Recognizing excellence in product innovation

Thomas Jefferson believed, "Where a new invention promises to be useful, it ought to be tried." Control Engineering's annual Editors' Choice Awards communicate Jefferson's idea by showcasing the most revolutionary products of the year. For 17 years, both editors and readers alike have had a say in which products are considered the most innovative.


Click here to read the expanded version of the article.

Thomas Jefferson believed, 'Where a new invention promises to be useful, it ought to be tried.' Control Engineering 's annual Editors' Choice Awards communicate Jefferson's idea by showcasing the most revolutionary products of the year. For 17 years, both editors and readers alike have had a say in which products are considered the most innovative.


The process for choosing who—and who doesn't—receive an award is a careful one. Throughout a given year, editors receive hundreds of new product press releases, attend industry trade shows, visit control equipment end-users, and keep in frequent contact with industry analysts and every major control equipment vendor. Paid advertising or catalogs are never considered. From a substantial amount of products, editors first choose which products to put into the magazine, online, or in e-mail newsletters. Editors then decide which products they believe are the most worthy of the award based on three standards: service to the industry, technological advancement, and impact on the market.


Once the 35 to 40 awards have been chosen, the products are published in the magazine as well as presented at the National Industrial Automation Show during National Manufacturing Week. Over the past 17 years of awards, 685 products have been chosen.


The process for choosing which products are the most deserving has changed over time. In 1987, the first awards were named the Readers' Choice Awards. Instead of the editors choosing which products were the most inventive and useful, Control Engineering subscribers voted by using the Reader Response cards found in every magazine.


In 1989, the responsibility of deciding which products deserved the awards shifted to the editors. By 1991, the editors realized that there were so many significant products that it was hard to limit the number of awards they gave. In turn, they created the Product Recognition Awards to acknowledge a company's invention as an outstanding contribution to the industry.


Throughout the years, the product categories have also been altered due to the changing industry. In 1999, Process Control & Instrumentation split into two categories: Process & Advanced Control and Instrumentation & Process Sensors. Also in 1999, with the growth of PCs, a PC-based control category was added. In 2001, the category was renamed Embedded Control. Currently, there are eight categories: Embedded Control; Human-Machine Interface; Instrumentation & Process Sensors; Machine Control & Discrete Sensors; Motors, Drives & Motion Control; Networks & Communication; Process & Advanced Control; and Software & Information Integration.


To celebrate the magazine's 50th year of publication in 2004, the editors and publisher decided to add the Engineers' Choice Awards. Magazine subscribers voted from among the 35 Editors' Choice Awards to pick their top choice in each of the eight categories.


In the changing world of control engineering and manufacturing, the past 17 years of Editors' Choice Awards reflect how the best inventions continue to be creative, ingenious and, most importantly, useful.




Established: 1987

Control Components
Analog Devices Inc., Interface Products Div.
Current Ring Co.
Dutec Inc.
Hamlin Inc.
Honeywell, Micro Switch Div.
Honeywell, Visitronics Operations
Industrial Networking Inc.
Integrated Power Corp.
Intel Corp.
IRD Mechanalysis Inc. (Rockwell Automation)
Leader Instruments Corp.
Moore Industries-International Inc.
Namco Controls Corp. (Danaher Corp.)
Omron Electronics Inc.
Schenck Trebel Corp. (Carl Schenck AG)
Telemecanique Inc. (Schneider Electric)
Westinghouse Electric Corp., Combustion Controls Div. (British Nuclear Fuels)
Human-Machine Interface
Allen-Bradley Co. Industrial Controls Div. (Rockwell Automation)
Hewlett-Packard Corp.
IBM Corp.
Machine Control & Discrete Sensors
Fischer Scientific Corp.
Texas Instruments Inc.
Motors, Drives & Motion Control
Compumotor Corp. (Parker Hannifin Corp.)
Daido Corp., Sumtak Electronic Instruments Div.
Micro Mo Electronics Inc. (Faulhaber Group)
Process Control & Instrumentation
Airpax Corp., A North American Philips Co.
ASCO—Automatic Switch Co. (Emerson)
Asoma Instruments Inc. (Spectro Analytical Instruments)
Bailey Controls Div., Babcock & Wilcox Co. (ABB)
Barber Colman Co., Industrial Instruments (Invensys)
BEC Controls Corp.
Cambridge Applied Systems Inc.
Collins Instrument Inc.
Combustion Engineering Inc., Process Analytics (ABB)
Great Lakes Instruments Inc.
Hoffer Flow Controls Inc.
IC Sensors Inc. (Measurement Specialties)
Kent Process Control Ltd.
Onset Computer Corp.
Ronan Engineering Co.
Sarasota Automation
Siemens Energy & Automation Inc.
Sparling Instruments Co. Inc.
Syconex Corp.
Software & Information Integration
Equinox Data Corp.
Gerry Software (ExperTune Inc.)
Nth Graphics Ltd.


