AutomationDirect E-mail Newsletter

E-Notes from Captain's Log aboard AutomationDirect.com
Volume 6 Issue 2

Welcome to our periodic e-mail update of what's new and happening at AutomationDirect. You are receiving this e-news because you subscribed to the AutomationDirect newsletter. Just go to http://notify.automationdirect.com/newsletter if you wish to unsubscribe.

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EDITOR'S NOTES

If you were at National Manufacturing Week, we hope you stopped by to check out our booth and chat. Read more about our first visit to the show in "Company News".

As usual, we welcome your comments. Contact us at newsletter@automationdirect.com if you've got comments or suggestions concerning this newsletter.

 

IN THIS ISSUE

COMPANY NEWS

  • National Manufacturing Week recap
  • AutomationDirect wins Control Engineering's Customer Satisfaction Award
  • New Web seminars now offered
  • Schedule for Interconnecting Automation training

NEW PRODUCTS

  • Supplementary protector line now offered
  • New solid-state relays added to product offering
  • Several new sensor models now available

PRODUCT SHORT TAKES

ONLINE SPOTLIGHT

  • E-check option now available for open invoices

SUPPORT SOLUTIONS

  • PLCs – the new data acquisition devices

TECH TALK

  • Application of the month

THE LIGHTER SIDE

 

 

COMPANY NEWS

National Manufacturing Week recap

ADC at National Manufacturing WeekNational Manufacturing Week was held from Feb. 23-26, 2004, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois and for the first time in our company's history, we were there to show off products and meet our customers. (We may have even picked up a few new ones along the way!) The show gave us a good opportunity to offer technical demonstrations and display literature for new products, including Fuji Electric motor controls, Marathon MicroMax motors, relays, signal conditioners and more. And, it was fun to finally meet some customers face to face. Thanks to all our customers who stopped by to say "hi"!

AutomationDirect wins Control Engineering's Customer Satisfaction Award

Control Engineering's yearly Customer Satisfaction Survey quantifies user comfort with 92 control and instrumentation manufacturers across 16 product categories. This year, AutomationDirect landed in the top three in three of the product categories, including a first place finish in the "PLC hardware and software" category. The comprehensive user survey included questions concerning areas such as products, repair services, software upgrade services, technical support and factory recalibration services, probing such issues as ease of installation, price, ease of reaching the correct support person, etc. The complete questionnaire and article can be viewed online at www.controleng.com. We'd like to thank all our customers who participated in this survey!

Web seminarsNew Web seminars now offered

We've added new Web seminars to our schedule, including a micro PLC seminar and one that covers our new Promis-e electrical design software. All of our seminars are free and we've been adding new topics to the schedule and will continue to do so. Check out our web site for seminar descriptions and times and to enroll.

Schedule for Interconnecting Automation Training classes

Interconnecting Automation, an AutomationDirect federation partner, delivers training to customers using AutomationDirect products. Classes for PLC-based systems are held around the country and are delivered by Doug Bell, who has over 20 years experience in the industry. Following is the schedule for training classes for the first half of 2004:

Introductory Classes:
April 6-8 Irvine, CA
May 4-6 Charlotte, NC
June 22-24 Orlando, FL

Advanced Classes:
May 11-13 Atlanta, GA
June 1-3 Irvine, CA

ICA logoInterConnecting Automation is also now offering a PID class. Doug Bell will team up with Cecil Smith, a 30 years+ expert in PID function. The class is two days and is strictly devoted to PID function. You'll get experience with state-of-the-art equipment and have the benefit of two instructors at your disposal.

The PID class will educate you on the short cuts and tools that the experts know and use. You will learn to setup, tune, troubleshoot and debug PID loops. You'll also get experience adjusting the gain, reset, rate, and many other PID parameters, to see how they affect the loop.

Interconnecting Automation will offer this class only twice this year (May 18-19 and a December date yet to be determined) and it will be held at AutomationDirect headquarters near Atlanta, GA. If you are interested in attending, visit their web site and email your name, address, and phone number. InterConnecting Automation will then contact you with information on this specialty class.

For more information on Interconnecting Automation, call 414-425-8348, email them at icauto@execpc.com or visit their web site.

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NEW PRODUCTS

Supplementary protector line now offered

Supplementary protectors from Eaton ElectricalAutomationDirect is now offering Cutler-Hammer supplementary circuit protectors by Eaton Electrical. The WMS Series protectors are DIN-rail mountable and come in one- and three-pole configurations. They are available in two trip curves: the B-curve trips at three to five times the rated current and is typically used for PLCs, industrial computers, and low inrush type loads. The D-curve trips at 10 to 20 times the rated current for higher inrush inductive loads like transformers and motors. Shunt trips are available for remotely tripping the protector with an external voltage from a control system or alarm device. The WMS Series protectors are priced at $7 for a single-pole device, regardless of current rating or trip curve. The triple-pole devices are priced at $20.

