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Switching to Do-more Saves Time – Issue 27, 2013

Switching to Do-more Saves Time – Issue 27, 2013

Almost 14 years ago, I converted the controls in my 80KW hydro electric plant, located in the mountains of western North Carolina, from custom micro-controller cards I developed while at Georgia Tech to the DirectLOGIC DL205 PLC with a D2-260 CPU. In 2013, it was time to make some upgrades to the plant by adding ... Read More
 
Students help Manufacturing Center See AND Do More – Issue 27, 2013

Students help Manufacturing Center See AND Do More – Issue 27, 2013

When the mechatronics students at Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) in Hickory, North Carolina, went looking for a suitable project to challenge their recently acquired PLC and HMI skills, they didn’t have to go far.  The college’s Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) in nearby Conover needed a way to monitor the status of a large group ... Read More
 
Illinois Institute of Technology Competes in Hybrid Racing – Issue 25, 2013

Illinois Institute of Technology Competes in Hybrid Racing – Issue 25, 2013

A student team, lead by Donald Ruffatto, from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) SAE International chapter contacted AutomationDirect in late 2011, asking detailed questions about our Productivity3000 Programmable Automation Controller (PAC). They were planning to use it to control an electric car that they were building for the Formula Hybrid International Competition, hosted by ... Read More
 
Gas Turbine Repurposed With PLCs – Issue 24, 2012

Gas Turbine Repurposed With PLCs – Issue 24, 2012

The Midwest Propulsion Group is a jet engine club dedicated to increasing the engineering knowledge and experience base of students by providing real-world engineering tasks related to gas turbine restoration and performance analysis, as well as finding vehicular applications for such engines.
 
Reducing Total Cost of Ownership – Issue 24, 2012

Reducing Total Cost of Ownership – Issue 24, 2012

Automation is a key component when developing strategies to help customers reduce their operating costs. Many times when making buying decisions, people look only at the initial price of an item without considering other factors that contribute to the overall cost of owning that product. For example, a certain laptop may seem like a great ... Read More
 
Biodiesel Fuel Gets a Boost from Automation – Issue 23, 2012

Biodiesel Fuel Gets a Boost from Automation – Issue 23, 2012

Systems produce biodiesel for a total cost as low as 67 cents per gallon, turning waste into profit. Imagine if restaurants and other commercial food enterprises could turn used kitchen oil into fuel instead of simply disposing of it. Then imagine if they could do that in an economic and automated way for a fraction ... Read More
 
Cellular Remote Access Gives Companies Competitive Edge

Cellular Remote Access Gives Companies Competitive Edge

Internet and cellular technology make monitoring and control easier than ever. The automation world, with its distant and often isolated sites, has long sought reliable remote access to cut costs and improve reliability. Instead of sending technicians to distant locations, operators can now access critical information and control systems quickly and easily.
 
Top 10 Tips: Specifying VFDs (Part Two of a Two-Part Series) – Issue 21, 2011

Top 10 Tips: Specifying VFDs (Part Two of a Two-Part Series) – Issue 21, 2011

This is part two of a two-part series on variable frequency drives. In Part One, we discussed how choosing the right variable frequency drive (VFD) can reduce energy consumption, improve realtime control, and lengthen motor life. Here are more expert tips to consider. Select the Proper Control Mode VFD control mode choice greatly depends on ... Read More