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Should You Purchase Direct?

Should You Purchase Direct?

Online purchasing has taken over much of the consumer goods sector, and is now a viable option for many industrial automation products. The automation products used by machine builders,
 
Are Pneumatic Components Compatible?

Are Pneumatic Components Compatible?

The industrial pneumatics market is fairly mature. While there continues to be new developments and technologies, many of the tried and true core products have been around for years. One advantage that this can offer to both system designers and end users is often having several brands of pneumatic components that are interchangeable with each ... Read More
 
Training Moves Out of Classroom — Issue 34, 2016

Training Moves Out of Classroom — Issue 34, 2016

Teachers often cover subject matter at the speed of the least experienced student, which is helpful for them, but is less productive for more advanced trainees. Classroom training in general can be quite tedious, and also very expensive compared to more modern alternatives.
 
Linking Machines to IT Systems

Linking Machines to IT Systems

Once upon a time, individual machines were stranded on an island, or just linked to other machines using a few discrete I/O and dry contact relays. Then came machine-to-machine data links such as a proprietary PLC-based network. Today, and certainly in the future, machines are being linked to IT systems.
 
Simulation Has Its Advantages

Simulation Has Its Advantages

Creating an accurate software simulation for a complex system can be difficult, but there are many reasons to do it. Creating simulations of automated equipment, processes, and robot sequences is a great way to validate controller programming, test hardware settings, and check HMI configurations—all without cycling the actual equipment.  There can be many advantages to simulation, ... Read More
 
When Not to Replace Legacy Control Systems — Issue 30, 2014

When Not to Replace Legacy Control Systems — Issue 30, 2014

Obsolete machine control systems can be replaced with a new system, but upgrade or repair may be a better option. If your manufacturing facility uses and supports automated equipment, or if you are an OEM equipment builder supplying the end user, the reality of control system failure and obsolescence will impact
 
Manufacturing Wants You

Manufacturing Wants You

As veterans leave the military, manufacturers are recruiting for their skills. I grew up in Dalton, Georgia. Known as the “Carpet Capitol of the World,” it seemed there was either a carpet mill or a carpet dealer on every corner.
 
Beyond the Machine: OEMs Provide System Integration

Beyond the Machine: OEMs Provide System Integration

Machine builders use technologies and expertise to provide system integration services that were once the realm of systems integrators and engineering firms. As automation systems become more integrated, the design, installation and commissioning of machines and robots on the factory floor can be a complex process. The machines must interact not only with existing production ... Read More
 
Industrial Ethernet or Fieldbus Network?

Industrial Ethernet or Fieldbus Network?

With only about a quarter of the overall installed base of industrial networking using 4-20 mA and other hardwired methods, fieldbus communication systems are becoming the de facto choice for automation. Now the debate is shifting to the question of whether fieldbus-based networks will remain the standard or if it will be supplanted by industrial ... Read More