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How to Choose a Controller

How to Choose a Controller

Choosing the most effective controller for your application depends on a number of factors. The worksheet below serves as a checklist of things to consider when determining programmable controller requirements. It lists the most important areas to consider when choosing a system, as well as provides space for recording determinations of your system needs. To ... Read More
 
Understanding Discrete & Analog I/O

Understanding Discrete & Analog I/O

So what do you think, is this glass half full or half empty? For me, that could be a little difficult to answer and could vary based on the day I’m having, but if we are asking about the level, why not let the PLC answer? In fact, why not have the PLC tell us ... Read More
 
Sinking and Sourcing Concepts

Sinking and Sourcing Concepts

When choosing the type of input or output module for your PLC system, it is very important to have a solid understanding of sinking and sourcing concepts. Use of these terms occurs frequently in discussion of input or output circuits. It is the goal of this post to make these concepts easy to understand, so
 
Equipment Specification Template

Equipment Specification Template

So you found a task that you’d like to automate but you need a way to sort out what pieces are needed and how they fit together. At this phase of development, organization is key. When specifying a project, staying organized can keep you on track and help you see the big picture. Flow charts, ... Read More
 
Understanding Basic Electrical Theory

Understanding Basic Electrical Theory

No single discovery has affected our lives, our culture and our survival more than electricity. Electricity is everywhere; it lights our way, cooks our food and can even brush your teeth. For an example, imagine where the medical field would be without electricity and in that sense how many lives have been saved due to ... Read More
 
Machine Maintenance Checklist

Machine Maintenance Checklist

It is important to develop a routine maintenance schedule for your automated control system. Having a routine schedule for checking critical components and devices in the system will increase the longevity of the system and more importantly, it will help reduce future problems. Set up the schedule based on a monthly or quarterly time period, ... Read More
 
Specifying and Sizing Motor Starters

Specifying and Sizing Motor Starters

There are four basic motor control options available: Basic contactors, traditional starters, manual motor starters, or combination starters. A basic contactor is a special purpose relay that is used to control large electrical currents. Similarly, a traditional starter utilizes overload relays, auxiliary and alarm contacts, and mechanical interlocks to create a reversing unit. On the other ... Read More
 
What Type of Photoelectric Sensor Is Best For Me?

What Type of Photoelectric Sensor Is Best For Me?

There are many different styles of photoelectric sensors, but really only four basic technologies: through-beam, reflective, diffuse, and background suppression. The chart describes some advantages and disadvantages of each technology. To learn more about AutomationDirect’s photoelectric sensors visits www.AutomationDirect.com/photoelectric.   Through-beam Reflective Diffuse Background Suppression
 
Choosing The Right Proximity Sensor

Choosing The Right Proximity Sensor

Proximity sensors allow non-contact detection of objects. Therefore, they are used in many industries, including manufacturing, robotics, semiconductor, and many more. Inductive sensors detect metallic objects while capacitive sensors detect all other materials. Ultrasonic sensors detect all materials by using sound wave reflections to determine presence. All applications have certain specific needs, but, in general, the ... Read More
 
What Do The NEMA Ratings Mean?

What Do The NEMA Ratings Mean?

Designed to house all kinds of electrical components from simple terminal blocks, to industrial automation systems, to high voltage switchgear, NEMA enclosures are also used in industrial applications to house motor controls, drives, PLC/PC control systems, pushbuttons, and termination systems. NEMA enclosures meet the National Electrical Manufacturers Association standards for performance and protection of the electrical equipment ... Read More