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  • Help the BRX PLC Take the Top Spot in Control Engineering’s 2018 Engineers’ Choice Awards!

    Help the BRX PLC Take the Top Spot in Control Engineering’s 2018 Engineers’ Choice Awards!

    AutomationDirect’s BRX PLC was announced as a Control Engineering 2018 Engineers’ Choice Awards finalist in the Machine and Embedded Control – PLCs category. Check out the new BRX PLC here, and please vote considering its technological innovation, ease of use, and impact on the industrial market. Voting closes December 19, 2017, with winners announced on … Read More

  • Halloween DIY How To Prop – Automated Door

    Halloween DIY How To Prop – Automated Door

    Things that go bump in the night takes on a whole new meaning with AutomationDirect’s latest Halloween project. The recent installment in their long-running Halloween DIY How To Prop series shows how quick and simple it is to create a Haunted Automated Door with AutomationDirect parts and service. You and your spooky decorations are guaranteed to … Read More

  • System Integrator and AutomationDirect partner Affinity Energy Designed, Built and Installed a Research Chamber Temperature Control System

    System Integrator and AutomationDirect partner Affinity Energy Designed, Built and Installed a Research Chamber Temperature Control System

    The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill spends almost $1 billion on research annually, ranking eighth among universities in the U.S. However, it was spending too much money and time supporting an existing temperature chamber control system.

  • Emergency Stop Control Stations: One Push Can Save Your Life

    Emergency Stop Control Stations: One Push Can Save Your Life

    Let’s take a minute to think about how far we have advanced with innovation and technology. It is truly amazing when you look at the devices and products we develop these days. From a simple small piece of wood with a spring-loaded thin u-shaped metal rod and an extremely simple trigger mechanism designed to reduce … Read More

  • Every Motor Deserves a Quality Liquid-Tight Conduit

    Every Motor Deserves a Quality Liquid-Tight Conduit

    You get a call from the production floor because a machine is not running right. You go check it and find out that the motor is acting up, has corrosion damage inside the junction box, which is probably also contributing to the imminent death of the motor. Now you need to replace it but don’t … Read More

  • Industrial Surge Protection: Why Use Mersen Surge Protection Devices?

    Industrial Surge Protection: Why Use Mersen Surge Protection Devices?

    Most of us have a basic idea of what power surge means. We know it is something that affects the electric power we receive and that it can cause serious damage to industrial equipment, computers, and sensitive electronics. To offer a simple definition, a power surge is a fluctuation of the voltage coming in through … Read More

  • Enclosure Thermal Management: Product Types and Selection Overview

    Enclosure Thermal Management: Product Types and Selection Overview

    Industrial facilities use many electrical enclosures to house automation and electrical components. Several of these enclosures require cooling and/or heating to control the climate within the enclosure to prevent condensation or component overheating. In this SlideShare, you will learn about the different types of climate control, reasons for use, and how to select and size … Read More

  • What is IP69K?

    What is IP69K?

    IP69K is a product standard rating developed to ensure that products carrying this rating comply with required simulated environmental conditions. The most common areas requiring IP69K devices are areas where heavy washdowns are required. Therefore, IP69K rated devices are a must to prevent damage to electronic devices and instrumentation during the washdown procedures. In this … Read More

  • A Ferrule is a Ferrule is a Ferrule… Right?

    A Ferrule is a Ferrule is a Ferrule… Right?

    What is a Ferrule? I ask myself this question thinking specifically of the small metal tube with a colored insulated plastic end where you can insert wire strands and crimp the tube securely to the wire. To answer this question, I decided to do an internet search to see what I could find describing a … Read More

  • Patlite Stack Lights: Stacked Above the Rest

    Patlite Stack Lights: Stacked Above the Rest

    I remember years ago walking into a production facility and being intrigued by the processes taking place in each section of the production line. It was so interesting to see how things were shaped, packed, filled and more. Every step or section of the production line had a specific purpose that needed to be completed … Read More

  • The Simplicity of Pneumatics

    The Simplicity of Pneumatics

    Just like electricity, natural gas and water, compressed air is often a required utility in manufacturing facilities. Although compressed air is a bit more expensive compared to electricity for industrial machinery applications, it has other advantages and is thus frequently used to drive mechanical motion. Chip McDaniel, Technical Marketing Engineer at AutomationDirect, wrote an article … Read More

