Recently, I participated in Career Day at my kids’ school. I figured I’d bring in something fun and have a good time discussing automation with the kids. I quickly realized I bit off more than I could chew, but in a good way.  You see, this was the first time anyone from the automation field participated and no one ever brought a hand-held, pneumatic-powered ping pong ball launcher before. One look at the launcher in action and a line quickly formed at my table as if it was an amusement ride. I struggled to answer the tons of questions coming at me while at the same time chasing balls that were off target. That one pneumatic cylinder firing ping pong balls all over the place stoked so much excitement about automation, by the end of the day almost all the kids were sure they wanted to be engineers. AutomationDirect has always believed that automation can provide a bright future for anyone. By supporting STEM at local schools, providing resources through educational outreach, working with the Boy Scouts of America and sponsoring robotics competitions, AutomationDirect is helping to show kids all over the country how exciting and rewarding automation careers can be.Automation Notebook Issue 39

This issue of NOTEBOOK is loaded with informative articles such as our Tech Thread, which provides a helpful checklist for choosing the right PLC. We also have a great Cover Story on selecting the right factory automation controller for your application. The User Solution shows how the Do-more PLC revived a failing gas delivery system, and our Student Spotlight focuses on Vermont Technical College engineering student Dan Rapoza who used his newly gained knowledge of automation to help local dairy farmers. You’ll also find information on our newest products, such as the new Productivity1000 PLC, DURApulse GS4 AC drives, STRIDE SiteLink VPN routers, Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches, pneumatic rotary actuators and grippers, and lots more. As always, the Break Room is stocked with fun brainteasers so see how many puzzles you can solve and compare your answers at

-Senior Editor

In this issue of the Automation Notebook…

Issue 39 - 2018ProductProgrammable Control

Choosing the Right Factory Automation Controller for Your Application

Picking the right hardware is critical, but make sure to include the controller programming software in the evaluation process as it will determine ease of use. When selecting a controller for factory automation, it’s not just about whether a PLC, PAC or PC should be used. It’s also about defining the requirements for the application,…
+Tech TopicsIssue 39 - 2018Learning ResourcesProductProgrammable Control

Which PLC is For Me?

As with any engineering decision, it’s always best to put it on paper first to see the “big picture”. The same holds true when choosing the most effective PLC for your application. This choice depends on a number of factors and the following steps serve as a checklist of things to consider when determining PLC…
Issue 39 - 2018ProductProgrammable Control

Productivity Series: Scalable from Top to Bottom

With the release of the Productivity1000, the newest and smallest of the Productivity Series controllers, we now have a scalable product offering that gives you the flexibility to design your control system program for a broad range of applications and sizes, without sacrificing functionality. The Productivity1000 (P1000) is a compact, stackable micro Programmable Logic Controller…
Application StoriesIssue 39 - 2018PLCProductProgrammable Control

Do-more PLC Revives Gas Distribution Process

KCC Software fuels the safe and reliable upgrade of a highly flammable, corrosive and toxic gas distribution system for semiconductor tools. A semiconductor manufacturer of memory and drive head technologies, Headway Technologies in Milpitas, California is a part of the TDK group of companies, the largest independent recording head supplier in the disk drive industry….
2018AutomationDirect SpotlightIssue 39Issue 39 - 2018ProductStudent SpotlightVariable Speed Drives

Student Spotlight: Droid Names, Faraway Galaxies or Automation Components?

VFDs, RS485, PLCs — these terms may seem like names of droids or faraway galaxies and planets in a “Star Wars” movie. However, they really refer to earthly based components that Vermont Technical College engineering student Dan Rapoza learned about when he set out to help a dairy farmer save time and money by automating…
Issue 39 - 2018Uncategorized

Brainteasers - Issue 39, 2018

1.) Conveyor Race Three boxes of automation equipment are traveling in the same direction on parallel conveyors in the AutomationDirect warehouse. At a certain moment, a box full of motors is a certain distance behind a box of gears, which is twice that distance behind a box of timing belts. The conveyors are all moving…
Issue 39 - 2018

Brainteaser Answers - Issue 39, 2018

1.) Conveyor Race The box of gears will pass the box of timing belts 6 minutes and 40 seconds after the box of motors passed the box of timing belts. 2.) Fuse Ruse They shipped four boxes of 17 and two boxes of 16 – for a total of exactly 100 fuses. 3.) Paint Match…
Issue 39 - 2018NewsPress ReleasesProduct

AutomationDirect Unveils Productivity1000 Programmable Controller

The new Productivity1000 stackable micro PLC is the super compact yet highly capable member of AutomationDirect’s Productivity controller family. The P1000 is packed with many of the features of the Productivity series but housed in a smaller, slimmer design to provide space, budget and time savings.