When you think of Georgia, what comes to mind? Peaches? Vidalia onions? The Atlanta Falcons? For sure AutomationDirect’s in there, but what about Stranger Things? I don’t mean things that are stranger than AutomationDirect, I’m talking about the popular Netflix series that is filmed primarily in and around Atlanta, GA. At first, I had no interest in this series but when it pulled my son away from his YouTube channels, something that no other show managed to do, I decided to take a quick glance. That quick glance led to a binge watching of all three seasons and I’m now anxiously awaiting the next installment. You see, I’m a child of the 80s and this show captures that era perfectly. With the music, the cars, the clothes, even the retro style Burger King wrappers, this show had me as a fan very quickly. So much so, that I recently went on a self-made “tour” of some of their film sets around town. On my first stop (Hawkins Middle School), it became very apparent that I wasn’t the only one doing this and it amazed me how a show’s fans can turn an ordinary location into a busy tourist attraction. Just like with our customers, the fans of the show are its lifeblood, allowing it to thrive and keeping it alive. At AutomationDirect, we know we wouldn’t be here without all of you and we’re so grateful for every one of our customers. We’ll always keep your best interest in mind and hope that you’ll continue to trust us with your automation needs

This issue of NOTEBOOK is filled with informative content such as our PLC Speaking section, which demonstrates how FIFO queues are used in package handling operations. We also have a great Cover Story on the growing popularity of using mobile apps for machine interfacing. The User Solution shows how CTC Crushing improved their rock crushing operation with Productivity PLCs, and our Student Spotlight focuses on Eastern Washington University students and their automotive semi-active suspension system. In the Tech Thread section, we take a closer look at the differences between traditional and hosted VPNs, the New Product Focus portion provides information on our cut-to-length cable additions and the STRIDE Pocket Portal cloud data logging solution, and the What’s New? section highlights some of our many other informative content pieces. As always, the Break Room is stocked with fun brainteasers to test your knowledge, so see how many puzzles you can solve. Don’t forget to check out our library site (library.automationdirect.com) for more amazing content and visit our store (www.automationdirect.com) to see all our current and new product offerings.

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In this issue of the Automation Notebook…

Issue 42 - 2019New ProductNewsPress ReleasesPress Releases

Control and Signal Cable in Specified Cut Lengths from AutomationDirect

Control and signal cable from AutomationDirect is available in customer specified one-foot increment lengths in sizes from 22 AWG to 16 AWG with 2, 3 and 4 conductors, shielded and unshielded.  The cable carries both UL and CSA approvals. Individual conductors are stranded tinned copper with PVC insulation in black, red, white and green color…
Issue 42 - 2019New ProductNewsPress ReleasesPress Releases

STRIDE Pocket Portal IoT Bridge Cloud Data Logger with IO from AutomationDirect

The “Internet of Things” for industrial applications (IIoT) allows greater visibility and access to machine and process data through cloud computing. The STRIDE Pocket Portal is a low-cost ($120.00) industrial wireless IoT end-to-end cloud data logger that connects industrial equipment and sensors to the cloud. The Pocket Portal has an RS-485/power port, input/output port, browser…
CommunicationsIssue 42 - 2019Learning ResourcesOnline BlogProduct

What’s the Difference Between Traditional and Hosted VPNs?

Jonathan Griffith, Product Manager, Industrial Communications & Power Supplies at AutomationDirect, wrote an article for Machine Design April 2018 titled What’s the Difference Between Traditional and Hosted VPNs? Griffith points out that connecting programmable logic controllers (PLCs), human machine interfaces (HMIs) and other automation system components to the industrial internet of things (IIoT) for remote…
ApplicationAutomation NotebookDistribution/LogisticsIndustryIssue 42 - 2019Learning ResourcesMaterial HandlingNotebook IssuePackagingProductProgrammable Control

PLC Package Handling

PLCs play a major role when it comes to material or package handling operations. Conveyors, motors, drives, object detection sensors and of course controllers are used quite often when it comes to delivering your suitcase to the right airplane or getting the laptop you ordered to the right delivery truck. But how would you go…
Automation NotebookData System MonitoringIssue 42 - 2019Learning ResourcesMachine ControlNotebook IssueOperator InterfaceProduct

Mobile Industrial is the New Normal

Most plant floor workers already carry mobile devices, so using them to access, control and monitor equipment is a natural next step. The September 2018 issue of Control Design magazine featured a cover story spotlighting new and better ways for delivering a mobile industrial operator interface experience. Titled A Better Interface, the article presented input…
ApplicationApplication StoriesDrivesHMIIndustryIssue 42 - 2019Machine ControlManufacturingMotorsNotebook IssueOperator InterfacePLCProcess ControlProductProgrammable ControlVariable Speed Drives

Crushing the Control System

Upgrading to a modern control system platform with the help of a local system integrator transforms a rock crushing plant from manual to fully automatic operation. By Todd Timpa, Assistant General Manager at CTC Crushing Impact Sand and Gravel is the leading supplier of aggregate and sand in the Las Vegas area, producing and distributing…
ApplicationApplication StoriesAutomationDirect SpotlightEducation/DIYIndustryIssue 42 - 2019Machine ControlNotebook IssuePneumaticsPneumaticsProductStudent Spotlight

Eastern Washington University Students Look for a Smooth Ride

Everyone likes a smooth ride in their vehicle — unless you are off road in a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Most of us will avoid the bumps and potholes to drive on the smoothest pavement possible. Car manufacturers recognize this too. They spend lots of money on TV, print and digital advertising to promote that their…
Issue 42 - 2019Notebook Issue

Brain Teasers - Issue 42, 2019

1.) The Fly’s Journey      The fly can crawl completely around the base of this solid cube in four minutes.  How long would it take for it to crawl from corner A to corner B? 2.) The Ant and the Honey      An ant is on the outside of a cylinder one inch from the…