AUTOMATIONDIRECT PRODUCT AND
All Business Notes
AutomationDirect's YouTube channel,
www.youtube.com/automationdirect, is expanding rapidly with content that falls into three distinct categories. (Videos are also available at http://learn.automationdirect.com.)
"Kickstart" videos are short overviews focusing on newly introduced products – you'll see the parts, learn the basics of the features and applications, all in just a few minutes. They're perfect for getting the highlights of what's new from AutomationDirect. At YouTube, they are all in one playlist called "Kickstart". The man in front of (and behind!) the curtain is Shane Crider, a long-time AutomationDirect techie.
Shane explains, "I came to AutomationDirect with an automated manufacturing degree and background and started on the Tech support team. After four years of helping customers on the phone, fax and email, I was offered the opportunity to help with a new project on Technical webcasts, which we have been presenting now for over nine years. Prerecorded videos have become very popular in addition to the Webcasts. I write, shoot and edit all of the introductory videos on new products called "Kickstart" videos. I love my job and enjoy helping our customers and potential customers learn more about our products and educating them on how to use these products."
More in-depth video series take you from zero to detailed knowledge on a host of popular topics. These series may contain up to 15 videos, leading you through the basics of PLCs, motion control, and process (PID) control, using AutomationDirect products integrated into demonstration systems that relate to real applications. Tom Elavsky, aka "the Professor", draws from years of field experience to make these videos practical and easy to understand.
Tom started his technical career designing relay-based control systems for industrial machinery, and used some of the very first programmable logic controllers. He then worked with metal working machinery, automated production lines, power distribution, water and waste water process control, and even designed animatronics control systems for theme parks. He also taught electrical maintenance classes in the evening at his local technical college.
Here at AutomationDirect, Tom used his forty plus years of experience in industrial automation by starting with Tech Support, then moving into documentation. Most recently Tom joined the marketing team to provide technical content in various forms of video media. Tom takes an application concept, outlines the steps from start to finish as a storyboard, details a hands-on demo, applies the control system components and programming, and conveys the results in a way a viewer can readily grasp. Tom's learning series include downloadable files for further study.
"How to" product-focused tutorials serve up short (two to five minute) snapshots that give specific guidance on using products, particularly ones with programming software. You'll find over 80 videos on C-more micro touch panel configuration, and many newly posted topics for the Do-more and Productivity3000 controllers, including MATH and DATA instructions, as well as the high-speed counter I/O modules. Playlists are organized by product or feature. Rick Folea is the voice of these new series. He learns the new products from the ground up, and translates his experience into step-by-step learning guides.
Rick joined AutomationDirect in 2012, bringing over 35 years of programming and electronics design experience. Rick spends his free time mentoring youth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) through competition robotics programs, and works with the Boy Scouts to create new engineering-centric merit badges.
So rely on our experts and learn at your convenience. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when new videos are posted. And if you have suggestions for topics, email them to email@example.com.
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For up–to-the-minute news, hot technology topics, and even product giveaways, visit our more informal communication outlets. We're at:
C-more Micro how-to series of 84 videos now on www.C-moreMicro.com
The C-more Micro panel series are easy-to-use small operator panels for control systems. But if you need some help getting started, or have a question on a specific topic, you're likely to find the answers in our newly posted series of C-more Micro tutorial videos. Topics range from an overview and "quick start" to detailed explanations for implementing animated graphics.
For all videos, visit: http://CmoreMicro.com/support/video.html or
AutomationDirect products nab multiple awards from magazine readers
The 2012 Engineers Choice Award winners from Control Engineering magazine have been announced, and the Remote HMI app for
C-more won the top honor for the Mobile apps category in Software.
The Remote HMI App allows users to control a machine or process from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as though they are physically in front of the C-more Panel (with "Full Control mode"), or the ability to configure the settings for "View Only", or "View and Screen Change Only" for those applications that are more presence sensitive.
Users need only to configure the network settings in the panel project and connect the panel to a network. The C-more Remote HMI app is available on the App Store (SM) for only $4.99.
AutomationDirect was also honored to learn of our placement in multiple product categories in the Leadership in Automation poll sponsored by Automation World magazine throughout 2011. We are "First Team Leaders" in PLCs, Programmable AutomationControllers, pressure sensors/transmitters and temperature sensors/ transmitters. Thanks to everyone who voted!