15 Years Ago: 1989

Control Components
Acculex, A Metrabyte Co. (Keithley Instruments Inc.)
Hyde Park Electronics Inc. (Schneider Electric)
ILC Data Device Corp.
Industrial Electronic Engineers Inc.
Mektronix Technology Inc.
Motorola Inc., Microprocessor Products
Omron Electronics Inc.
Qualogy Inc.
Tektronix Inc.
Human-Machine Interface
Intel Corp.
Nematron Corp.
Machine Control & Discrete Sensors
Allen-Bradley Co. (Rockwell Automation)
Parker Hannifin Corp., Fluidpower Pump Div.
Process Control & Instrumentation
Anafaze Inc. (Watlow)
Keithley Instruments Inc.
The Parvus Corp. (EuroTech Group)
Reliance Electric Industrial Co. (Rockwell Automation)
Uticor Technology Inc. (AVG)
Valvecon Corp. (Metso)
Software & Information Integration
Heuristics Inc.


10 Years Ago: 1994

Control Components
Allen-Bradley Co. (Rockwell Automation)
Analog Devices Inc.
Phoenix Contact Inc.
Turck Inc.
Human-Machine Interface
B&R Industrial Automation Corp.
Intellution Inc. (GE Fanuc)
TA Engineering Co. Inc.
Machine Control & Discrete Sensors
AEG Schneider Automation Inc. (Schneider Electric)
Allen-Bradley Co. (Rockwell Automation)
Eaton Corp., Cutler-Hammer (Eaton Corp.)
GE Fanuc North America Inc.
Honeywell, Micro Switch Div.
Siemens Industrial Automation Inc.
Motors, Drives & Motion Control
Control Techniques Drives Inc. (Emerson)
Oriental Motor USA Corp.
Square D Co. (Schneider Electric)
Process Control & Instrumentation
ABB Industrial Systems Inc.
Barber Colman Co., Industrial Instruments Div. (Invensys)
PID Inc. (OSIsoft)
Rosemount Analytical Inc. (Emerson)
Rosemount Inc., Measurement Div. (Emerson)
Siemens Industrial Automation Inc.
Software & Information Integration
EnaTec Software Systems (Invensys)
National Instruments Corp.
Taylor Industrial Software Inc. (GE Fanuc)
TransSys Inc.
Wonderware (Invensys)


5 Years Ago: 1999

Control Components
Banner Engineering Corp.
Tektronix Inc.
Human-Machine Interface
Dolch Computer Systems
GE Fanuc Automation
Xycom Automation (Pro-Face America Inc.)
Instrumentation & Process Sensors
Micro Motion Inc. (Emerson)
Machine Control & Discrete Sensors
Omron Electronics Inc.
PPT Vision
Rockwell Software
VMIC (GE Fanuc)
Motors, Drives & Motion Control
Baldor Electric Co.
Cutler-Hammer Group (Eaton Corp.)
Lord Corp., Materials Div.
Oriental Motor USA Corp.
Performance Motion Devices
Vaasa Control (Vacon Controls)
Networks & Communication
Agilent Technologies
Lucent Technologies
Phoenix Contact Inc.
Woodhead Connectivity
PC-Based Control
Iconics Inc.
Intellution (GE Fanuc)
National Instruments Corp.
Think & Do Software (Phoenix Contact)
Process & Advanced Control
Adaptive Resources
Aspen Technology
ExperTune Inc.
Fisher-Rosemount Systems (Emerson)
The Foxboro Co. (Invensys)
Moore Process Automation (Siemens)
Sequencia (OSIsoft)
Software & Information Integration
ABB Automation
Pavilion Technologies
Siemens Energy & Automation
Visio (Microsoft)
Wonderware (Invensys)


Last Year: 2003

Embedded Control
Motorola Computer Group (Motorola Inc.)
Human-Machine Interface
iKey Industrial Peripherals
Opto 22
Parker Hannifin Electromechanical Automation-CTC
Instrumentation & Process Sensors
ABB Automation (ABB)
CiDRA Corp.
Hoffman (Pentair Inc.)
Magnetrol International
Machine Control & Discrete Sensors
Cognex Corp.
DVT Corp.
Ipd (Coreco Imaging)
Moore Industries International Inc.
Motors, Drives & Motion Control
Baldor Electric Corp.
Control Techniques
Elau Inc.
Elmo Motion Control
International Rectifier
Siemens Energy & Automation Inc.
Networks & Communication
Beckhoff Automation LLC
Lantronix Inc.
Network Vision Inc.
Process & Advanced Control
Emerson Process Management (Emerson)
GE Fanuc
Yokogawa Electric Corp.
Software & Information Integration
Honeywell Industry Solutions
Mynah Technologies (Experitec Inc.)
National Instruments Corp.
Rockwell Software
Verano Inc.
Wonderware (Invensys)
Top 10 winners of Control Engineering's Editors' Choice Award:




# of awards


GE Fanuc



Rockwell Automation





4/5 (tie)

ABB; Invensys






Schneider Electric





9/10 (tie)

Danaher Corp.; Omron


No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Make Big Data and Industrial Internet of Things work for you, 2017 Engineers' Choice Finalists, Avoid control design pitfalls, Managing IIoT processes
Engineering Leaders Under 40; System integration improving packaging operation; Process sensing; PID velocity; Cybersecurity and functional safety
Mobile HMI; PID tuning tips; Mechatronics; Intelligent project management; Cybersecurity in Russia; Engineering education; Road to IANA
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Flexible offshore fire protection; Big Data's impact on operations; Bridging the skills gap; Identifying security risks
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
click me