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What is a Contactor?

What is a Contactor?

Contactors are a specialized form of relay capable of switching higher power loads such as motors, lighting and electric heaters. Turning large electrical power loads such as motors, lighting and heaters on and off is a common automation requirement. Applications are found in commercial buildings, industrial equipment and vehicles. The fundamental device for switching electrical ... Read More
 
Benefits of Connecting a PLC to the Internet

Benefits of Connecting a PLC to the Internet

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are now gaining information technology (IT) abilities to interact directly with the internet, creating new automation and information possibilities. Bill Dehner, a Technical Marketing Manager at AutomationDirect, authored an article for the July 2019 issue of Control Engineering titled Benefits of Connecting a PLC to the Internet. Here’s a summary, click ... Read More
 
Pneumatics for Mechanical Motion

Pneumatics for Mechanical Motion

Pneumatics are often the best fit for executing mechanical motion in a reliable, simple, and cost-effective manner. Pat Phillips is the Product Manager for Fluid Power and Mechanical products at AutomationDirect, and he authored an article for the June 2019 issue of Tech Briefs titled Pneumatics for Mechanical Motion. Here’s a summary, click on the ... Read More
 
Safety Components on Guard |White Paper

Safety Components on Guard |White Paper

Protecting operators from the safety hazards introduced by automated machines and robotic equipment demands an understanding of both the appropriate safety guarding level and the machine safety components needed to get the job done. As always, the designer must identify the safety risks, plan the best ways of addressing them, and ensure the proper application ... Read More
 
Specifying Performance Instead of Parts

Specifying Performance Instead of Parts

Specifying performance instead of parts when purchasing machines and process skids cuts costs, reduces lead time and guarantees reliable operation. Bill Dehner, Automation Specialist at AutomationDirect, authored an article for the June 2019 issue of Applied Automation titled Specifying performance instead of parts. Here is a summary of the article, click on the link above ... Read More
 
How to Choose an Industrial Automation Controller | White Paper

How to Choose an Industrial Automation Controller | White Paper

There are many important items to consider when choosing a controller for machine and process automation. Breaking down the equipment’s operational needs is a starting point and will help evaluate the range of controllers specified by OEMs or machine builders. Depending on how the equipment fits into the larger manufacturing environment, the automation system can ... Read More
 
Basic Pneumatic Circuits |White Paper

Basic Pneumatic Circuits |White Paper

Pneumatics have been used in automated machines for well over 100 years, with pneumatic technology developing and evolving for over a thousand years in some form or another, for example as boat sails. There have been many innovations over the years, and the basic pneumatic components such as valves, solenoids, cylinders, hoses and fittings are ... Read More
 
Proper Air Preparation for Automated Machines

Proper Air Preparation for Automated Machines

Available in many combinations, filters and regulators are a must-have on any machine. Other devices to perform functions such as energy isolation, lockout tagout and lubrication should also be considered. Chip McDaniel, technical marketer for AutomationDirect, wrote an article for the January 2019 issue of Design World magazine, titled Proper Air Preparation for Automated Machines. ... Read More
 
Selecting a Software Programming Platform

Selecting a Software Programming Platform

PLCs are typically programmed with PC-based software, and selecting the right platform is critical to project success and ongoing operations. Bill Dehner, technical marketing engineer at AutomationDirect, wrote an article for the February 2019 issue of NASA Tech Briefs titled Selecting a Software Programming Platform, here’s a summary. Dehner says software development and testing is ... Read More
 
Basic Sensors – PLC Fundamentals

Basic Sensors – PLC Fundamentals

For a PLC to monitor and in turn control its application variables, there must be a way for it to sense its surroundings. In today’s industrial realm, there are a huge variety of electrical sensors that provide the input data (position, distance, level, flow, etc.) that control systems need. These basic sensors can be broken ... Read More