  • Video: Arduino versus BRX PLC for Industrial Control

    Video: Arduino versus BRX PLC for Industrial Control

    In the August 2017 issue of Control Design, the cover story discussed how micro-controllers coming out of the “maker” world hope to someday challenge PLCs in industrial applications. The article makes for very interesting reading, but if a picture is worth 1000 words, a video must be worth 1000 pictures. Doug Reneker and the team … Read More

  • Robotics Is So Much More Than Robots – Issue 38, 2017

    Robotics Is So Much More Than Robots – Issue 38, 2017

    If you subscribe to any of our media channels then I’m sure you know about our involvement with after-school robotics programs in our community. These programs prepare students for careers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields by getting them excited and engaged when it comes to not only learning new skills, but … Read More

  • Compact Modular Valves Simplify Pneumatic Design and Operation

    Compact Modular Valves Simplify Pneumatic Design and Operation

    A quick look online for control of fluid power shows many types of pneumatic valves for use in factory automation, most of them standalone and individually mounted. But there are also many valve manifold options, including compact modular valves, which are often the best option in multivalve applications because they simplify selection, installation, use and … Read More

  • Emergency! Customer Needs Help. Call Technical Support Team Now!

    Emergency! Customer Needs Help. Call Technical Support Team Now!

    Emergency. We need this working right away – stat! This may sound like a hospital ER, but when a customer’s technical system isn’t working properly, it can feel like an emergency situation. They want answers and solutions immediately to fix the problem right away so they can get back to work as quickly as possible. … Read More

  • AutomationDirect Customer Support Team Handles Staggering Number of Orders

    AutomationDirect Customer Support Team Handles Staggering Number of Orders

    Think your teenager receives and responds to a lot of messages and notifications on their cell phone? If so, they could be a good candidate for the AutomationDirect customer support team. That team processes a tremendous number of orders every day, by phone, email and fax – all with efficiency and accuracy.

  • BRX PLC Speaker Giveaway

    BRX PLC Speaker Giveaway

    Follow these three steps to be entered into a drawing to win a FREE Mini BRX PLC Portable Bluetooth Speaker!

  • There’s a Video for That

    There’s a Video for That

    Embedding videos is just one way AutomationDirect’s free Do-more® Designer Software does more. One of the big steps for an automation professional is understanding how to control a machine, and a huge part of that is becoming proficient with development environment for the PLC.

  • Is a Micro-controller a Practical Replacement for a PLC?

    Is a Micro-controller a Practical Replacement for a PLC?

    Since AutomationDirect is in the business of making automation hardware, including PLCs in all shapes and sizes, we’ve been watching the development of micro-controllers for some time. Indications are these devices can do all sorts of sophisticated functions, rivaling PLCs, at an extremely low price point. We see evidence of users experimenting with them, launching … Read More

  • And the award goes to…

    And the award goes to…

    The 2017 Control Design Readers’ Choice Awards is in its 17th year and we are honored to be placed in the top 5 for many of our product groups. The Readers’ Choice Award is especially gratifying since it is an unaided ballot, meaning no list of suppliers is provided to influence the votes cast.

  • New Software Adds Programming Efficiency

    New Software Adds Programming Efficiency

    While the correct selection of PLC hardware has a big effect on the success of any industrial automation project, the capabilities of the software programming platform should also be considered as the right software will enable quick and efficient coding. Opening the software and starting to program- and configure-on-the-fly are one option, but some PLC … Read More

  • Keeping Kids Engaged in STEM with AutomationDirect and Robotics

    Keeping Kids Engaged in STEM with AutomationDirect and Robotics

    Recently, AutomationDirect’s very own Rick Folea, Senior Technical Marketer, was featured on North Fulton Business Radio speaking about STEM and how local Robotics programs are helping kids learn and become excited about science, technology, engineering, and math. The complete interview can be heard here:

  • Pump with Efficiency

    Pump with Efficiency

    The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975 marked the beginning of energy conservation standards for industrial, commercial and consumer products and equipment. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) created 60 plus categories of applications and equipment, affecting 30 percent industrial energy use.

  • BRX PLCs – Designed to Do-more!

    BRX PLCs – Designed to Do-more!

    The newest Do-more! PLC platform, the BRX PLC, manufactured by Host Engineering is truly an under-budget overachiever. Host Engineering is one of AutomationDirect’s long-time PLC suppliers and a development partner for the Do-more! family of controllers.

  • In the Hacker Age, how secure is your PLC?

    In the Hacker Age, how secure is your PLC?

