Author: Frank

My Little Factory – Innovate

The week before last I talked about how I make some of the mechanical things for My Little Factory. A quick update on that: I have managed to make some progress on fabricating the escapements for the indexing conveyor, but

Share
Posted in My Little Factory, Product Development Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

My Little Factory – Fabricate

A couple of weeks ago I started a series called “My Little Factory”, describing a system I am building for training purposes. I plan on updating the progress on this project monthly, but today’s topic is also related. As those

Share
Posted in Machine Assembly and Fabrication, My Little Factory, Plastics

Sensors 102: Signal Conditioning

Today’s post is about what goes on between an actual detection device and the input of a control system. In many control applications you don’t need to think about what goes on inside of a device. The signal is converted

Share
Posted in Load Cells, Process, Product Development, Sensing Tagged with: , , , , ,

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

Share
Posted in Applications, Conveyors, Load Cells, Material Handling, My Little Factory, 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

Share
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!

Share
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

Share
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.

Share
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

Share
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

Share
Posted in PLCs, Training Tagged with: ,