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Issue 43, 2020

It was dark, early morning, and as I drove my daily commute I suddenly became aware of a long white streak forming across the black sky. Is something on fire? Are we under attack? I immediately tuned to the local news station which was receiving numerous calls from concerned listeners. The news station reported that Boeing was testing their new Starliner astronaut delivery spacecraft. It had launched that morning from Cape Canaveral and was visible for a large part of the eastern coast. It’s awesome how space travel is being revolutionized by companies like Boeing and SpaceX and pretty cool to get to see it, even if by accident. But it got me thinking about the many innovations that have changed our everyday lives. How many people have VCRs today or know the name Blockbuster? When’s the last time you turned a key to start a new car? Who knows where the nearest pay phone is or has the change in their pocket to use it? I could go on and on and that’s just the consumer world. Industrial automation has also changed quite a bit over the years with many advancements still to come. But no matter what new innovations develop in the industrial automation realm, you can trust AutomationDirect to make them affordable and accessible to everyone.  

This issue of NOTEBOOK is loaded with informative content such as the Tech Thread, which takes a closer look at open-source controllers and the new ProductivityOpen CPU. We also have a great Cover Story on the benefits of connecting PLCs to the Internet. The User Solution shows how the CLICK PLC brought new life to an ageing roller coaster, and our Student Spotlight showcases the University of British Columbia (UBC) Student Rocket Team and their Productivity2000-based rocket design test stand. In the What’s New section, you can see a roundup of our newest eBooks and video content, the New Product Focus details the new ProductivityOpen controller, cut-to-length cable additions, and thousands of newly added Hammond enclosures, and the Business Notes section discusses many of the happenings here at AutomationDirect. As always, the Break Room is stocked with fun brainteasers so see how many puzzles you can solve.

  • AutomationDirect adds Headless C-more Remote HMI without Attached Display

    AutomationDirect adds Headless C-more Remote HMI without Attached Display

    Intended for the user who doesn’t require a built-in HMI display, needs a larger display, or would rather strictly use the C-more mobile app, the C-more® EA9 series remote (headless) HMI unit provides all the functionality of an EA9 touch panel without the extra cost of a touchscreen interface. The headless unit supports an HD1280x720 … Read More

  • Continuous Flexing Profinet Cable from AutomationDirect

    Continuous Flexing Profinet Cable from AutomationDirect

    DataMax Extreme® Industrial Profinet cables are a two-pair shielded construction with 22AWG twisted pair conductors and 7/30 stranded tinned copper with color coded high-density polyethylene insulation. Shielded constructions include both a tinned copper braid shield and aluminized polyester foil overall shield. The cable’s outer jacket is pressure extruded Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) with excellent moisture, chemical, … Read More

  • ProductivityOpen Arduino-compatible Controller from AutomationDirect

    ProductivityOpen Arduino-compatible Controller from AutomationDirect

    The open-source Productivity®Open platform provides all the great features of a standard Arduino plus the added power and reliability of an industrial controller. The processor circuit of the P1AM-100 Arduino-compatible CPU is designed to mimic the Arduino MKRZero microcontroller. The P1AM-100 is compatible with most available Arduino MKR format shields, and/or the industrially-hardened ProductivityOpen shields, … Read More

  • Hammond Industrial Enclosures from AutomationDirect

    Hammond Industrial Enclosures from AutomationDirect

    Hammond Manufacturing® enclosures, including disconnect, stainless, commercial, console and other enclosure styles, are now available from AutomationDirect along with our existing AttaBox®, Hubbell-Wiegmann® and Integra enclosure offerings. A wide variety of metal and non-metal enclosures, rated NEMA 1, 3, 3R, 3S, 4, 4X, 6, 6P, 12 or 13, are available in wall-mount, floor-mount and freestanding … Read More

  • ProductivityOpen – Maker In, Industrial Out

    ProductivityOpen – Maker In, Industrial Out

    By Bill Dehner, Technical Marketer, AutomationDirect One of the most talked about new trends in industrial automation is the use of single-board microcontrollers. These controllers, along with their open-sourced programs, have begun to show up in industrial applications. Many up-and-comers, introduced to this type of control early on, are fueling this trend but if you come … Read More

  • AutomationDirect Employees Enjoy Helping Students in Internship Program

    AutomationDirect Employees Enjoy Helping Students in Internship Program

    A key AutomationDirect value is to be a responsible, involved citizen of the communities where team members live and work. That’s one of the reasons the company has served for the past two years as an employer for Internship Forsyth which gives students the opportunity to learn real-world skills by working at local companies. The … Read More

  • Nine Years Strong – First Team Honoree

    Nine Years Strong – First Team Honoree

    For the ninth year in a row, Automation World readers have voted for their “First Team” suppliers in PMMI Media Group’s 2020 Leadership in Automation program. This year, AutomationDirect made “First Team” in the following categories: HMI Hardware HMI Software PLCs/PACs First Team Honoree Automation World, a leading business magazine serving automation professionals, asks their … Read More

  • Does Your PLC Talk JSON?

    Does Your PLC Talk JSON?

    The newest PLCs can communicate directly with internet websites, creating new automation possibilities. By Eric Witcher, AutomationDirect The July 2019 issue of Control Engineering magazine featured a cover story describing how modern industrial controllers are now able to interact directly with internet resources. Titled Benefits of Connecting a PLC to the Internet, this article shows … Read More

  • Roller Coaster Overhaul

    Roller Coaster Overhaul

    Automated Integration replaced many relays, an old PLC and what seemed like miles of wire when it upgraded the control and safety system on the Hurricane roller coaster in New Mexico. By Manny Salazar, Manager, Automated Integration, LLC. The Hurricane roller coaster was purchased from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk in California, where it was originally … Read More

  • Industrial Automation with a Mission

    Industrial Automation with a Mission

    A student design team developed a PLC-based control system to safely automate a test stand and prove out an engine prior to rocket launch. By Simon Bambey and Griffin Peirce, UBC Rocket Student Team At the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, a group of determined students faced a technical task more challenging … Read More