    Let’s face it, we are living in the age of the hacker and in the cat-and-mouse game of cyber warfare, hackers have racked up some pretty impressive scores. From the most recent WannaCry attack, to exposing Ashley Madison, to reportedly “stealing an election”, hackers have been busy exploiting vulnerabilities and gaining massive notoriety.

  • AutomationDirect Wins Again: 2017 Award Winners for Best Innovations from NED

    AutomationDirect Wins Again: 2017 Award Winners for Best Innovations from NED

    With more than 2,000 new industrial products published across the pages of New Equipment Digest in 2016, the editors and advisors selected the most “disruptive, industry-shifting innovations” they could find. Travis Hessman, Editor-In-Chief, and the team then asked the readers to vote for their choice. With more than 20,000 votes cast, the winners included the … Read More

  • Keep the Train Running!

    Keep the Train Running!

    The maintenance department at Blank Park Zoo (www.blankparkzoo.com) in Des Moines, Iowa was looking for a cost-effective way to keep their train running safely. The train ride is part of the 49-acre park which includes almost 1500 animal specimens.

  • Tips for Specifying Variable Frequency Drives

    Tips for Specifying Variable Frequency Drives

    For well over 30 years, variable frequency drives (VFD) have been controlling the speed of three-phase alternating-current (AC) induction motors. In addition to saving energy, there are many things to consider for maximum efficiency, control, operation and motor life when using VFDs.

  • Automating Hazardous Gas Delivery

    Automating Hazardous Gas Delivery

    When a highly flammable, toxic and corrosive gas delivery system for semiconductor production tools became unreliable, Headway Technologies contracted with system integrator KCC Software for the needed upgrades. KCC Software’s experience and expertise led to the successful replacement of a failing automation system with a new automatic gas control (AGC) system.

  • The Ethernet Explosion Quiz & Giveaway!

    The Ethernet Explosion Quiz & Giveaway!

    Are you ready for the Ethernet explosion? Well, fire up your memory banks and take the quiz below to see how well you know Ethernet!  Answer all 11 questions and enter your email address by June 9th, 2017! We are randomly giving away a FREE Stride SE Series Managed Ethernet Switch. The winner will be … Read More

  • Finding a System Integrator Partner

    Finding a System Integrator Partner

    It is often difficult to find internal resources to complete an industrial automation project. There are many reasons, such as time limitations and other constraints, so the solution often involves the use of external resources from a system integrator (SI). There are many decisions and requirements to consider when selecting a system integrator, and the … Read More

  • AutomationDirect is Atlanta’s 2017 Top Midsize Workplace

    AutomationDirect is Atlanta’s 2017 Top Midsize Workplace

    It’s 5AM and you slowly realize the all too familiar sound of your alarm clock yelling at you to get out of bed. It’s Monday morning, time to throw on something you’ll realize later you forgot to iron, swallow some coffee and jump into the car for your long commute to the office. There are … Read More

  • AutomationDirect’s Support of Robotics Then and Now

    AutomationDirect’s Support of Robotics Then and Now

    AutomationDirect considers itself a strong community partner, and one of our favorite community activities is sponsoring after school competition robotics programs. Why? Because it does such a great job of getting young minds engaged in learning. Attitudes change from “Why do I have to learn this science and math stuff?” to “Oh! I need to … Read More

  • How to Select a Soft Starter for Your Motor

    How to Select a Soft Starter for Your Motor

    What may seem to be a simple task of selecting a soft starter for your motor may be a more demanding task than first meets the eye. “I just need to know the HP and Voltage to pick the correct one, isn’t that right?”

  • 10 Physical Properties to Sense for Factory Automation

    10 Physical Properties to Sense for Factory Automation

    Sensors and transmitters convert a variety of physical properties into discrete and analog signals for use by automation controllers. AutomationDirect offers an assortment of these devices for use in the design and operation of machines and processes to create reliable, robust and consistent automation. It may only take a small change in a physical property … Read More

  • Interlock Safety Switches | Compact Tongue Switches | AutomationDirect

    Interlock Safety Switches | Compact Tongue Switches | AutomationDirect

    Locking tongue operated safety interlock switches provide a tamper-resistant actuator mechanism for sliding or lift-off machine guards, as well as a method for locking the guards in place. They also provide robust position interlock detection and locking for moving guards. Safety switches offer positively operated switching contacts for maximum reliability.

