There was a time when most of a service center's capital was merely devoted to inventory. But distribution has given way to value-added services, and the modern service center often has millions invested in major processing equipment.
The equipment varies quite a bit by product type. Flat-rolled specialists invest heavily in slitting lines, leveling and other coil processing options. Plate companies opt for cutting equipment and pipe and tube or bar distributors require sawing machines. And all of them are looking for the myriad types of material handling equipment to move product all over the warehouse floor.
Another type of equipment that is a must in every service center is a quality software program, which assists companies in all aspects of operation, from quoting to tracking material to logistics.
Each year, Metal Center News
surveys its readership to find which equipment manufacturers that have forged a reputation for quality products. Those results are produced in our Top 10 Service Center Equipment Brands Survey.
Historically, the survey included four product categories: coil processing, sawing, cutting and material handling. To this year's survey we're adding a fifth important segment: software.
For 2019, the top three vote-getters in their respective categories are:
- Sawing: HYDMECH, Amada, HE&M Saw
- Coil Processing: Red Bud Industries, Braner, Butech Bliss
- Cutting: Mazak, Hypertherm, Messer Cutting Systems
- Material Handling: Bushman, Caldwell, Konecranes
- Software: Enmark Systems, Invera, SigmaNEST
The survey was conducted starting at the tail end of 2018, inviting our service center readers through a series of email polls and a questionnaire in our monthly print editions. Respondents were given an alphabetical listing of the largest companies in each product category with instructions to check all of the suppliers you would endorse and buy from in the future. Respondents also had the opportunity to write in additional company names or brand names that were not listed.
The final rankings were simply determined by the largest number of votes received in each category.
The final rankings most adequately reflect which companies occupy the largest share of mind among their customers. The methodology does not attempt to rank the companies' products or consider its market share or size.
2018 was a good one for the service center business, as strong economic activity was coupled with tax reform that allowed companies to keep more of their earnings. We'll see how those conditions lead to renewed investment in the kind of equipment that helps distributors stay more successful today, and into the future.
Click below to see the Top 10 in each category.Coil Processing
| Material Handling