 9%

Swagelok 26%
Parker Hannifin 7%

Plant Design Software
Aspen Technology 19%
Autodesk 5%
Intergraph 5%

Pneumatic Conveying Systems
Dynamic Air 6%
Vac-U-Max 5%
Young Industries 5%

Positive Displacement Pumps
Viking 20%
Milton Roy 8%
Moyno 8%
Dover (Blackmer and Wilden) 6%
Waukesha Cherry-Burrell
— SPX Process Equipment 5%

Pressure Instrumentation
Emerson Process Management 46%
Ashcroft 5%
Invensys (Foxboro) 5%

Process Analyzers
Emerson Process Management 21%
Siemens (Applied Automation) 11%
ABB 7%

Process Automation Systems
Emerson Process Management 31%
Honeywell 16%
Rockwell (Allen-Bradley) 8%
Siemens 6%
Invensys (Foxboro) 5%

Process Simulation Software
Aspen Technology 32%
Invensys (SimSci-Esscor) 8%
Mynah Technologies 5%

Refrigeration/Chilling Equipment
Trane 19%
York 18%
Carrier 8%
FES Systems 5%

Screening Equipment
Sweco 24%
Kason 6%

John Crane 31%
Flowserve 19%
A. W. Chesterton 6%

Spray Nozzles
Spraying Systems 47%
Bete Fog Nozzle 11%

CB&I 9%
Paul Mueller 8%
Pfaudler 8%

Temperature Instrumentation
Emerson Process Management 43%
Omega 8%
Honeywell 8%
Invensys (Foxboro) 5%

Vacuum Systems
Nash_Elmo 18%
Graham 7%
Tuthill (Kinney) 6%
BOC Edwards 5%
Busch 5%

Emerson Process Management 27%
Flowserve 15%
Metso (Neles-Jamesbury) 6%

Vibration Monitoring Equipment
Bently Nevada 34%
Emerson Process Management 9%

Water Treatment Systems
Siemens (USFilter) 21%
GE 18%
Nalco 12%

Weighing Systems
Mettler Toledo 40%
Ohaus 5%
Rice Lake 5%

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