  • Ethernet Basics

    Ethernet Basics

    Ethernet has become a prominent method of communication in industrial automation. Its ease of use, speed, and versatility have allowed it to surpass the older, closed-off, proprietary means. Not only that, but Ethernet has also introduced automated systems to a whole new world of possibilities with connections to high-level IT systems, remote/mobile access, cloud computing, … Read More

  • Ethernet Dos and Don’ts

    Ethernet Dos and Don’ts

    With the popularity of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), industrial Ethernet applications are expanding. The IIoT is helping collect data on plant floors and is using Ethernet cables, connector and switches as key components. Industrial protocols such as Modbus TCP/IP and EtherNet/IP help connect edge devices and instruments to controllers and HMIs. Not only … Read More

  • Managed Ethernet Switches | White Paper

    Managed Ethernet Switches | White Paper

    Knowing when to choose an managed Ethernet switch instead of an unmanaged Ethernet switch for your industrial grade networking solution might not be obvious. Plus, the price differential between an unmanaged and managed switch is significant and can impact the overall system budget.

  • Differences Between IT and OT Network Security

    Differences Between IT and OT Network Security

    Ethernet is used extensively in industrial automation applications, and in the office environments of industrial firms. This leads many to believe the network security procedures used in the office can simply be applied to industrial networks. While this would make implementation easier, it’s not that simple as there are some important distinctions between security practices … Read More

  • Deterministic Ethernet and TSN | AutomationDirect

    Deterministic Ethernet and TSN | AutomationDirect

    Deterministic Ethernet and Time Sensitive Network (TSN) are current industrial automation buzzwords—both related to how control data and information can flow through network pipes. A little history and understanding of industrial fieldbus communications will help explain where we are now and where we’re going with deterministic Ethernet and TSN. The history starts decades ago when … Read More

  • Cool Strawberries

    Cool Strawberries

    MACS Cooler—with the help of Hawkins Engineering, Quantum Automation and AutomationDirect—designed a more efficient precooling system for produce. Not only do these forced-air portable precooling systems reduce labor costs by 60%, they also help assure fresh strawberries quickly make it to market.

  • PLCs Have Many Uses in Radio Broadcasting

    PLCs Have Many Uses in Radio Broadcasting

    There is lots of impressive technology used in broadcasting, but control of transmitters, audio sources, power and facilities is often low tech. A seasoned broadcast engineer is addressing this issue by using PLCs to improve broadcasting, starting with remote transmitter sites at iHeartMedia in Los Angeles.

  • Selecting Motors for Industrial Applications

    Selecting Motors for Industrial Applications

    Efficient use of motors is always important, but there are many other things to consider when specifying an electric motor. Mechanical and environmental considerations are on the list, as is the application and operation. All of these factors are important, but the application is where the selection process should start.

  • AutomationDirect Products Win Again!

    AutomationDirect Products Win Again!

    Control’s 25th annual Readers’ Choice Awards were announced and AutomationDirect was listed as a favorite in the category of “infrastructure” with their terminal block products.

  • Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Awards 2017 | Honorable Mention

    Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Awards 2017 | Honorable Mention

    Winners and Honorable Mentions were just announced for the 2017 Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice awards. For those of you unfamiliar with this award, it highlights some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by CE’s readers and online subscribers. Respondents are asked to select products based on technological advancement, service to … Read More

  • Will That Controller Work in Your Application?

    Will That Controller Work in Your Application?

    Industry has a seemingly endless variety of machine and process control applications, and a correspondingly wide range of controller choices. When selecting a controller, there are many similarities and some differences to consider. And, while some controllers will control just about anything, others may be more suited for a particular task. The main controller choices … Read More

  • Design World Recognizes AutomationDirect for Innovation and Engineering Excellence

    Design World Recognizes AutomationDirect for Innovation and Engineering Excellence

    On January 10, 2017, the editors of Design World announced the winners in their ‘Leadership in Engineering’ Program. Now in its tenth year, the Leadership in Engineering program is a yearlong print and online event to acknowledge engineering leadership across several disciplines. Design World utilizes an online anonymous registration voting system to tally votes for … Read More

  • NED Innovation Awards | Vote Today

    NED Innovation Awards | Vote Today

    Finalists have now been announced for the 2017 NED Innovation Award. Each December, editors and advisors of Penton Media’s New Equipment Digest (NED) survey the 2,000+ new products published during the previous 12 months to find the most disruptive examples of product innovation they have seen.

  • Merry Christmas – 2016

    Merry Christmas – 2016

      We hope you have had a good year! It’s been a year full of anticipation, concern and surprises both in business and in life. And although there are always challenges, we hope that at this time of year, we can all reflect on the many positive influences and experiences we have been touched by … Read More

  • Linear Motion | Automation Notes

    Linear Motion | Automation Notes

    Linear motion actuators are used in factories for pick and place operations, CNC lasers and routers, complex adhesive application or whenever super-precise and accurate positioning is required.