Automation World's sister publication, Packaging World, is conducting a similar poll for 2012 for packaging equipment suppliers, and AutomationDirect is listed in the Controls and Automation category. The twist on this "Leadership in Packaging" poll is that the company that garners the most voter participation is designated the "Promotional Leader", and a $2,500 scholarship will be donated in their and Packaging World's names to their choice of a college or university with a packaging program. So help us support our aspiring engineers and use this URL to vote for AutomationDirect:
New PID video series on Learn site
Our newest video series on the Learn Web site, "PID for the Productivity3000 controller", starts with the basics. Part 1 is "What is a PID and what does it do?" Part 2 covers "How Does a PID work?" Part 3 shows an example of a PID loop in operation. Starting with Part 4, they delve into the details of how to configure the PID instruction in the Productivity3000 ladder program, and other supporting logic. There are a total of eleven videos in this series.
And to keep up with new products, take a few minutes to watch our popular "Kickstart" videos. They're 2 to 5 minute summaries of new additions such as safety glasses, dial pressure gauges and thermometers, and soft starters. To see the entire playlist, click on the "Kickstart Videos" link. Also new are over 20 prerecorded Webinars from our AutomationTalk site now available on Learn and our YouTube channel.
For all videos, visit:
Media Gallery feature on Store site offers detailed product information
You want as much information about a product as possible, and we've added a feature to the online store that will give you a lot more visual information. On the item level page for many products, you will see a "Media Gallery" icon underneath the photo. Click on the icon and you'll see more detailed photos of the product from various views, labels, packaging, and even videos if available.
For example, visit our new WERMA stack lights category on the store, and drill down to the item level page for an indicating element. Using the Media Gallery, you can view photos of the product components and a video that depicts all the indicating elements available and how they look in comparison to each other. Now you can see what "blinking" vs. "flashing" really means!
We've just started this project, so we continue to populate all our product pages with more visual content. If there is something you would like to see, email us at:
New PLC tutorial libraries and hardware trainers from ICA
Our favorite PLC trainer Doug Bell continues to add helpful training products to his Online Automation School site on www.interconnectingautomation.com. Now you can purchase low-cost CLICK PLC trainers to use in your own training program or in the CLICK PLC training section of ICA's online school. Through November 30th, orders receive free shipping on any of these low-cost trainers. You can also purchase custom-made PLC trainers, built to your specifications, in quantities of four or more, eligible for free imprinting of your brand logo. Visit the Web site to get a no-obligation quote.
Doug currently has educational incentives available. From now through December 31, 2011, registrants for any of Doug's regular scheduled regional courses (for 2011 or 2012) will receive the "PLC Logic and Principals" DVD set ($395 value) at no charge. Also, customers who register for one of Doug's online courses will receive a $100 discount on any regular scheduled in-person courses offered around the country.
Doug recently expanded his online tutorial libraries in the PLC and communications areas. "DirectSOFT and DirectLOGIC PLCs 101" is based on the wealth of knowledge Doug imparts in his face-to-face seminars. This in-depth look at DirectSOFT software and the DirectLOGIC PLC series offers more than 60 tutorials which run an average of eight minutes each. Topics include inputs, outputs, programming instructions and more. For students unfamiliar with PLC theory, note that this library includes all the videos from the "Intro to PLCs 101". The DirectLOGIC library is $39.95 for a 30-day unlimited access subscription.
With the new "Networking" library, Doug presents the basics of RS-232, RS422, RS485 and Ethernet communications. These on-demand videos discuss the often difficult-to-master features such as master \ slave, client \ server, IP Addresses and subnet masking. More than 17 segments are available, with unlimited access for 30 days with a paid subscription ($24.95).
Also new are 25 videos added to all CLICK PLC online libraries and courses. These additional videos cover: Event Drum Timed Drum Analog In Analog Out Shift Register Subroutines Copy instruction Other libraries available include Productivity3000 controller, C-more HMI, drives and motors, and data collection.
FIRST Robotics student interns at NASA,
works on Mars Rover
Last year in Issue 17's Student Spotlight, we featured a Beverly Hills High School FIRST robotics team that was using the C-more touch panel as an interface to the robot. One of the driving forces on the team, Alex Kern, spent last summer in a dream internship (if you're a technofreak!) – testing code for NASA's next-generation Mars Rover, the Curiosity, whose mission deployment is set for late November 2011. Read how Alex spent his summer vacation in this article on the FIRST Web site at http://bit.ly/rgwhLP.
