Archive For: Energy

Switching to Do-more Saves Time – Issue 27, 2013

Switching to Do-more Saves Time – Issue 27, 2013

Almost 14 years ago, I converted the controls in my 80KW hydro electric plant, located in the mountains of western North Carolina, from custom micro-controller cards I developed while at Georgia Tech to the DirectLOGIC DL205 PLC with a D2-260 CPU. In 2013, it was time to make some upgrades to the plant by adding ... Read More
 
Students help Manufacturing Center See AND Do More – Issue 27, 2013

Students help Manufacturing Center See AND Do More – Issue 27, 2013

When the mechatronics students at Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) in Hickory, North Carolina, went looking for a suitable project to challenge their recently acquired PLC and HMI skills, they didn’t have to go far.  The college’s Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) in nearby Conover needed a way to monitor the status of a large group ... Read More
 
Illinois Institute of Technology Competes in Hybrid Racing – Issue 25, 2013

Illinois Institute of Technology Competes in Hybrid Racing – Issue 25, 2013

A student team, lead by Donald Ruffatto, from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) SAE International chapter contacted AutomationDirect in late 2011, asking detailed questions about our Productivity3000 Programmable Automation Controller (PAC). They were planning to use it to control an electric car that they were building for the Formula Hybrid International Competition, hosted by ... Read More
 
Gas Turbine Repurposed With PLCs – Issue 24, 2012

Gas Turbine Repurposed With PLCs – Issue 24, 2012

The Midwest Propulsion Group is a jet engine club dedicated to increasing the engineering knowledge and experience base of students by providing real-world engineering tasks related to gas turbine restoration and performance analysis, as well as finding vehicular applications for such engines.
 
Reducing Total Cost of Ownership – Issue 24, 2012

Reducing Total Cost of Ownership – Issue 24, 2012

Automation is a key component when developing strategies to help customers reduce their operating costs. Many times when making buying decisions, people look only at the initial price of an item without considering other factors that contribute to the overall cost of owning that product. For example, a certain laptop may seem like a great ... Read More
 
Small-Scale Hydroelectric Plant Promises Profit – Issue 21, 2011

Small-Scale Hydroelectric Plant Promises Profit – Issue 21, 2011

If there’s access to a stream, the only requirements to generate electricity are a 2 ft. drop in water level and two gallons of flow per minute. A hydroelectric system isn’t overly complicated, it isn’t difficult to operate and maintain, it has longevity and it’s often more cost-effective than other forms of renewable power. Some ... Read More
 
Multi-Mirror Solar Array Pleasantville High School – Issue 20, 2011

Multi-Mirror Solar Array Pleasantville High School – Issue 20, 2011

The Industrial Technology students at Pleasantville High School, in Pleasantville, Iowa (southeast of Des Moines), have spent the last three years building a multi-mirror solar array. Students from four different technology classes have contributed to the project over the three year period; the AutoCAD and drafting classes have helped design and document the project, students ... Read More
 
Top 10 Tips: Specifying VFDs (Part One of a Two-Part Series) – Issue 20, 2011

Top 10 Tips: Specifying VFDs (Part One of a Two-Part Series) – Issue 20, 2011

This is part one of a two-part series on variable frequency drives. VFDs can reduce energy consumption, improve real-time control, and lengthen motor life; selecting the right one for your application requires asking the correct questions. Here are some expert tips to consider. Determine if a VFD is right for your application. The primary function of ... Read More
 
Sam Flournoy – Biodiesel Entrepreneur – Issue 18, 2010

Sam Flournoy – Biodiesel Entrepreneur – Issue 18, 2010

Sam Flournoy first contacted Automation Direct in February of 2009. As a 14-year old who had just finished building a biodiesel processor in his garage, he now wanted to automate the process. We immediately began looking around for the candid camera! But it turns out he was serious, as he was producing about 180 gallons ... Read More