  • Are You Data-Driven? PLC Giveaway

    Are You Data-Driven? PLC Giveaway

    We want to help you collect the system data you need to improve your bottom line. So we are offering you a chance to win a FREE Producitivty2000 Starter Kit, valued at over a $500! All you have to do is tell us how the Productivity2000’s built-in data collection could improve your process, in other … Read More

  • 2017 Control Engineering Awards – Vote!

    2017 Control Engineering Awards – Vote!

    Two new candidates have just entered the race! No, not that race! The race for the 2017 Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice award. For those of you unfamiliar with this award, it highlights some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by CE’s readers and online subscribers. Respondents are asked to select … Read More

  • The Halloween Box

    The Halloween Box

    In every haunted house, you’ll find automated props: chairs that rock on their own, slamming doors, rattling chains, drawers opening and closing as if by some supernatural force. These “tricks” enhance the “treat” of getting the life scared out of you. The process behind making a Halloween prop can be quite simple. Here is just … Read More

  • Lock-Jaw2 Robot Competes in BattleBots TV Show Using AutomationDirect Parts

    Lock-Jaw2 Robot Competes in BattleBots TV Show Using AutomationDirect Parts

    Robots Activate! Is a familiar phrase to those fans who follow the BattleBots competition which just completed its 2016 season broadcast on ABC Television in the United States. One of the BattleBots competition veterans, Donald Hutson, has been involved since the show began and has been on the robot combat circuit since 1986.

  • Specifying Fiber Optic Sensors

    Specifying Fiber Optic Sensors

    Part presence sensing is a critical part of automation. A controller must often sense a part is present in a fixture, or sense the part position on a conveyor, to make logic decisions such as run, stop, etc. Presence sensor types include photoelectric, inductive, capacitive and others—and this abundance of choices can complicate specifying the … Read More

  • Making Enclosure Cutouts

    Making Enclosure Cutouts

    Making enclosure cutouts…there’s an app for that? Before we answer this question, let’s talk about how we normally make a cutout on a carbon steel enclosure. Many of us have been there; we begin with making a drawing, schematic or diagram of how the system is

  • Layered Security Goes Beyond Hardware In IIoT Implementations

    Layered Security Goes Beyond Hardware In IIoT Implementations

    Industry is certainly starting to take note of the IIoT, which raises cybersecurity issues because it requires connecting field devices and other automation system components to the outside world, often through the internet. Connectivity capability is built into many automation components, typically via an Ethernet port, but can these connections be made secure?

  • Are You “Data-driven”? |Industry Survey

    Are You “Data-driven”? |Industry Survey

    With all the talk lately about Big Data and the IIoT, we got to thinking about how much of an impact these trends would have on our industry. Since the primary goal of these two trends is to improve bottom lines/profit margins through data collection, data analysis and remote access, we were curious as to … Read More

  • IIoT – How Close Are You?

    IIoT – How Close Are You?

    “The Industrial Internet of Things”…when you hear that term, what do you think? Now, some of you might be thinking, “Not another IIoT article!” or maybe, “I don’t need IIoT” or perhaps there are still a few of you that are wondering, “What is IIoT?” Well, when you get past all the buzz that is … Read More

  • Condition Signals as Needed

    Condition Signals as Needed

    Discrete and analog field devices provide the bulk of information to control, monitoring and data acquisition systems. Connecting these devices with the proper signal level and without any issues is therefore critical. Fortunately, signal conditioners can smooth or change the signal, address issues, and even provide some simple logic. Signal conditioners often eliminate the need … Read More

  • Beating the Heat | Ways to Keep Your Industrial Automation Equipment Cool

    Beating the Heat | Ways to Keep Your Industrial Automation Equipment Cool

    Summer’s here and with temperatures climbing everyone is looking for ways to cool off. Humans crank up the AC and animals have their own special ways of keeping cool — dogs pant, pigs roll in the mud, and reptiles hide under rocks. In some parts of the world, the heat and humidity can keep temperatures … Read More

  • And The Award Goes To…

    And The Award Goes To…

    The 2016 Control Design Readers’ Choice Awards is in its 16th year and we are honored to be placed in the top 5 for many of our product groups. The Readers’ Choice Award is especially gratifying since it is an unaided ballot, meaning no list of suppliers is provided to influence the votes cast. This … Read More

