Each year, CONTROL magazine has been publishing a list of
the top industrial automation companies. In past years the rankings have been
skewed with inadequate definitions and faulty information. This year it's good
to note that the list has been cleaned up with the help of ARC, the leading
automation research company.
Many people think of "industrial automation" as a market. In
reality, it's a fragmented collection of markets (plural) loosely linked under
the "industrial" category. Control magazine's lengthy selection criteria
illustrates the complexity and fragmentation - the list of what has been
included and omitted is itself quite lengthy and complex. Marketing
professionals would do well to review not just the list, but the criteria.
CONTROL has ranked the list based on N. American revenue.
Emerson and Rockwell are at the top, though clearly their world rank is behind
Siemens and ABB, ranked #5 and # 3 respectively for N. America. Honeywell ranks
#4 in N. America, but is behind Schneider worldwide. Invensys is at #6 for N.
America, and #7 worldwide. GE is #8, both for N. America and worldwide.
The Japanese are way down the list for N. America - Yokogawa
at #20 and Omron #18. Worldwide, Omron is ahead of Invensys, and Yokogawa just
behind. One wonders how Yokogawa's #8 world ranking will affect their commitment
to be the process control leader by 2010; perhaps they'll simply shift the
definitions to accommodate the result.
Some surprises as you go down the list. Phoenix Contact has
pulled way ahead of Weidmuller; they were close a decade ago. National
Instruments in #16; OSIsoft # 27; MTL # 29; Matrikon #43; OPTO-22 got an
honorable mention at #57 (off the top-50 list).
CONTROL admits that they have found it "nearly impossible"
to achieve a hard number for "process automation" only, so they're reporting all
automation, and they're showing numbers where they have a good idea of the ratio
between "process" and "discrete". The numbers are still skewed, apparently not
including "instrumentation" in the mix. The data is for 2005, as 2006 numbers
are not yet available for many companies.
With the uncertain definitions, this review exercise is only
a litmus test of leadership. This is the ONLY published ranking, and clearly
everyone will be studying the list. Schneider, the aggressive French giant, will
simply accelerate its worldwide acquisition program as it climbs towards coveted