Issue 15 – 2009

In this issue you will find information on our new programmable controller, the Productivity3000. Guest writer Brian Elliott provides an informative article about sizing transformers, and a feature on Ryan Andrade, who used the DirectLOGIC 205 PLC as part of his biodiesel project. Our cover story is from Keith Schmitz on how manufacturers are discovering ways to cut energy consumption. Then read how a denim manufacturer in Georgia has used AutomationDirect products to retrofit and simplify production.

– TJ Johns
Senior Editor


In This Issue of The Automation Notebook…

  • Industry Slims Down, Peps Up

    Industry Slims Down, Peps Up

    Manufacturers Are Discovering That Producing Smarter Means Cutting Energy It now seems like a thousand years ago, but before the wave of economic bad news, many managers and executives had been weighed down by out of control energy prices, and with a fear that the world was reaching peak oil production and things would get … Read More

  • AutomationDirect Introduces Programmable Automation Controller

    AutomationDirect Introduces Programmable Automation Controller

    The Productivity3000 Controller is Automation Direct’s newest generation of industrial controllers that combines features and capabilities of a PC-based control system with that of a typical programmable logic controller (PLC). Productivity3000 is a modular, rack-based system of up to 116,000 I/O points with local, expansion and remote I/O bases and a full lineup of discrete, … Read More

  • Product Snapshots – Issue 15, 2009

    Product Snapshots – Issue 15, 2009

    We have added several exciting products since our last edition of the Automation Notebook. Here are some highlights about some of those new products including: NITRA pneumatic air cylinders and position switches, NEC Class 2 Power Supplies, Multiport Junction blocks for sensors, Higher voltage motor contactors, Industrial Ethernet Switches rated for wide temperatures, Analog CPUs … Read More

  • Productivity3000


    In past articles we have discussed the definitions of a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), Programmable Automation Controller (PAC), and PC-based control and how each plays a role in today’s industrial marketplace. Today we will discuss the Productivity3000, a new control platform recently released by AutomationDirect. Some say this resembles a PLC; others say it’s a … Read More

  • Pneumatic Cylinders

    Pneumatic Cylinders

    Q. What pneumatic cylinders and accessories are available from AutomationDirect?  A. The NITRA A-Series non-repairable stainless steel round body cylinders includes bore sizes from 7/16” to 2” and stroke lengths from 1/2” to 18” to meet a broad range of applications. These high quality cylinders are constructed with stainless steel bodies and double rolled-in high … Read More

  • Transformers: Application, Construction and Efficiencies

    Transformers: Application, Construction and Efficiencies

    Part One of a Two-Part Series Although most of us have encountered transformers in our professional lives, it’s surprising just how little the average designer or technician knows about them. A transformer’s principal function is to “transform” alternating current from an undesirable voltage to a voltage that is appropriate for the circuit at hand. A … Read More

  • Government Spending: Some Positive Returns

    Government Spending: Some Positive Returns

    For the past nine years, the Navy has sponsored an Opportunity Forum for their Phase II SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) contractors. The purpose is to publicize these government funded developments thereby helping viable business products to evolve beyond Navy needs. Successes triply benefit the small business, the Navy, and the American economy, and obviously … Read More

  • Denim Manufacturer Upgrades Controls to Add Flexibility to Process Lines

    Denim Manufacturer Upgrades Controls to Add Flexibility to Process Lines

    Nestled along the Chatooga River, in Trion, Georgia, Mount Vernon Mills is one of the largest and oldest textile mills in the United States. Its long history dates back to 1845. The initial 5,000 square foot two-story mill had 40 employees and produced 5-lb. bunches of yarn to sell to local merchants from wagons. Over … Read More

  • Natural Gas Reclaimed from Expired Wells

    Natural Gas Reclaimed from Expired Wells

    Natural gas can come from wells specifically drilled to reach gas trapped in pockets beneath the surface of the Earth. These wells produce huge quantities of gas which can be piped directly to distribution centers and then on to consumers. Some wells produce a lower-quality gas which has to be processed to remove unwanted components … Read More

  • The Future Of Technology – Ryan Andrade

    The Future Of Technology – Ryan Andrade

    Who: Ryan Andrade From: Hollister, California College: University of California, Davis Major: Mechanical Engineering Graduation Date: June, 2009 What first got you interested in your area of focus? I am interested in design and control of electromechanical systems in the alternative energy industry. My interest originated from experiences I had as a 2nd year undergraduate engineering student in the UC … Read More

  • Brainteasers – Issue 15, 2009

    Brainteasers – Issue 15, 2009

    Flag Cutting 1. Can you cut this American flag with fifteen stripes into only two pieces which will fit together to form a thirteen stripe flag with no wasted material? Did you know that the American flag actually had 15 stripes for a few years? Excerpted from Wikipedia: In 1795, the number of stars and … Read More

  • Brainteaser Answers – Issue 15, 2009

    Brainteaser Answers – Issue 15, 2009

    In each issue of the Automation Notebook we feature a section of brainteasers. These are the brainteaser answers from Issue 15, 2009 of the Automation Notebook. The brainteaser questions are repeated in black. The answers to the brainteaser questions are highlighted in red with explanations. You can view the brainteasers from Issue 15, 2009 without the answers here: … Read More