  • Lockout/Tagout and Machinery Guarding

    Lockout/Tagout and Machinery Guarding

    In today’s automated world, advances in machine complexity, speed and efficiency can result in hazardous risks to operators and equipment. Knowing that faster and more complicated systems are commonplace, it is critical to ensure that today’s machines provide the necessary safety features to protect human lives and equipment. In the U.S. and other parts of the world, … Read More

  • Ethernet in Machine Automation

    Ethernet in Machine Automation

    Fieldbus technology has been around for more than 30 years and has been a great replacement for point-to-point wiring in many cases. It’s widely used for connecting sensors, solenoids and other field devices to PLCs and other controllers. Ethernet is the most popular fieldbus option and it comes in many flavors.

  • It’s a Wrap! Automated Taping Machine

    It’s a Wrap! Automated Taping Machine

    The capstone senior design project is the crowning achievement for seniors at the University of Connecticut School of Engineering.  In this two-semester course, senior students are mentored by faculty and industry engineers as they work to solve real-world engineering problems for their corporate sponsor. Students learn about the principles of design, how ethics affect engineering … Read More

  • Product Snapshots — Issue 35, 2016

    Product Snapshots — Issue 35, 2016

    This digital issue of Automation Notebook gives you snapshots of some of our latest products. You’ll find products from a variety of categories including, Pneumatics, PLCs, Tools, Sensors, Wire and Wiring Accessories. We’ve also added to our Process Control, Power, and Motion Control, Enclosures, and Fuse product categories. Precision Pneumatic Regulators  NITRA High Precision Pneumatic … Read More

  • Robotics Team OTTO is 24th in the World

    Robotics Team OTTO is 24th in the World

    Team OTTO scored many “firsts” throughout the 2016 competition season in the FIRST Robotics program. The students from Forsyth Central High School ranging in age from 14 to 18 have taken the team the furthest it’s ever been – to the World Competition.

  • Putting Ethernet into Operation

    Putting Ethernet into Operation

    Industrial Ethernet is widely used in manufacturing and other applications to connect devices including advanced controllers, PLCs, I/O and servo devices—using a wide variety of configurations and hardware. Industrial Ethernet is also used for connecting upper level enterprise, manufacturing, quality and historian applications to HMIs and cell controllers. All of these connections are implemented through … Read More

  • Team OTTO Continues its Run in World Robotics Competition

    Team OTTO Continues its Run in World Robotics Competition

    The Forsyth Central High School team from Cumming, GA remains strong as it emerged from the Georgia FIRST Robotics competition last week as a qualifier for the World Championships in St. Louis at the end of April. In all, a record 13 teams from Georgia will be attending the 2016 World Championship event.

  • Raising the Curtain on STEM Education

    Raising the Curtain on STEM Education

    STEM-based education is becoming more important in today’s fast-paced technical world. But some kids may have a difficult time with traditional STEM classes especially when a student doesn’t think they’re a “math or science type.” One way to encourage an awareness of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is to look for activities that already attract … Read More

  • A Quick View of SCADA in Oil and Gas

    A Quick View of SCADA in Oil and Gas

    For quick and secure access to production and process data, a PC-based supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system is often the best solution. Whether upstream, midstream or downstream in the process, data can be collected by the SCADA system using a variety of built-in tools. Once collected from controllers and smart devices, the data … Read More

  • A Quick Look At Creating The IIoT

    A Quick Look At Creating The IIoT

    The IIoT starts with edge devices. Connecting these sensors, actuators, motors, drives and other smart devices to PLCs and other advanced controllers is the first step. The connection continues through the HMI to provide data sharing to both local and remote users through corporate intranets and the Internet. Connecting edge devices and distributing the data … Read More

  • Who Pneu?

    Who Pneu?

    Think you know about pneumatics? Well then it’s time to prove it! Take this quiz below to see if you’re a pneumatics expert or just full of hot air! Answer all 10 questions and enter your email address by June 5th, 2016 for a chance to win some awesome prizes! We are randomly giving away … Read More

  • There’s No Vaccine to Prevent this Strain of LOCK-JAW!

    There’s No Vaccine to Prevent this Strain of LOCK-JAW!