New solid-state relays added to product offering

Solid-state relaysAutomationDirect is now offering several new solid-state and cube relays, ranging in price from $4.75 to $41.00. Solid-state relays are available in 10 or 25 A DIN-rail mountable or 4 A plug-in models. Octal relays are available in 24 VAC or VDC (2PDT or 3PDT), 120 VAC (2PDT or 3PDT) and 240 VAC (2PDT or 3PDT) models. Cube relays are available in 24, 120 and 240 VAC and 24 VDC models (1PDT, 2 PDT, 3PDT or 4PDT). All relays feature two indicators: an LED for the input coil and a mechanical flag for output contact status, as well as pluggable MOVs and diodes and a push-to-test with lock function. The relays fit into standard industry sockets.

Several new sensor models now available

AutomationDirect has extended their line of sensors to include several new categories. The new additions include 5 mm extended distance sensors, AC and DC rectangular photo sensors, light screens, and DIN-rail mountable fiber optic amplifiers, which offer a built-in adjustable timer function. Also available are short-body proximity sensors in 8 and 12 mm sizes, analog output proximity sensors in 8, 12, 18 and 30 mm sizes, ultrasonic sensors in 18 and 30 mm sizes, and non-metal photo or round fiber amplifiers in 18 mm sizes. 8 and 12 mm extension cables have also been added.

 

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PRODUCT SHORT TAKES

AutomationDirect partners with FUJI Electric to offer new line of motor controls

We now carry Fuji Electric's DUO series line of motor contactors, overload relays, and manual motor starters, as well as their Odyssey line of large contactors and overloads. The new offering provides complete motor control solutions up to 300 horsepower. Prices start at $12.75.

microMAX motors¼ to 10 HP Marathon motors now available

AutomationDirect has joined together with Marathon Motors to offer Marathon's performance-matched microMAX™motors. Ranging from ¼ HP to 10 HP, the microMAX inverter-duty motor line is offered with dual 230/460 VAC voltages and a base speed of 1800 RPM. The motors range in price from $99 to $789.

EZTouch line expanded to include MODBUS TCP/IP

We've expanded our EZTouch line to include 6, 8, 10 and 15-inch MODBUS TCP/IP Ethernet slim bezel models. Models are available with a pre-installed interface card that allows operation with either MODBUS TCP/IP Ethernet or AutomationDirect PLC Ethernet network. As an alternative, the EZ-ETHERPLUS option card can be purchased, which enables panels to connect to PLCs (and other devices, including PCs and WinPLCs) using the MODBUS TCP/IP protocol. Panels with MODBUS TCP/IP pre-installed start at $1069 and the EZ-ETHERPLUS option card is priced at $239.

New DL05 / DL06 modules

DL05/DL06 RTD module converts RTD signals into temperature readings

The new F0-04RTD four-channel RTD temperature input module for the DL05 and DL06 line of PLCs offers 0.1 degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit resolution. The module automatically converts RTD sensor types Pt100, jPT100, Pt1000, Cu10, Cu25, Ni120 signals into direct temperature readings. Diagnostic features include detection of RTD burnout or disconnection. The module is priced at $199.

Fast response discrete I/O module available for DL05/DL06

The D0-10ND3F is a fast response 10-point (sinking/sourcing) DC input module with an operating voltage range of 12- 24 VDC. It has 2 isolated commons (5 pts. per common) with a removable terminal. The module is priced at $47.

For further details on these and other modules, visit
http://www.automationdirect.com/adc/Overview/Catalog/PLC_Hardware/DirectLogic_05/Option_Modules
or
http://www.automationdirect.com/adc/Overview/Catalog/PLC_Hardware/DirectLogic_06/Option_Modules


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ONLINE SPOTLIGHT

Online invoicesE-check option now available for open invoices

In our January newsletter we highlighted the addition of an Electronic Check payment option for your orders. We also highlighted the added capability of paying open invoices online with a credit card. Now, you can also pay your open invoices with an E-check.

To pay an invoice online simply login, then from your personal homepage choose "Open Invoices/Pay Online". Choose the invoice(s) you want to pay and select "Continue with Payment". Enter your Credit Card (we accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover) or E-Check information (for E-Check you must have your bank routing and account numbers. Additionally, your entered check address must match the address on file at your bank) and then select "Process Payment". We will mark your chosen invoices as pending until proper approval is secured.

If you have ideas or suggestions on how we can make our Web site serve your needs better, we want to hear them. Please email us at store@automationdirect.com

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SUPPORT SOLUTIONS

PLCs – the new data acquisition devices
By Gary Marchuk, Director, Business Development

In the past, the primary selection criteria for a PLC system would likely have been I/O count and types, memory size, and system performance. However, as PLCs have become more commoditized, "connectivity" has started to emerge as a key evaluation criteria for customers choosing PLC systems. "Connectivity" is a relative term, and means different things to different customers. Connectivity can range from having the PLC system communicate via serial link to a host system, via Ethernet to other PCs or PLCs, via standard modem to a remote host, or even via radio or the Internet. All of these are common requests that our customers regularly have and we are striving to meet the challenge with a host of software and hardware solutions.