To read the original Automation Notebook article on Alex and his team, MorTorq, visit http://bit.ly/pSQoOE. And for more details on the Mars Rover Curiosity and its mission, and to check the countdown clock, go to: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/ .
Kickstart and other new videos
Have you seen the newest products launched by AutomationDirect? Now you can watch short videos with product descriptions, features and tips. Our new "KICKSTART" video program can be found on our Learn site and on our YouTube channel. Check out these short two-minute videos on products such as our new compact air cylinders, coiled air hoses, compact fuse switches and more.
Visit: http://learn.automationdirect.com and look for the Kickstart tab along the top.
Or, go to: http://www.youtube.com/automationdirect, where you can subscribe to our YouTube channel and leave comments on each video.
Other videos released recently include a four-part tutorial series where
product manager Jeff Payne shows you how to use the many features of the Productivity3000 PAC programming software. Watch these under the Software tab on the Learn site.
Value Added Services
In keeping with our objective to provide the best value in industrial control products, AutomationDirect's new Value Add Services department provides customers with cost savings by packaging some of our high-quantity packaged products into smaller pre-defined quantities. Product areas where this has been done include fuses, supplementary protectors, DIN rail, and flexible cord.
Other services include some pre-assembly and customization. We can pre-assemble Productivity3000 controller racks with I/O modules based on your specifications. For a nominal charge, this service can save you time and effort, allowing you to complete projects or machine assembly more quickly. For more information on this assembly service, please visit the Productivity3000 Web site. (www.aboutplcs.com/p3000)
For OEMs, we offer a service to apply customer-supplied logo overlays to our products, which gives the equipment a custom look. We're continuing to find more ways to meet your specific needs. If there is something we could do for you, we welcome the opportunity to evaluate the idea.
Give us your 2 cents
Our newest online Customer Forum category is where you can tell us what you think. The Give Us Your 2 Cents forum is the place to provide feedback and make requests on anything from Web seminar topics to Web store features to our company in general, you
name it. You'll have opportunities to participate in brief surveys, provide application story ideas and answer occasional questions. Go to http://forum.automationdirect.com and look for the "Give Us Your 2 Cents" Forum.
Get your Warranty Return number the easy way - online!
We have tried to make our product return process one of the easiest and least stressful you've experienced. As a matter of fact, we get "love letters" from customers telling us how pleasant it was to return a product to us! (We love to hear that, but we don't recommend doing it just for the experience.) But when you really do need to return a
product that is under warranty, you can now obtain the Return Authorization under your account via the Web. (All date codes and/or serial numbers must be supplied before the RA can be issued.) The process is this easy:
1. After you have logged in to your AutomationDirect account, visit our Returns page and choose the appropriate return reason.
2. You'll see a list of your orders which fall within the selected return window. Choose the order which contains the items you wish to return.
3. Verify your contact information, view the list of items from your order, and enter the quantities you need to return. Then "Submit" the return.
4. The Returns Team will look over your return request, and if everything checks out, the necessary paperwork and instructions will be sent to you immediately. (You can also obtain a 30-day money-back return authorization online.)
AutomationDirect sponsors VEX Robotics World Championships
AutomationDirect was pleased to sponsor the recent VEX Robotics World Championships at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (within Disney World) near Orlando, Florida April 14-16. Over 500 teams comprised of 3500 high school, middle school, and collegiate students came together to celebrate their accomplishments and
compete with (and against) the best of the best. These were the top robotics teams from over 200 VEX tournaments that took place around the world from May 2010 to March 2011.
Eleven teams from our local school system (Forsyth County, GA) qualified to attend, and one of those teams (from North Forsyth High) made it to the semifinal round! Congratulations to all the teams who made it to Orlando.
After a series of intense back-to-back matches and elimination rounds, the High School Champion alliance emerged with teams comprised of Massachusetts' Green Egg Robotics Club, Washington's W.A.S.A.B.I. 2 and Ontario, Canada's Simbotics teams.
The Middle School Champion represented an alliance of China teams from Sichuan Chengdu Longjiang Road Primary School and the Shanghai Luwan Teenagers Activity Center.