    Lock-Jaw is a ‘heavyweight’ (250 lb.) robot built for the 2015 BattleBots competition on ABC. Lock-Jaw’s creator is veteran builder Donald Hutson from team Mutant Robots. Donald has competed in many types of combat robotics events including the original Robot Wars back in 1996 with his first 220 lb robot called Tazbot. Donald is also … Read More

  • Pneumatic Circuit Symbols Explained

    Pneumatic Circuit Symbols Explained

    Directional air control valves are the building blocks of pneumatic control. Pneumatic circuit symbols representing these valves provide detailed information about the valve they represent. Symbols show the methods of actuation, the number of positions, the flow paths and the number of ports. Here is a brief breakdown of how to read a symbol.

  • Understanding Pneumatic Air Preparation

    Understanding Pneumatic Air Preparation

    A steady supply of clean and dry air is required to protect all the pneumatic components in machines, equipment and processes and to ensure their proper operation. While controlling mechanical motion with pneumatics—such as clamping, positioning, pushing and lifting—is often the focus, clean and dry air with enough flow to provide the required pressure must … Read More

  • Pneumatic Actuator (Air Cylinder) Basics

    Pneumatic Actuator (Air Cylinder) Basics

    There are thousands of industrial applications that require a linear motion during their operation sequence. One of the simplest and most cost effective ways to accomplish this is with a pneumatic actuator. Pneumatic actuators are also very clean operating because the operating fluid is a gas, which prevents leakage from dripping and contaminating the surroundings.

  • Valves for Pneumatic Cylinders | Actuators

    Valves for Pneumatic Cylinders | Actuators

    In the pneumatic world, valves are the equivalent of relays controlling the flow of electricity in automation systems. Instead of distributing electric power to motors, drives and other devices, pneumatic valves distribute air to cylinders, actuators and nozzles.

  • How to Specify Pneumatic Tubing & Fittings

    How to Specify Pneumatic Tubing & Fittings

    In today’s modern pneumatic systems, there are a variety of choices available to get the air preparation systems, valves and cylinders connected. Most designers use flexible pneumatic tubing or hose rather than rigid tubing, and many different types of both are available. Fittings offer many choices as well to meet the needs of a wide … Read More

  • Are Pneumatic Components Compatible?

    Are Pneumatic Components Compatible?

    The industrial pneumatics market is fairly mature. While there continues to be new developments and technologies, many of the tried and true core products have been around for years. One advantage that this can offer to both system designers and end users is often having several brands of pneumatic components that are interchangeable with each … Read More

  • Electro-pneumatic Systems in Action

    Electro-pneumatic Systems in Action

    In order to perform a task using pneumatics, there needs to be some way to initiate, monitor, and stop the process. This is where a simple pneumatic system becomes electro-pneumatic. Electro-pneumatic systems integrate pneumatic and electrical technologies into one system where the signal/control medium is electrical and the working medium is compressed air. In this … Read More

  • Pneumatic System Design Considerations

    Pneumatic System Design Considerations

    Pneumatic systems as a whole can be simple, but this simplicity can be deceptive when it comes to selecting components. For instance, there are thousands of types, sizes, and variations of cylinders and valves, from off-the-shelf versions to custom designs. The sheer number of choices can be overwhelming, especially when options such as sensors are … Read More

  • Energy Efficient Pneumatic Systems

    Energy Efficient Pneumatic Systems

    Reducing energy consumption is a priority in almost every manufacturing plant and industrial facility, as no company can afford to throw money away using machines and processes that waste energy. Because pneumatic systems are abundant throughout manufacturing and account for a large share of a plant’s power costs, it is extremely important that they run … Read More

  • Pneumatic Actuator vs. Electromechanical

    Pneumatic Actuator vs. Electromechanical

    In materials handling and assembly there are many ways to move an item from one location to another. Conveyors are one way and are widely used, but they can only move objects in a fixed path, limiting their use in more precise manufacturing applications. When more accuracy is required than a conveyor can deliver, such … Read More

  • Pneumatic Application Stories

    Pneumatic Application Stories

    Want some examples of what people are doing with pneumatics? You’re in luck, we have a full collection of Application Stories here. For your convenience we took the time to list some of our favorites. You can see a preview below and then pick the ones that look the most interesting to you. Just remember that … Read More

  • Awesomer: To be even MORE awesome than last year!

    Awesomer: To be even MORE awesome than last year!

