General purpose motors have been around for many years. They are the workhorse of almost every industry. An inverter-duty motor is a much newer concept that became necessary as motors began to be driven by VFDs (inverters or AC drives). An inverter duty motor can withstand the higher voltage spikes produced by all VFDs (amplified ... Read More
In the world of garage or basement automation and robot builders, numerous low-cost microcontrollers and related software are used for real-time control. Arduino and Raspberry Pi are perhaps two of the most popular out of dozens of options (Figure 1). These open-source controllers are available from several suppliers, but using them in a real-time industrial ... Read More
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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?”