So…2021…I’d like to say I’m glad you’re here, but as I write this it’s the end of January and with everything that has happened in the last year and beginning of this one, I’m not sure what to expect. I feel like I’m playing a game of BeanBoozled®. If you’ve never played this before, I would warn against it. It’s a risky game of chance where you choose and eat different jelly beans. Although the jelly beans all look the same and look delicious, the risk is in the flavor. Is it birthday cake or is it dirty dishwater? Is it chocolate pudding or canned dog food? You won’t know until you’re a few chews in and the flavor really takes hold. Then it’s a race to get it out of your mouth as fast as possible while your kids laugh hysterically. So, with everything that we’ve experienced in the last year and a month, I can’t really say what 2021 will be. But whether its coconut or it turns out to be spoiled milk, you can count on us to keep you in the game with great products at great prices. 

This issue of NOTEBOOK is loaded with informative articles such as our Tech Thread, which takes a closer look at using cloud portal devices to add IIoT connectivity to existing systems with minimal effort. The Cover Story discusses new controller options that allow open-source control to survive in the industrial world. The User Solutions show how Gulf State Instruments, an industrial calibration provider, used automation to optimize their customers’ processes and how the Nehemiah Manufacturing Co. took automation into their own hands with an in-house wastewater treatment system. You’ll also find information on our newest products, such as the new line of WEG motor controls, WAGO multi-channel circuit breakers, IronHorse farm duty and open drip-proof motors, and lots more. As always, the Break Room is stocked with fun and challenging brainteasers, so give them a try and see how many puzzles you can solve.

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In this issue of the Automation Notebook…

Issue 45, 2021NewsPress ReleasesPress Releases

Productivity2000 PLC Analog and Specialty I/O Modules from AutomationDirect

The AutomationDirect Productivity2000® PLC is a modular, rack-based system with a full lineup of discrete, analog and specialty I/O modules providing over 400 local I/O points. With remote expansion, over 4,000 total I/O points are available. Two new 4-channel analog input modules (from $159.00) provide 0-20 mA or 0-10 VDC inputs, and two new 4-channel…
Issue 45, 2021NewsPress ReleasesPress Releases

IronHorse Farm Duty and Open Drip-Proof Motors from AutomationDirect

AutomationDirect has added more farm duty and open drip-proof motors to its extensive general- purpose AC induction motors lineup. New IronHorse® MTF2 series farm duty motors, priced from $359.00, are totally enclosed fan cooled (TEFC) single-phase 208-230V, 1800 RPM AC motors with increased horsepower ranges from 2hp to 10hp. The NEMA T-frame motors are IP55…
Issue 45, 2021NewsPress ReleasesPress Releases

WAGO Multi-Channel Electronic Circuit Breakers from AutomationDirect

New WAGO multi-channel circuit breakers (from $201.00) are available in two, four and eight channels. These electronic circuit breakers monitor load current and reliably recognize overloads and short circuits on an output. Circuit breaker electronics permit brief current peaks and switch longer overloads off. The rated current for each output of the multi-channel units can…
Issue 45, 2021NewsPress ReleasesPress Releases

AutomationDirect adds More Attabox Enclosures and Accessories

December 9, 2020- AutomationDirect has added to its offering of Attabox enclosures and accessories from RobRoy. The Heartland series of polycarbonate enclosures from AttaBox is ideal for applications requiring protection from moisture, corrosive environments, UV exposure or extreme temperatures. The Heartland series carries NEMA 1, 3R, 4, 4X, 6P and 12 ratings, and is available…
Issue 45, 2021NewsPress ReleasesPress Releases

WEG Electric Motor Controls from Automation Direct

December 9, 2020- New additions to AutomationDirect’s offering of WEG Electric motor controls expand its application space in solutions for switching and controlling motors. The WEG Electric CWB series of IEC contactors meets the requirements of a wide range of industrial applications. The magnetic contactors are available with AC or DC coils, in ratings up…
Issue 45, 2021Open source controlProductProgrammable Control

Industrializing Open Source

Maker hardware and software is now available in industrially-hardened form factors, adding the reliability required for critical applications. Bill Dehner, technical marketing engineer for AutomationDirect, wrote an article for the May 2020 issue of Control Engineering titled Open-Source Benefits for Industrial Controllers. Here’s a summary, click on the link above for the full text. Industrial…
CommunicationsIssue 45, 2021Product

Measure More Using Cloud Connectivity

Tapping into data marooned on remotely-installed automation systems is made practical with new cloud-capable wireless devices. Bill Dehner, technical marketing engineer for AutomationDirect, wrote an article for the November 2020 issue of Flow Control titled Cloud-Enabled Multivariable Measurement. Here’s a summary, click on the link above for the full text. Industrial sites commonly operate a…
AutomationDirect SpotlightCompany NewsCompany TopicsIssue 45, 2021NewsPress Releases

The ProductivityOpen Arduino Recognized in the 2021 Engineers’ Choice Awards from Control Engineering

AutomationDirect’s ProductivityOpen PLC combines the IT-centric open-source capabilities of an Arduino-compatible controller with the robust reliability needed for industrial OT applications. AutomationDirect’s ProductivityOpen PLC was announced as a Control Engineering 2021 Engineers’ Choice Awards Honorable Mention winner in the Machine and Embedded Control – PLCs category. Check out the ProductivityOpen and see how specifying it…
Application StoriesHMIIssue 45, 2021ManufacturingOperator InterfacePLCProductProgrammable Control

Crafting More Complete Customer Service

AutomationDirect products and services enabled an industrial calibration provider to deliver more services to help their clients save time and money. Industrial calibration firm Gulf State Instruments (GSI) has a 20-year track record of helping their customers optimize operations. In this success story published in the July edition of Control magazine, titled Gulf States Instruments…
ApplicationApplication StoriesHMIIssue 45, 2021ManufacturingOperator InterfacePLCProductProgrammable Control

Automating Nehemiah Manufacturing

Using AutomationDirect hardware and software, this company self-performed automation work to meet their needs and ready their team for the future. At Nehemiah Manufacturing in Cincinnati, OH, the core work is producing consumer products such as detergents and cleaners, but the company also supports the community by employing those who need a second chance. Writing…
Issue 45, 2021

Brain Teasers - Issue 45, 2021

Spastic Gasket A robotic applicator needs to extrude a gasket in the above shape without stopping the flow of the gasket mate- rial – or retracing any of the lines. The robotic arm can start and end the extrusion at any position along the path. Can you find the path that will allow a continuous…