Monday, November 29, 2021
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Top-50 Automation Companies

by Jim Pinto

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 world leadership.

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