Archive For: Tech Topics

Compact Modular Valves Simplify Pneumatic Design and Operation

Compact Modular Valves Simplify Pneumatic Design and Operation

A quick look online for control of fluid power shows many types of pneumatic valves for use in factory automation, most of them standalone and individually mounted. But there are also many valve manifold options, including compact modular valves, which are often the best option in multivalve applications because they simplify selection, installation, use and ... Read More
 
There’s a Video for That

There’s a Video for That

Embedding videos is just one way AutomationDirect’s free Do-more® Designer Software does more. One of the big steps for an automation professional is understanding how to control a machine, and a huge part of that is becoming proficient with development environment for the PLC.
 
Is a Micro-controller a Practical Replacement for a PLC?

Is a Micro-controller a Practical Replacement for a PLC?

Since AutomationDirect is in the business of making automation hardware, including PLCs in all shapes and sizes, we’ve been watching the development of micro-controllers for some time. Indications are these devices can do all sorts of sophisticated functions, rivaling PLCs, at an extremely low price point. We see evidence of users experimenting with them, launching ... Read More
 
New Software Adds Programming Efficiency

New Software Adds Programming Efficiency

While the correct selection of PLC hardware has a big effect on the success of any industrial automation project, the capabilities of the software programming platform should also be considered as the right software will enable quick and efficient coding. Opening the software and starting to program- and configure-on-the-fly are one option, but some PLC ... Read More
 
Pump with Efficiency

Pump with Efficiency

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975 marked the beginning of energy conservation standards for industrial, commercial and consumer products and equipment. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) created 60 plus categories of applications and equipment, affecting 30 percent industrial energy use.
 
In the Hacker Age, how secure is your PLC?

In the Hacker Age, how secure is your PLC?

Let’s face it, we are living in the age of the hacker and in the cat-and-mouse game of cyber warfare, hackers have racked up some pretty impressive scores. From the most recent WannaCry attack, to exposing Ashley Madison, to reportedly “stealing an election”, hackers have been busy exploiting vulnerabilities and gaining massive notoriety.
 
Tips for Specifying Variable Frequency Drives

Tips for Specifying Variable Frequency Drives

For well over 30 years, variable frequency drives (VFD) have been controlling the speed of three-phase alternating-current (AC) induction motors. In addition to saving energy, there are many things to consider for maximum efficiency, control, operation and motor life when using VFDs.
 
How to Select a Soft Starter for Your Motor

How to Select a Soft Starter for Your Motor

What may seem to be a simple task of selecting a soft starter for your motor may be a more demanding task than first meets the eye. “I just need to know the HP and Voltage to pick the correct one, isn’t that right?”
 
10 Physical Properties to Sense for Factory Automation

10 Physical Properties to Sense for Factory Automation

Sensors and transmitters convert a variety of physical properties into discrete and analog signals for use by automation controllers. AutomationDirect offers an assortment of these devices for use in the design and operation of machines and processes to create reliable, robust and consistent automation. It may only take a small change in a physical property ... Read More
 
Interlock Safety Switches | Compact Tongue Switches | AutomationDirect

Interlock Safety Switches | Compact Tongue Switches | AutomationDirect

Locking tongue operated safety interlock switches provide a tamper-resistant actuator mechanism for sliding or lift-off machine guards, as well as a method for locking the guards in place. They also provide robust position interlock detection and locking for moving guards. Safety switches offer positively operated switching contacts for maximum reliability.