The College Championship title went to Massey University from New Zealand. In addition, one team from each of the three divisions was presented with an Excellence Award, the
highest honor in the VEX Robotics Competition, given to the team with the most well-rounded VEX Robotics Program. Middle School, High School and College Excellence Award winners included, the VEXMEN: NightCrawler team from Downingtown Area Robotics in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, the Cheesy Poofs from Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, California, and Massey University in New Zealand.
Learn more about VEX: http://www.vexrobotics.com
AutomationDirect launches 3D CAD catalog on
TraceParts Web site
AutomationDirect now has 3D CAD models available through TraceParts, an online provider of 2D drawings and 3D models. Customers can find the 3D models by going to www.tracepartsonline.net and selecting the "AutomationDirect" listing. There are also direct links to the models from the item level pages on the AutomationDirect Web store. We will continue to maintain our libraries of 2D CAD drawings on our store site as well for the foreseeable future.
The TraceParts Online CAD portal is freely available to millions of CAD users worldwide, offering a convenient way to download 3D models in the most popular file formats. This initial launch includes 128 part numbers covering CLICK and Productivity3000 PLCs, C-More micro operator panels, PSP24 power supplies, and GH Series motor contactors and overloads.
We will continue to add 3D models on a monthly basis as new files are completed. Visit:www.tracepartsonline.net to view the complete list of models, and begin downloading at will!
AutomationDirect achieves 10th straight year of
For the 10th year in a row, AutomationDirect has been voted tops in service by readers of Control Design magazine. Their Readers Choice Awards survey polls machine builders and system integrators to rate their experiences with automation vendors. In 50-odd hardware and software categories, survey participants name the companies that provide them the best technology value for the products with which they have experience. Once they choose the best providers, participants rate service and support they receive from them. In 2010, AutomationDirect received the highest service rating of any vendor for the following product categories: PLCs, PLC programming software and Operator Interface Terminals. We also received the highest service score across all vendors. Our dedicated Technical Support team continues to put our customers first, and it shows – thank you all for your vote of confidence!
Atlanta Business Chronicle ranks AutomationDirect as one of the "Best Places to Work" in Atlanta
AutomationDirect was named one of Atlanta's Best Places to Work in 2010 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Employees voted the company to the number two position in the medium-size company category by completing a 37-question online survey. The survey focused on specific categories relating to a company's workplace culture. Things considered included: team effectiveness, trust in senior leaders, feeling valued, manager effectiveness, compensation and benefits. Companies were then ranked and finalists chosen in each size category based on their overall composite score. Winners were chosen based strictly on the results of the survey. According to Anne Reich of the Atlanta Business Chronicle, winners are, in essence, chosen by the employees themselves. In 2010, approximately 500 companies were nominated.
Expressing gratitude, company captain Tim Hohmann says, "This award is the best compliment to our company and management team that I could ask for. We feel if teamers love what they do, they'll naturally take care of customers with dedication and enthusiasm. And that does prove true based on the many customer surveys we do."
05-15-2009 --- THE FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY
Who: Diyan Zagarov
Attending College: Lanier Technical College, North Georgia
Diyan Zagarov grew up in Bulgaria. Growing up, Diyan thought of himself as the adventurous type and often felt the desire to travel and see the world. However, he grew up under the shadow of the Soviet Union, so for a long time traveling outside of his native Bulgaria was very difficult.
As a teenager, Diyan joined the Bulgarian Air Force. Because of his high academic ability and aptitude for engineering, the Bulgarian Air Force sent him to college. After five years of intense study, Zagarov earned a bachelor’s degree in Avionics with a specialization in electrical engineering. In all, Zagarov spent 15 years in the Bulgarian Air Force performing maintenance and repair on Russian MIG fighter jets and Czech L-29 and L-39 training jets.
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Bulgarian government moved more towards socialism and was then recognized by most Western European nations. As a result, travel became a possibility for Diyan. He entered a government-sponsored lottery, and by the luck of the draw, won an opportunity to live and work in the United States. Although it was a very difficult decision, Diyan decided that the opportunity was too good to pass up. So, he moved with his family to Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Diyan now works at Rock-Tenn, a paperboard and corrugated packaging manufacturing company with a location in Norcross, Georgia. The managers at the facility soon saw that Diyan had exceptional technical ability. Diyan recognized, however, that he lacked training on the plant’s automation equipment, especially with PLCs. The best place to receive this type of training in Northeast Georgia is Lanier Technical College. So, Diyan enrolled in the school’s Industrial Systems program to learn how to program, network, and maintain PLCs. .......Click here for the complete story.
