2017 Product of the Year Finalists: Vote now!

The official ballot is open for voting for Plant Engineering North American print and digital edition subscribers, for a limited time. Cast your vote using CFE Media's New Products for Engineers platform. (Voting closed Jan. 12, 2018.)


It's been 30 years since Plant Engineering first introduced Product of the Year, and it's remarkable how many of the great innovations in the 2017 edition are improvements on products from the past. A review of the 2002 Product of the Year finalists and those from this year find that fuses, voltage testers, lower-wattage lighting and flow controls can be found in both listings.

And yet there is much that has changed. For one thing, there was no Automation & Controls category in 2002, and there was no Asset Management category, let alone a Maintenance Software category. And we added a Safety category more than a decade ago to bring more attention to this critical area of plant operations.

Taken individually, each of this year's 102 Product of the Year finalists offer a unique solution to a specific problem. In some cases, that improvement is incremental, but then, so is the entire concept of improvement. Process improvement is, by definition, a process; manufacturers are looking for ways to get a little better every day.

What Product of the Year offers each year is a way to identify in one place all the ways to improve operations. Not every product fits every plant application, but what we also hope Product of the Year does each year is expose readers to think about how each of these categories impact their operations.

There are 15 categories this year; in 2018, we'll add robotics as a category to identify another area of plant operations getting a lot of attention. The products you'll find for consideration this year represent the best efforts of product managers and innovators around the world. They've spent years talking to plant managers like yourself, reviewing the needs of manufacturing and then putting their product development teams on the trail of ways to make their great products just a little better.

Now it's your turn.
The other aspect of Product of the Year that makes it such a sought-after award is that selecting the winners are your responsibility. Because each year's Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in each category are selected by qualified subscribers to Plant Engineering, we can confidently say that this is the best award in manufacturing.

The awards are won by the individual suppliers, but the awards themselves belong to our readers. Each year, we ask you to consider these entries, and I'm happy to say that each year, you get it right.

And we ask you to do it again this year. The voting ballot for Product of the Year is now live at www.plantengineering.com/NP4E along with the link to each of this year's products. (Ballot closed Jan. 12, 2018.) Each vote is screened to make sure only qualified readers vote on these product categories. This ensures the integrity of the contest; it also lets both our suppliers and our readers know that when the awards are handed out in April 2018, they represent the best insight from our readers.

As it has been for 30 years, Product of the Year is a three-step process: Review the entries. Cast your votes. Think about your manufacturing plant and ways new products can lead to process improvement.

2017 Finalists

Asset Management

Automation & Controls

Compressed Air

Electric Motors & Drives

Electrical Safety

Energy Management

Environmental Health

Fluid Handling


Maintenance Software

Maintenance Tools & Equipment

Material Handling Systems

Plant Analytics & Design

Productivity & Training


The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
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Pipe fabrication and IIoT; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
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Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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