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Visit us online or call 1-800-633-0405. Welcome to our periodic e-mail update of what's new & happening at AutomationDirect.
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  In this issue
    Company News

-Forsyth Alliance goes into "Otto-Pallet"

    -Product availability status online
    -Are you a survivor?
    -New catalog shipping soon
    -You get a line, I'll get a pole
    Product Short Takes

-More fuses mean more protection

    -575V motor models now available
    Application Corner
    -DARPA vehicle controlled with DL205 PLC

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© 2006
All rights reserved






Volume 8 Issue 6, September 2006
We hope you find this issue of our e-mail update of what's new at AutomationDirect informative and, at times, a little amusing.
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We always welcome your comments or suggestions concerning this newsletter.

Editor's note:

You talk about HOT!
This summer has been the hottest, nationwide, in over 70 years. Rain, it seems, has become as precious as gold. Gas prices have soared to unbelievable heights. Part of the Alaska Pipeline has been shutdown for repairs. And, to top it all off, I can no longer have hair gel in my carry on luggage. This has certainly been an interesting summer. But, look on the bright side, the kids are back in school.

Things are still heating up here at AutomationDirect. Our newest catalog is at the printers, which features new additions to our product lines. It should begin mailing in mid-September.

This month, you'll read exciting news concerning the Forsyth Alliance Robotics team. Sponsored by AutomationDirect, this team of high school students has been asked to develop a really interesting piece of equipment. You'll also learn about a new online game starring our ever popular Smiley. Plus, we have added features to our online ordering process that help our customers with product availability. Read on to find what's new, and, if you'll excuse me, I need to find a way to ship a rather large quantity of oil resistant duct tape to Alaska…

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Company News
Forsyth Alliance
Another First for Forsyth Alliance Robotics Team
After an exciting and award winning first year, the Forsyth Alliance robotics team, sponsored by AutomationDirect, has been commissioned by a local businessman to design and develop a wagon-style unit to use behind the popular two-wheeled Segway personal transporter. The team, made up of students from local county high schools, will work with their engineering mentor Rick Folea and others to develop what has already been named the "Otto-Pallet," after the robot they built for the national FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition last spring. The concept of the "Otto-Pallet" is to transport relatively heavy items behind the Segway while remaining totally detached. According to Rusty Ray, a North Forsyth High School math teacher, members of the Forsyth Alliance will provide engineering design services and construct at least one "Otto-Pallet" for testing purposes. Plans are underway to complete a working prototype by December 2006. For more information about the Forsyth Alliance, go to:

Product Availability Information Online Product Availability
In response to your requests, we have extended our Stock Status feature to our product listing pages. Now, when you place an order on our Web site, you can see Expected Shipment date information for out of stock and partial stock items. Simply click on the Item Code, enter a quantity, and click Update. If the quantity in stock is less than your order, the number backordered will be displayed with an Estimated Shipment date. This enables you to quickly review current stock status before adding the items to your shopping cart. Please feel welcome to send your store comments to us at:

Help Smiley get off the island

Are You a Survivor?
Test your knowledge of industrial automation by playing "Smiley's Island." In this fun game, AutomationDirect's popular mascot, Smiley, is shipwrecked on an uncharted island. He has all the tools he needs to survive, but he needs your help. Help Smiley dodge cranky crabs and manic monkeys as he collects tools to repair a shelter to protect him from the elements. By answering questions on a variety of automation topics, you can help Smiley build an automation system to make his stay more comfortable. Top scores are displayed to give you bragging rights among your coworkers, as well as qualify you for prizes. To take the voyage, click on "Smiley's Island."

2006 AutomationDirect catalog

New Catalog Shipping Mid-September
AutomationDirect's volume 11 catalog offers over 6,000 industrial automation products for a wide range of applications. The latest volume (over 1,900 pages) features product descriptions, technical data, photos, and price lists for PLCs, touch panels, AC drives/motors, sensors, pushbuttons, enclosures, and more. For a free copy or more information, visit or call 1-800-633-0405.

You Get a Line, I'll Get a Pole
You may think we sit in our offices 24/7 searching for new products and looking for new ways to provide our customers with quality service and support. Even though it may feel that way at times, we do have lives away from here. Our own Keri Schieber has an amazing one. Keri

Just to look at her, in her professional business attire, one would never guess this little Michigander-turned-Georgia-Peach to be quite the angler. As a competitive co-angler, Keri is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. This was proven recently as the Toyota Women's Bassmaster Tour floated into Lake Dardanelle State Park in Russellville, Arkansas.

During the three-day event, Keri competed against some 94 other co-anglers in scorching heat to finish in tenth place. With this achievement, Keri has moved to fourth place for the season with one tournament remaining for the year.

The final tournament of the year will be on Bull Shoals Lake in Theodosia, Missouri in September. The top twelve pros and co-anglers after this event will qualify to fish the National Championship on Lake Mitchell in Alabama next year. We are confident that Smiley will be on her side. Either way, we are definitely proud of Keri's accomplishments this year.

Is it just me, or are you now humming the theme song to "The Andy Griffith Show," too?