Database Conntectivity
INTEWORX.NETCommunicating PLC data to host systems is not new. This has classically been done through the use of a SCADA or HMI system, and AutomationDirect has supported this for years. However, we are starting to see this requirement even in the smallest of applications on our DL05 and DL06 line of PLCs. To ensure that we can meet these needs, we have extended our offering of Ethernet products to include every new PLC product we have. We have also recently begun to offer a number of software products that provide easy-to-use tools to integrate the data into the host software. Our Dataworx product can be used to log data from any Ethernet-enabled PLC system to any connected PC or server on the network. The key benefit of this product is that all data logging is report by exception, and eliminates the need for a SCADA or HMI package on the host system when no graphical user interface is required. We will also be extending our offering of PLC connectivity to provide improved OPC server connectivity with our KepDirect product, which will be released this spring. For those customers wishing to link data from our PLCs directly into SQL and other relational database products, we have partnered with INTEWORX.NET to provide this capability to you.

Dial-up connectivity
Many customers need to communicate to their PLC installations all over the world. Two of our recent OEMs use our PLCs to service several of their installations in remote locations around the country. They have the need to communicate to our DL06 PLC via telephone modem to set parameters and gather valuable data to report back, as well as having the PLC system alert them to errors and supply shortages. The customers have used our standard serial port and either commercial off-the-shelf modems, or our MDM-TEL Modem in order to achieve this result.

Radio communications for control and communications
When the use of hardwiring becomes costly or even impossible due to distance, location or environment, radio communication is the only way to go. Two of our recent customers are using radios to communicate from our PLC systems to their host system. In one case, a large international oil company needed to communicate process data across miles of terrain. In a project commencing this spring, they will be installing hundreds of AutomationDirect PLC stations. Each of these stations will be connected via serial port to a 900 MHz radio to effectively create a network of PLCs that communicates data back to centrally located host systems in real time. The network covers hundreds of miles and hundreds of PLC systems. A second customer, one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world, is installing a network of systems to monitor and control machine efficiency by monitoring system uptime, downtime, and reason codes. They are in the process of installing our Entivity PC control system, with each I/O node communicating back to the Host Entivity PC via our newly announced 2.4 MHz Cirronet Ethernet radio.

In a previous newsletter, our PLC and I/O product manager, Paul Ruland, wrote that PLCs should quickly shed the stigma of being a "silent black box". At AutomationDirect we are making continued efforts to shed this stigma by providing many options for connectivity of our PLCs. We will continue to evaluate even more options in order to provide the best level of connectivity possible to meet the needs of our customers.

If you have any questions concerning these types of applications, or any other application questions, visit our tech support page on the Web at http://www.automationdirect.com/store/TechHome/TechHome or call us at 770-844-4200.

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TECH TALK

Application of the month: EZTouch panel helps increase production in metal stamping applications

Products used: 8" EZTouch operator interface

Description: Kors Engineering uses an 8" EZTouch color panel to help provide a consistent, easy-to-use press automation interface for a metal stamping application. Prior press controls varied press to press, but with Kors Engineering's integration, presses now have a consistent interface. This allows multiple operators to operate multiple presses, as opposed to specialized interfaces that required unique training for each press. Operators can now see the full press operation and also have easy navigation through the press settings. With screens developed in conjunction with the customers' requests, learning curves were drastically reduced. The facility currently has several dozen presses. Since the installations, they are running higher production then they've ever achieved.

Submitted by:
Tony Kaczmarek
Kors Engineering

View our entire collection of Application Stories or submit one of your own

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THE LIGHTER SIDE

In these teasers, you have to find the odd ones out in the groups of words. But there's a catch - each group of words has TWO words which do not belong. Can you find them both?

EXAMPLE:

Lily - Jane - Tulip - Rose

Jane does not belong as it's the only one which is not a flower. Tulip also does not belong because it's the only one which is not a girl's name

Now try these (answers are at the end of the newsletter):

1. Dodge - Ford - Lincoln - Hoover

2. King - Earl - Knight - Bishop

3. Yellow - Green - Dead - Black

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International customers (outside the U.S. and Canada), check our list of affiliates in over 23 countries to find the one nearest you.

Terms and Conditions, Free Shipping and Handling Offer for Online Orders: DIN rail and enclosures are excluded from the offer and will be billed at their normal rates. This offer applies only to orders over $300 in value with regular UPS delivery selected within the continental United States. This offer cannot be combined with any discounts or other special promotions.

Thanks for your time! Comments or suggestions for topics in future newsletters can be directed to newsletter@automationdirect.com

AutomationDirect.com
3505 Hutchinson Rd.
Cumming GA 30040
800-633-0405
2004 AutomationDirect.com All rights reserved

Solution to "The Lighter Side"

1. Hoover does not belong as it's the only one which is not a car manufacturer, Dodge does not belong as it's the only on which is not the last name of a President of USA.

2. Bishop does not belong as it's the only one which is not a class of nobility, Earl does not belong as it's the only one which is not a chess piece

3. Dead does not belong as it's the only one which is not a color, Green does not belong as it's the only one which is not the name of a sea.