01-15-2009 --- THE FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY
Who: Joseph Michael Blakely (Joe)
From: Toledo, OH, USA
Attending College: University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
Major: M. S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics,
graduated December 2008
What first got you interested in your area of focus?
I have been deeply fascinated by air and space vehicles for as long as I can remember. When I was a young child, my parents frequently took me to air shows near Toledo, to the local Air National Guard base to watch jets take off and land, and to the Kennedy Space Center to watch space shuttle launches while we vacationed in Florida.
In my early education, math and science were consistently my strongest subjects. I spent much of my free time outside of school taking things apart to figure out how they worked. Long before attending the University of Notre Dame as an undergraduate, I knew that I wanted to be an engineer, and, given my interest in flight, aerospace was
definitely the best fit.
What has been the toughest challenge in your higher education?
As one reaches the higher levels of education, motivation to complete work comes less from instructors and professors and more from the individual student. Setting and adhering to personal goals and deadlines in research and schoolwork is challenging, but it instills a sense of responsibility that is hugely beneficial to an aspiring technical student.
What career/job/industry do you hope to be involved in after graduation?
Ideally I would like to work in the aerospace industry on electric propulsion devices for space travel.
What do you think is the most important issue facing the world/our country today, and do you have any opinions on possible solutions?
Human reliance on renewable resources for energy production has long been a controversial subject. It has sparked economic tensions, debates on global responsibility, and even war. In time, nuclear fusion will likely provide a cheap, clean, and safe alternative to fossil fuels. Seawater, the most abundant substance on the planet, would provide the primary fuel source. Also, with proper material choices, most radioactive waste would have a significantly lower half-life than from fission reactors.
Describe how the idea for your application of AutomationDirect products came about:
Previously, manual operation of the ZaP Flow Z-Pinch Experiment was the only method of operation. This method was fairly operator-intensive and was open to both variability between pulses and the possibility of human error. Designing and implementing an automated operation system had long been a goal of the project, and DirectLOGIC PLCs proved a userfriendly, cost-effective solution.
10-29-2008 --- NEW PRODUCT REVIEW FEATURE ON WEB SITE
Our Web support team is currently testing a new product review feature on the AutomationDirect Web site www.automationdirect.com. Customers can now read and post their reviews on GS drives, IronHorse motors and C-more operator interface panels. Simply click on the product category's "Reviews" tab or navigate to the item page of one of the selected products. There, you can read the reviews from other customers. You also have the opportunity to add your own reviews. If it proves popular, we plan to add reviews to more products in the future. Check it out and give us feedback on this new feature.
09-20-2008 --- NEW FEATURES FOR
AUTOMATIONDIRECT CUSTOMER FORUM
Since its introduction in 1999 as part of the primary Web site, the AutomationDirect Customer Forum (http://forum.automationdirect.com) has emerged as a valuable resource for automation professionals to explore application ideas, share knowledge, and solve problems. There have been over 5,000 threads containing over 24,000 posts on topics ranging from PLC programming to motion integration. Feedback from the forum has also played a direct role in the development of new and enhanced products.
AutomationDirect recently moved the forum to a much more modern and robust software platform. In the transition, we were able to preserve and import all user accounts and posts from the old forum, and the look and feel should be familiar to anyone who has visited the forum in the past.
.......Click here for the complete story.
06-15-2008 --- ANOTHER GREAT SEASON FOR AUTOMATIONDIRECT SPONSORED FIRST ROBOTICS TEAM
For the Forsyth Alliance, the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics team sponsored by AutomationDirect, the 2007-2008 season was another successful adventure. In its third year, the team, comprised of students from Forsyth County, GA high schools, continued to expand its mentorship of local FIRST Lego League (FLL) teams, starting or supporting programs in all but three county elementary and middle schools. The team conducted the largest FLL qualifier in Georgia last December, which sent nine teams to the State Tournament.
.......Click here for the complete story.
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