System integrators: Automation glue

Control system integrators serve as the hardware, software and networking glue to help plan, design and integrate automation and controls projects.

By Mark T. Hoske December 12, 2022


Learning Objectives

  • System Integrator of the Year 2023, advice
  • SI Giants research advice about system integration
  • Training helps system integration firms and their system integrator automation engineering experts.

Global System Integrator Report 2023 insights

  • The Global System Integrator Report, a supplement to the November/December issues of Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, offers a comprehensive collection of information about system integrators and system integration.
  • System integration success stories and advice will help in selecting system integrator partners or advancing engineering talent.

The Global System Integrator Report for 2023 is full of reasons to consider an expert system integrator to design, optimize, test, connect, implement and upgrade automated devices and systems to save energy, improve throughput, add quality and augment safety, improving lives and making the world a better place.

Class of 2023: System Integrator of the Year

System Integrator of the Year for 2023 selects three leading control system integrators in three categories based on system integration revenue.

“Applications include feeding children, delivering clean water, manufacturing recycled building materials, and feeding pets… System integration project success starts with a well-planned scope of work, adherence to budget and schedules… resulting in a fully operational production line.”

For COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing, a system integrator “developed a precision control system with programmable logic controller (PLC), human machine interface (HMI) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), along with panel design and fabrication.”

To reach “senior engineering ranks, engineers must demonstrate effective mentoring. This is demonstrated through successful project execution that’s measured partly by full utilization of less experienced engineers.”

Outstanding system integration projects

This year’s article solicitation asked to “hear about the project that really stands out because it solved a previously unsolvable set of challenges, was completed on time despite a seemingly impossible schedule, integrated sets of technologies or systems in elegant and sustainable ways, involved extraordinary team member collaboration or growth, or some combination of those and/or other attributes.”

More than 20 feature articles resulted. In the digital edition, link to each via the table of contents, left; the printed version contains a subset.

Research: SI Giants 2023 on system integration

Control Engineering and Plant Engineering (CFE Media and Technology) research on System Integrator Giants for 2023 noted the following about the attributes of best system integrator customers:

  • Customers that appropriately evaluate and then trust system integration partners.

  • Successful integration of a new control system to already existing ones.

  • They are companies that prefer to work with experienced, committed, and engaged systems integrators, rather than making decisions based on a lower price.

  • SI Giants also were asked what customers expect from good system integrators.

  • The integrator is outcome-driven and will enable the success of the client’s project, but it all starts with understanding this: “What problem are you trying to solve?”

The good system Integrator trains their engineers regularly and updates them with the latest technologies and project management practices. The good system Integrator is the one who delivers projects in time and is transparent on delivery timelines and project status. Also, the one that adapts digital technologies in processes.

Control Systems Integrator Association

Expanding adoption of Smart Manufacturing, particularly for the smaller producers, will require a comprehensive support network (such as methodology, consultants and implementers like system integrators, explained Jose M. Rivera, CEO of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA), an organization dedicated to ensuring system integrator organizations are as strong as the engineering talent that drives them. “The U.S. now has a unique opportunity to rebuild its manufacturing sector with automation, controls, system integration. Let’s make Smart Manufacturing happen!”

Control system integrator training from A3

To help strengthen engineering talent, Robert Huschka, vice president of education strategies, Association for Advancing Automation (A3), said system integrators and those interested in system integration can take advantage of three certification programs, in addition to learn through involvement in A3 standards-making committees, training and conferences and other opportunities. A3 offers Certified Robot Integrator (CRI) Program, Certified Vision System Integrator (CVSI) Program and the Certified Motion Control Professional (CMCP).

Think again about the world of expertise a system integrator can offer integrating and updating automation and controls with other systems to solve the next set of manufacturing and process facility challenges.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering,, also on behalf of Plant Engineering, both publications of CFE Media and Technology.

KEYWORDS: Global System Integrator Report


Global System Integrator Report offers a comprehensive collection of control and automation system integrator expertise.

Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.