Which suppliers deliver the best value? Read here to see who made the list

The votes are in and our readers have named the suppliers who deliver the best value. Read here to see who made the list.

By Paul Studebaker, Editor in Chief

What does it mean when you cast a ballot? Some simply consider it their duty to weigh in, others do it

And your winners are...

BUILDINGS & GROUNDS

Floor toppings, surfacings, coatings
Stonhard
Tufco

Paints and industrial coatings (except flooring)
ICI/Devoe/Glidden/Dulux
Rustoleum
Sherwin Williams

Roofing materials and systems
Tremco

Sealants
3M
Dow Corning
Loctite

Security
ADT

COMPRESSORS

Compressors
Atlas-Copco
Cooper
Gardner Denver
Ingersoll-Rand
Kaeser
Quincy
Sullair

ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS

Electric motor drives, variable speed
ABB
AC Tech
Baldor
General Electric 
Rockwell/Reliance/Allen-Bradley
Siemens
Square D
Toshiba 
Yaskawa

Electric motors
Baldor
General Electric 
Reliance/Allen-Bradley
Siemens
Toshiba 
U.S. Motors

Electrical circuit breakers
Allen-Bradley
Eaton/Cutler-Hammer
General Electric
Siemens
Square D

Electrical contactors
Cutler-Hammer
General Electric
Rockwell/Allen-Bradley
Siemens
Square D

Electrical fuses
Cooper Bussmann
Ferraz Shawmut
Littelfuse

Engine/generator sets
Caterpillar
Cummins/Onan
Honda

Lighting
 Cooper
 General Electric
 Holophane
 Lithonia
 Philips
Sylvania

Power monitoring hardware/software
Rockwell/Allen-Bradley
Square D

Uninterruptible power supplies
American Power Conversion
Best
Liebert

FLUID HANDLING

Chemical feeder equipment
Acrison
K-tron
Pulsa-feeder

Fan/blower equipment
Chicago Blower
Dayton
Gardner Denver
New York Blower

Flowmeters
Emerson Process Management (Micro Motion)
Emerson Process Management (Rosemount)

Pumps
Flowserve
Goulds
Waukesha

Seals, mechanical
Chesterton
Flowserve
John Crane
SKF (formerly Chicago Rawhide)

Valves and actuators
Apollo
Emerson Process Management /Fisher 19%
Flowserve-Valtek
Honeywell
Neles-Jamesbury
Parker

HEATING & COOLING

Boiler equipment
Babcock & Wilcox
Cleaver-Brooks

Chiller equipment
Carrier
Trane
York

Heat transfer fluids
Chevron Texaco
Dow
ExxonMobil
Paratherm

Refrigeration equipment
Carrier
Trane
York/Frick

Steam traps
Armstrong
Spirax Sarco

MATERIAL HANDLING

Conveyor belting
Gates
Goodyear
Intralox

Cranes and hoists
Columbus McKinnon
Demag
Milwaukee/Budgit
P&H
Yale
Dock equipment (excluding doors)
Kelley
Rite-Hite

Doors
Overhead Door

Lift trucks/equipment
Caterpillar
Clark
Crown
Hyster
Nissan
Raymond
Toyota
Yale

POWER TRANSMISSION

Bearings
Dodge
FAG
Motion Industries
SKF
Timken

Couplings, mechanical
Applied Industrial Technologies
Dodge
Falk
Lovejoy
Rexnord/Omega/Thomas

Cylinders, hydraulic and pneumatic
Bimba
Parker

Drive belts
Gates
Goodyear

Drive chains
Diamond
U.S. Tsubaki

Gearboxes
Applied Industrial Technologies
Boston Gear
Dodge/Reliance 
Falk

Gearmotors
Dodge/Reliance 
SEW Eurodrive

Hydraulic power equipment
Bosch Rexroth
Parker Hannifin
Vickers

Seals and isolators
SKF (formerly Chicago Rawhide)
Inpro

PREDICTIVE TECHNOLOGIES

Alignment instrumentation
Ludeca
OptAlign
Starrett
Vibralign

Balancing instrumentation
Emerson/CSI
IRD
Schenck-Trebel

Infrared imaging
flir
Fluke/Raytek/Infrared Solutions
Mikron

Infrared non-contact thermometry
flir
Fluke/Raytek/Infrared Solutions
Omega

Motor and circuit condition monitoring
Baker Instrument
PdMA
Rockwell/Allen-Bradley

Nondestructive test equipment
Krautkramer/GE
Panametrics
 
Oil and fluid analysis
Chevron Texaco
ExxonMobil
Predict DLI

Ultrasonic condition monitoring
UE Systems

Vibration analysis
Emerson Process Management (CSI)
GE/Bently Nevada
Ludeca
Rockwell/IRD/Entek

SERVICES

Distributor
All-Phase
Applied Industrial Technology
Grainger
Motion Industries
MSC

Equipment, rental and lease
Nations
Rental Services (RSC)
Sunbelt Rental
United Rental

SOFTWARE

EAM/CMMS software and systems
Datastream
MRO Software

TOOLS & SUPPLIES

Aerial work platforms
Genie
JLG

Communication equipment, person-to-person
Motorola

Hand-held multimeters/calibrators
Fluke
Grainger

Lubricants
ChevronTexaco
Exxon Mobil
Royal Purple
Shell

Personal protection equipment
Grainger
MSA
W.H. Salisbury

Tools, hand
Grainger
Klein
Proto
Sears/Craftsman
Snap-On
Stanley

Tools, power
DeWalt
Grianger
Makita
Milwaukee
Rigid
Sears/Craftsman

Welding equipment
Lincoln
Miller

so they can say they did, and a few just want to be heard regardless of whether or not they have anything to say. But the best voters are both well-informed and eager to use that knowledge to guide others, support good works and thereby influence the course of history.

