Author: Frank

My Little Factory – April 2017

This post is the first in a series I am writing about a project I am working on, hence the “April 2017” designation. As most of my regular readers know, I have spent much of the past several years teaching

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Posted in Applications, Conveyors, Load Cells, Material Handling, PLCs, Pneumatics, Process, Sensors, The Course, Training, vision Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Automate/Promat 2017

Earlier this week I had the privilege of attending my second Automate and Promat show in Chicago. I wrote an earlier post on the Automate 2015 show, but when I went back and re-read it I realized that I actually

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Posted in Robots, Sales and Marketing, Vendors and Manufacturers Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Birth of the Programmable Controller

Today’s post is extracted from my new “generic” PLC course manual, PLC Hardware and Programming – Multi-Platform. In the manual, I also cover the origins of the computer, beginning with the Babbage Analytical Engine, all the way back in 1823!

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Posted in PLCs Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sensors 101 – Control System Inputs

In today’s post I’m going to ask you to think of sensors in a different way. Most engineers who are specifying equipment think of sensors as discrete or analog devices, proxes or photoelectrics, flow or pressure sensors, thermocouples and the

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Posted in Automation Concepts, Sensing, Sensors Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Sensor Resources

When I got up this morning, I had fully intended to write a post on sensors and sensing techniques. I was even going to title it “Sensors 101”, similar to the series that I started on PLCs several years ago.

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Posted in Sensing, Sensors, Vendors and Manufacturers, Website Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Ladder Logic 305: ASCII and Strings

Today’s post covers ASCII, string manipulation and how to deal with readable text in a PLC. The picture above is from a ControlLogix program (Allen-Bradley, RSLogix5000 v.16) I wrote back in 2006. The program communicated with a PC-based Cognex machine

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Posted in PLCs, Software & Programming, The Book Tagged with: , , , , ,

The Difference Between PLCs and Computers

What makes a PLC different from a typical computer? After all, computers are used to control things, they can even run a software PLC. This short video is part of the introduction to a new training course I am producing

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Posted in PLCs, Training Tagged with: ,

So… What Do You Do?

Hello from mushy Sacramento, CA. Flying in this afternoon the whole area looked like a big sponge, everything looked flooded out, and its still raining. And I thought there was a severe drought here… ********************************************** Most people have heard this

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Posted in Business, Sales and Marketing, Training Tagged with: , , , , ,

The Dangers of Not Using Local Vendors

In these days of online access to any product you can think of, it seems like your best option for buying technical products is to just find the best price and play vendors off against each other. I get offers

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Posted in Business, Vendors and Manufacturers Tagged with: , ,

Happy New Year 2017!

Well, its that time again where people around the world review the last year and make plans for the new one to come. While this can be done at any time of year, people often choose this particular day to

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Posted in Life, Thoughts Tagged with: , , , , ,