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Microcontrollers versus PLCs: There’s a Clear Winner for Your Industrial Applications

Microcontrollers versus PLCs: There’s a Clear Winner for Your Industrial Applications

The world of single-board computers and microcontrollers offers interesting and inexpensive opportunities for automation applications, but can these components be trusted in critical production applications? The assortment of microcontrollers emerging in the “maker” world has been growing rapidly, with no signs of abating. These devices—including Arduino, BeagleBone, Raspberry Pi and others—offer extraordinary capabilities, along with ... Read More
 
PLCs Improve Controls of Radio Broadcasts – Issue 38, 2017

PLCs Improve Controls of Radio Broadcasts – Issue 38, 2017

Broadcasting is a high tech industry and much of it is cutting edge, such as Ethernet-based audio over IP. Our industry employs the latest technology in many areas, such as the use of coding algorithms for bit rate reduction and remote broadcasting. But when it comes to controlling the radio signals sent out by the ... Read More
 
Halloween DIY How To Prop – Automated Door

Halloween DIY How To Prop – Automated Door

Things that go bump in the night takes on a whole new meaning with AutomationDirect’s latest Halloween project. The recent installment in their long-running Halloween DIY How To Prop series shows how quick and simple it is to create a Haunted Automated Door with AutomationDirect parts and service. You and your spooky decorations are guaranteed to ... Read More
 
Video: Arduino versus BRX PLC for Industrial Control

Video: Arduino versus BRX PLC for Industrial Control

In the August 2017 issue of Control Design, the cover story discussed how micro-controllers coming out of the “maker” world hope to someday challenge PLCs in industrial applications. The article makes for very interesting reading, but if a picture is worth 1000 words, a video must be worth 1000 pictures. Doug Reneker and the team ... Read More
 
Keep the Train Running!

Keep the Train Running!

The maintenance department at Blank Park Zoo (www.blankparkzoo.com) in Des Moines, Iowa was looking for a cost-effective way to keep their train running safely. The train ride is part of the 49-acre park which includes almost 1500 animal specimens.
 
Automating Hazardous Gas Delivery

Automating Hazardous Gas Delivery

When a highly flammable, toxic and corrosive gas delivery system for semiconductor production tools became unreliable, Headway Technologies contracted with system integrator KCC Software for the needed upgrades. KCC Software’s experience and expertise led to the successful replacement of a failing automation system with a new automatic gas control (AGC) system.
 
Improving Pivot Irrigation Systems with AutomationDirect – Issue 37, 2017

Improving Pivot Irrigation Systems with AutomationDirect – Issue 37, 2017

If you’ve ever taken a long road trip, you’ve probably passed large fields of crops, which every now and then contained odd looking metal pipe structures on wheels stretching across the fields. These metal monsters, known as pivot irrigation systems, are used extensively in agriculture and have greatly improved the efficiency of the crop irrigation ... Read More
 
Beam Testing at Portland State – Issue 37, 2017

Beam Testing at Portland State – Issue 37, 2017

For their undergraduate senior capstone project, a team of Mechanical Engineering students at Portland State University (PSU) recently designed an electronic system upgrade for the control system of a 100-year-old beam testing machine. Using a range of AutomationDirect parts, the purpose of the project was to make the operator experience comparable to modern machines.
 
Cool Strawberries

Cool Strawberries

MACS Cooler—with the help of Hawkins Engineering, Quantum Automation and AutomationDirect—designed a more efficient precooling system for produce. Not only do these forced-air portable precooling systems reduce labor costs by 60%, they also help assure fresh strawberries quickly make it to market.
 
PLCs Have Many Uses in Radio Broadcasting

PLCs Have Many Uses in Radio Broadcasting

There is lots of impressive technology used in broadcasting, but control of transmitters, audio sources, power and facilities is often low tech. A seasoned broadcast engineer is addressing this issue by using PLCs to improve broadcasting, starting with remote transmitter sites at iHeartMedia in Los Angeles.