Ensuring reliability and maintaining industrial facilities takes many talents. Along with a real grip on the technologies and eccentricities of your plant and equipment, you must have a good understanding of manufacturing principles, finances, people and more.

One of the most important tools in your belt is your hard-won knowledge of what works. Through real- world experience, you’ve found products and brands you can rely on to give the best combination of performance, durability, low maintenance and reasonable cost.

But no single plant professional is expert in every one of the myriad categories of equipment, software and services necessary to properly support today’s plant. Where do you turn when it’s time to identify a new source for one of the less familiar needs of your facility? Who do you want to consult -- your purchasing department? Your local reps? Magazine editors? The Web?

How about the technicians, supervisors, engineers and plant managers who read Plant Services? That’s who we polled to determine our 2006 Plant Services Readers’ Choice Awards (see sidebar, “The will of the people”).

The plant professionals who took the time and made the effort to complete our lengthy, fill-in-the-blank survey worked hard at it. For each of 60 categories, they decided whether or not they had the experience to name the supplier who, in their opinion, delivers the highest value as defined by the lowest estimated life-cycle cost. Then they decided who that supplier would be, typed in the name, and moved on.

What does it take to “offer the highest value?” No respondent was able to fill in all the blanks – most felt qualified to fill in less than half the categories. Clearly, naming the best supplier isn’t a casual decision.

Today’s industrial facilities increasingly rely on vendors to not only deliver high-performance, rugged, durable equipment and expert services at rock-bottom prices, but to back those products and services with competent, immediate, 24/7 support. Only the strongest suppliers can generate the loyalty that leads to place in our Readers’ Choice Awards.

Determined solely by readers’ responses, the awards you’ll find on the following pages name the vendors that provide the highest value in categories from alignment instrumentation to vibration analysis and aerial work platforms to welding equipment.

If you’re not sure which belts take the least adjustment, whose paint is last to peel, what EAM/CMMS package is the best buy, or where to turn for value in any of our 60 categories, the 2006 Plant Services Readers’ Choice Awards arm you with a quick reference to the preferences of your peers.

A veritable Who’s Who

The fill-in-the-blank format of the survey means every supplier has an equal chance -- the choices are not limited to a selection of entries determined by vendors, editors or other people who are not practicing MRO professionals.

Every vendor named in the accompanying list has been designated as offering the best value by a significant number of respondents (3% or more). We do not ask who offers the second or third-best value, so each company included is rated number-one by a statistically significant following.

On the survey, we ask end users to vote only in those categories where they have personal experience. A vote for a specific company should mean the respondent has found its products to be better than other companies’ in that category.

Since more respondents have experience with companies that have higher installed base or market share, the results are inevitably biased toward the larger companies. Furthermore, there are certainly small companies that don't make the list, no matter how excellent their value, just because they are relatively unknown. If you have a favorite smaller supplier, consider yourself fortunate and don't be concerned that they aren't in our Readers' Choice Awards.

While we ask respondents to write in the name of the company, some write in the names or numbers of specific products or software packages. We do our best to recognize and translate these responses into company names.

In short, Plant Services Readers' Choice Awards offer a reference list of brands that readers like you say offer benchmark value – a veritable Who's Who of plant equipment, software and service providers.

Thanks and congratulations

We’ve done our best to get experienced plant professionals, people who have the necessary perspective and wisdom to judge, without prejudice or penalty, who makes the best stuff for industrial maintenance, reliability and asset management.

We express our heartfelt appreciation to the hardy respondents who took the time to share their valuable wisdom by selecting our winners.

And we congratulate each vendor listed in the following 60 categories on being recognized for delivering the highest value in our 2006 Plant Services Readers’ Choice Awards.


 

The will of the people

In November 2005, we e-mailed survey invitations to 40,000 qualified Plant Services subscribers asking them to “identify those suppliers you recognize as offering the best value in their product category: the products that deliver the combination of functionality, durability and low maintenance that add up to the lowest estimated lifecycle cost.”

We asked them to name vendors only in categories where they have sufficient experience to feel qualified to respond. The results are uninfluenced by Plant Services editors, sales staff or advertisers. We prevented vendors from participating in the poll, and electronically secured the survey against both multiple responses from the original addressee and unauthorized votes from anyone not on the qualified subscriber e-mail list.

Thanks to the many readers who undertook the survey, the 2006 Plant Services Readers’ Choice Awards give deserved recognition to some of the best vendors in the MRO universe, and offer a solid, valuable reference you can use to help you make critical buying decisions.



 

Have a story to tell?

This year, Plant Services is holding a competition for the best application stories. If you have a practice or implementation you’re proud of and are willing to share it with your fellow plant professionals, warm up your keyboard and visit www.PlantServices.com/thismonth for guidelines and details.

Subscribers will be given the opportunity read your story, weigh its usefulness and value to industrial plant performance, maintenance, reliability and asset management, and vote for the best applications.
The contest is open to anyone with a good story and the right to tell it. Keep it short, and don’t worry about style or grammar – we’ll edit as required. Stories that meet the guidelines will be posted on www.plantservices.com, announced via our e-newsletters and in the magazine, and included in our electronic ballot system. Voting will take place in October, and winners will be published early in 2007.

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