For many of us, 2020 held a lot of promise and was expected to be a good year. After all, 2019 ended on some pretty great high notes. A soaring economy, skyrocketing 401k’s, LSU headed to another NCAA National Title (Geaux Tigas!) and Marvel’s best superhero yet – Fat Thor, were just a few bright spots of 2019. But perhaps we should’ve seen the writing on the wall when Burger King released a meatless hamburger made from plants. Now I’m not saying that the Impossible Whopper is the cause of 2020’s mess, but then again I haven’t seen any evidence to prove otherwise.

In all seriousness, 2020 has had some major events that have gripped the nation. Because of their impact, these events capture our complete attention. However, in the face of all the adversities that surround us there have been some positive occurrences. As I write this, the economy and job market seem to be recovering, Space X made a giant leap for commercial space exploration, wireless carriers are rolling out their 5G networks (which some believe will begin an era of augmented reality, AI, and self-driving vehicles), the USSF (United States Space Force) is not only real but they’re hiring, and the demand for US-made products has been re-ignited. Even though this year has bombarded us with bad news and at times we’re ready for it to be over, 2020 still has a lot of potential so don’t give up on it just yet.

This issue of NOTEBOOK is loaded with informative content such as the Tech Thread, which shines a light on our training partner, Interconnecting Automation, and their newest venture – live, online PLC training classes.  We have a great Cover Story on the evolving design standards for human-machine interfaces (HMIs). The User Solutions shows how the Grand Garnisher is using Do-more PLCs to add the finishing touch to the perfect cocktail, and how the Helix Water District improved operations by standardizing on AutomationDirect components. Our Student Spotlight showcases Auburn University’s emergency ventilator project which helped curb a national supply shortage. In the What’s New section, we touch on our 3D CAD in native formats and you can learn a little about our new customer community. The New Product Focus details universal analog options for BRX PLCs, ProSense process controllers, Murrplastik cable entry solutions, enclosure thermoelectric coolers and more. The Business Notes section discusses many of the happenings here at AutomationDirect and the Break Room is stocked with fun brainteasers. See how many puzzles you can solve and compare your answers.

Get the flipbook version.

Download the interactive PDF version.

In this issue of the Automation Notebook…

Issue 44 - 2020NewsPress ReleasesPress Releases

Expanded Communications and Analog I/O Capabilities for the BRX PLC

New expansion I/O modules from AutomationDirect for the BRX stackable micro brick PLC include communications modules, universal analog I/O modules, and universal temperature combination I/O modules. Expansion modules snap onto the side of any BRX Micro PLC Unit (MPU) or BRX Remote I/O controller, creating a sturdy and rugged PLC platform. Added BRX serial communications…
Issue 44 - 2020NewsPress ReleasesPress Releases

Control Cabinet Cable Entry Systems from AutomationDirect

The KDL/D cable entry system allows cables to be installed through enclosures or other bulkhead surfaces, with the added benefit that pre-made, terminated cables can be installed without disassembling the connectors. The split-frame system enables the quick and simple installation of up to 48 cables in a single frame. Four frame sizes, starting at $16.00,…
Issue 44 - 2020NewsPress ReleasesPress Releases

New DURApulse GS20 Series High Performance AC Drives

The DURApulse GS20 Series of next generation high-performance VFD drives provides many standard and advanced functions in a compact reduced size unit. The new GS20X series of AC drives is IP66/NEMA 4X rated for operation in harsh environments. The drives include many of the same standard features as our GS family of drives including dynamic…
Issue 44 - 2020NewsPress ReleasesPress Releases

AutomationDirect adds ProSense Advanced Process Controllers

Made exclusively for AutomationDirect by Yokogawa, ProSense® PPC5 series advanced process controllers handle temperature, pressure, level, flow, and other process variable control applications and offer a variety of control, input, output, alarm and communications options. These 1/4 DIN controllers accept inputs directly from thermocouple, RTD, and analog mA, mV, V signals. Remote setpoint and contact…
Issue 44 - 2020NewsPress ReleasesPress ReleasesUncategorized

AutomationDirect adds Enclosure Thermoelectric Coolers

Seifert SoliTherm® Thermoelectric Coolers from AutomationDirect use the Peltier Effect for closed-loop cooling. The only moving parts are axial fans so there is virtually no maintenance. The Seifert Peltier thermoelectric cooling units can be mounted in nearly every position (except roof mounting) because they don’t have a compressor or any moving parts aside from the…
Company TopicsIssue 44 - 2020News

Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

If you know us well, then you know our training partner Doug Bell and his company Interconnecting Automation. Doug has been with us from the beginning and offers several services that our customers, and many others, gladly take advantage of. Whether it’s free online PLC training videos, on-site/hands-on PLC classes, or control system consulting and…
Issue 44 - 2020Notebook Issue

AutomationDirect Earns World Class Culture Award at Atlanta Supply Chain Awards

AutomationDirect was recently honored with the 2020 Atlanta Supply Chain World Class Culture Award. This award honors a company in the Metro Atlanta area that has an empowering culture internally for team members, a leadership approach that engages the entire organization in a forward-thinking way, and a commitment to engaging and giving back to the…
Company TopicsIssue 44 - 2020NewsNotebook Issue

CAD in over 60 native file formats now available

When designing a new system or updating an existing 3D CAD design, it often helps to obtain existing models from suppliers to speed up the process of development. This helps in several ways: saves time, more accurate specifications directly from vendor and additional product information within the model to help in accurately assessing if the…
IndustryIssue 44 - 2020Notebook IssueWater/Wastewater

Water Utility Successfully Standardizes Automation Practices

This utility standardized and defined best practices for their applications, improving operations while saving time and money. By David Reagan, Helix Water District ndustrial automation installations come in many shapes and sizes. Applications vary from standalone machines up to large processes, and the operating organization may have just one maintenance person or field an entire…
Issue 44 - 2020Notebook Issue

New Customer Community Forum

The new AutomationDirect Customer Community is a place where like-minded professionals can engage with each other and share knowledge, offer advice or exchange ideas. Inside the community you’ll find technical forums that are active with thousands of users including hobbyists, engineers and even some of our development partners. There is also a Knowledge Base which…
Application StoriesDrivesHMIIssue 44 - 2020Notebook IssueOperator InterfaceProductVariable Speed Drives

Automating the Hendrick’s Gin Grand Garnisher

The Grand Garnisher has been turning heads as it tours the United States and Europe. AutomationDirect hardware and software automation underpins the attractive, steampunk contraption. By Stuart Ostroff, Salmon Studios Picture this: you are in the back garden of the grand duke’s estate, enjoying social hour with great company, a botanical cocktail in your hand….
Application StoriesCommunicationsHMIIssue 44 - 2020PLCProductProgrammable Control

CLICK PLC and C-more Integral for Emergency Ventilator

Using readily available AutomationDirect parts, an Auburn University team converted a CPAP machine to a high-functioning emergency ventilator in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the threat of ventilator shortages during the COVID-19 crisis, various organizations called on developers to build “emergency ventilators”. A team at Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering went…
Issue 44 - 2020Notebook Issue

Brain Teasers - Issue 44, 2020

The Pallet Puzzle The puzzle factory cranked out 100 of their new giant floor puzzles and placed them on five pallets for shipping.  The shipping clerk didn’t have the count for the individual pallets – but was told that there were 52 puzzles on the first two pallets, 43 on the second and third combined,…