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Product Short Takes

More Fuses Mean More ProtectionFuses from AutomationDirect
AutomationDirect has extended its line of Edison fuses to include the J, RK1, and RK5 classes of fuses to provide some of the best protection possible for motors, transformers and other inductive and heating loads. These current limiting fast-acting and time-delay fuses are available with either 250 or 600 VAC ratings, depending on type, and are UL and CSA approved.

This fuse line extension also includes glass and ceramic fuses to provide fast-acting and time-delay protection for electronic needs including PLC outputs, pilot lights and other control devices. To complement the new line of fuses, AutomationDirect is also expanding its line of fuse holders and fuse blocks. Prices for electronic fuses start at $1.25 (for a pack of 5).
More information on fuses

More Motors with More PowerMarathon Motors at AutomationDirect
AutomationDirect has extended their line of Marathon Blue Chip XRI and Black Max vector duty motors to include 575V models. Blue Chip XRI motors improve system reliability while maintaining optimum motor system efficiency. When used on long run time or high cycle applications, they offer substantial energy savings. Available in 15-100 hp sizes, Blue Chip XRI motors meet NEMA Premium efficiency levels and are an excellent choice for use with compressors, blowers, conveyors, pumps, and in dirty or dusty environments. Prices start at $765.00.

The Black Max motors' low-inertia design is well-suited for high-performance applications such as machine tools, crane and hoist systems, extruders, conveyors, accumulators, palletizers, packaging, and converting equipment. The new 575V models are available in sizes ranging from ½ to 30 hp. Prices start at $185.00.
More information on motors

Application Corner

"The Lights are On, But Nobody's Home." DARPA Mojavation and AutomationDirect

That is the motto of Team Mojavaton (pronounced "mo-HAH-vuh-tahn"), a western Colorado team that participated in the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge is a field test of robotic ground vehicles for the purpose of advancing autonomous vehicle technology. Each vehicle contains a computer system, a variety of sensors, and GPS localization equipment necessary to drive the vehicle without human intervention. Unlike other industrial applications where a maintenance person can attend to machine failure, things are different in the DARPA Challenge. Once the vehicle leaves the starting line in autonomous mode, no one is allowed near it. If anything fails causing the vehicle to stop or crash, it's out of the competition.

Unlike other vehicles in the competition that use multiple computers and a very complex system of communication, Team Mojavaton has designed their vehicle for maximum reliability. Team Mojavaton's Xterra, known as the White Knight, uses the DirectLogic 205 PLC from AutomationDirect as the central hub for most on board communication. Team leader Jim Crittenden describes the situation this way, "In machine design, simplicity is always your friend. One of the most common mistakes in machine design is unnecessary complexity."

Other teams in the competition use as many as eight different computers in their vehicles, while Team Mojavaton uses only one. Crittenden says, "Our one computer communicates with the sensors and other system components through this DirectLogic 205 PLC. This PLC has proven itself to be rugged and reliable. When you consider that it is mounted in a car that is driving itself at 50 mph on rough, unpaved desert roads, it has been subjected to more shock and thermal variation than most industrial environments. Through our over 1,000 miles of desert testing, the DirectLogic 205 has been rock solid."

To help keep things organized, Team Mojavaton also uses AutomationDirect's ZIPLink pre-wired cable system. Mojavaton's Crag Frazier, a member of their hardware design and installation group, has high praise for the ZIPLink system. "ZIPLink cables have allowed us to make an even cleaner and more reliable connection system. They are easy to use, provide a better connection, and they look great!"

Out of 195 teams who applied to compete in the 2005 Challenge, Team Mojavaton was selected as one of 23 teams to race. After passing 10 vehicles, the White Knight coasted to a stop due to mechanical failure at mile 23.

In preparation for the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge, which will be held in a mock urban environment, Team Mojavaton continues to rely on quality products from AutomationDirect.

Crittenden concludes, "Several of our team members do custom machine design for a living, so they were very familiar with the AutomationDirect family of products and their reputation. Choosing AutomationDirect as our vendor for these critical components was one of the easiest decisions we had to make."
For complete information on Team Mojavaton and DARPA, go to:

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The Lighter Side

(Taken from one of those "www." places)

You know you work in Corporate America if…

  • You've sat at the same desk for four years and worked for three different companies.
  • You've worked for the same company for four years and sat at more than 10 different desks.
  • You've been in the same job for four years and have had 10 different managers.
  • You order your business cards in "half orders" instead of whole boxes.
  • When someone asks about what you do for a living, you can't explain it in one sentence.
  • Your biggest loss from a system crash is that you lose your best jokes.
  • You sit in a cubicle smaller than your bedroom closet.
  • It's dark when you drive to and from work.
  • Fun is when issues are assigned to someone else.
  • The word "opportunity" makes you shiver in fear.
  • Weekends are those days your significant other makes you stay home.
  • Being sick is defined as can't walk or you're in the hospital.
  • Art involves a white board.
  • You're already late on the assignment you just got.
  • Dilbert cartoons hang outside every cube and are read by your co-workers only.
  • Your boss' favorite lines are "when you get a few minutes" or "when you're freed up".
  • You read this entire list and understood it.

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Thanks for your time!
Comments or suggestions for topics in future newsletters can be directed to

© 2006
All rights reserved

AutomationDirect HQ is located at 3505 Hutchinson Rd., Cumming, GA 30040
(about 45 minutes north of Atlanta, GA)


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