    Annually the Atlanta Business Chronicle accepts nominations for “Atlanta’s Healthiest Employers Awards”. This award is determined with the assistance of Healthiest Employers, LLC, who review the applications and select 10 finalists. This award celebrates health in the workplace as well as organizations making strides in six key categories: Leadership Commitment, Foundational Components, Strategic Planning, Communication … Read More

  • PLC-Based PACs Occupy the Middle Ground

    PLC-Based PACs Occupy the Middle Ground

    Have you noticed a gap in the industrial controllers market? PLCs are good at handling your low end applications, but on the high end, many suppliers want to push you into distributed control systems or other expensive and complicated solutions. What’s needed is a controller in the middle, one not too big and not too … Read More

  • Giving OEMs Freedom Gets Best Results

    Giving OEMs Freedom Gets Best Results

    Owners, managers and other decision makers in production facilities should focus on how purchased equipment fills production needs to get the best pricing, delivery and support from machine and process skid builder OEMs. Unfortunately, some instead focus on component specification details, which can make it difficult for OEMs to provide the best pricing, delivery and … Read More

  • DIY Pneumatic Saw Clamp

    DIY Pneumatic Saw Clamp

    Many years ago my father was working on a new shop behind his house. The insides were left for us to finish. We needed to build work benches, shelves and racks. To save money, he bought the longer 2×4 sized lumber and we’d cut it to whatever size was needed. This worked out great but … Read More

  • Why Use Pneumatics

    Why Use Pneumatics

    In manufacturing facilities, compressed air is so widely used that it is often regarded as the fourth utility after electricity, natural gas and water. But compared to electricity, compressed air is more expensive, so 
why is it so widely used to drive factory automation systems?

  • Quote and BOM | Web Tip

    Quote and BOM | Web Tip

    We at AutomationDirect, understand that to you time is money. So to prevent you from wasting both your time and your money, we have made creating a quote and bill of materials on our web store fast and easy for you. Learn more about these helpful web store features below: Super Fast Quotes In fact, … Read More

  • Riada Solves Difficult Packaging Problem

    Riada Solves Difficult Packaging Problem

    When selecting the right shampoo, what factors do you consider? Scent, ingredients, cost? How about packaging? That’s right, packaging. For the follicly-challenged, like myself, packaging may be a real decision maker. After all, luster, sheen and volumizing abilities are kinda lost on me. For most, packaging is an afterthought, if it is a thought at … Read More

  • Pneumatic Success at Ridgeline Machine

    Pneumatic Success at Ridgeline Machine

    Ridgeline Machine made extensive use of pneumatics when building a low-cost, small-footprint, portable traymaker to replace a manual process for one of their customers. Ridgeline Machine Design, LLC (RMD), founded in 2012, is primarily a packaging machinery producer, and the company’s owners have over 40 years experience designing and building custom machinery. RMD builds packaging … Read More

  • Payment and Return Options | Web Tip

    Payment and Return Options | Web Tip

    We know that you have a lot things to worry about in a day, which is why we believe payment and returns shouldn’t be one of them. That’s why all the information you need to get these tasks done are designed to be easy, quick, and efficient. Check out some of these helpful web store features below: PayPal is … Read More

  • FIRST TEAM |Five Years and Counting…

    FIRST TEAM |Five Years and Counting…

    On January 12th, the publisher of AutomationWorld, Jim Chrzan, announced the list of “First Team” suppliers as recognized by their readers and subscribers for their Leadership in Automation 2015 program. The goal of the program is to showcase readers’ preferred suppliers across a variety of automation technologies.

  • Product Pictures and Images | Web Tip

    Product Pictures and Images | Web Tip

    We are constantly striving to make shopping for industrial control products easier for you. One of the ways we do that is by providing numerous pictures and detailed images of our products on our web store for you to access 24/7. All so you can have more confidence when you purchase because you know exactly … Read More

  • EtherNet/IP | Automation Notes

    EtherNet/IP | Automation Notes

    As technology advances, so does the speed at which it communicates. And with the advances made in industrial controls, the need for high-speed data transmission became a priority. As a result, Ethernet communication became more and more prevalent in industrial networks and prompted many industrial equipment manufacturers to implement their own Ethernet communication protocols. These … Read More

  • Reviews and Recommendations | Web Tip

    Reviews and Recommendations | Web Tip

    When we became the first automation supplier with a 24/7 online store in 1999, we made it easier to research and purchase industrial automation parts. Today, we continually strive to improve the service we provide to our customers by showcasing customer reviews and including recommended products when you shop on our web store. Customer Reviews … Read More

  • PLC Training Giveaway!

    PLC Training Giveaway!

    We want to help you resolve to learn more this year by offering you a chance to win a FREE PLC Training Course of your choice from InterConnecting Automation, valued at over $800! All you have to do is tell us what kind of PLC application you’re currently working on and enter your email address … Read More