What’s This About?

Thanks for visiting The Automation Primer! My goal on this site is to create a free community-focused resource dedicated to automation concepts and terminology. The tabs at the top of this page should help you find what you’re looking for…

I love what I do! I was not a good student in High School, in fact I failed to graduate. After joining the US Air Force following a series of minimum wage jobs, I found that I had an aptitude for electronics. This led to being a thirty year old Electrical Engineering student at the University of Tennessee, where I concentrated in control systems.

I spent the first four years following graduation learning all of the components and industrial landscape in my area, after which I started my first company back in 1996. I realized during this period that I had not learned the practical elements to be successful in either my field or in business. Much of what I learned during this time came from some very good mentors and lots of trial and error.


The Automation Academy is my full-time project now that I am nearing the end of my own career. This is a website that can help you define your career Goals and Path, learn valuable industrial automation skills, and interface with others who are also learning. It’s also a very inexpensive way to learn PLC programming and machine-building techniques! 


Engineers learn a lot of mathematical and scientific concepts that give them an excellent theoretical understanding of the field, but which fail to provide the necessary practical knowledge that normally comes from years of trial-and-error. I hope to fill in some of those gaps with the resources and posts on this site. This website is free and always will be. It has no advertisements (other than my own :-P) or annoying pop-ups.

Check out especially the Blog, PLC and Resources tabs if you are looking for something in particular, or contact me if you have any specific questions.

On this site, you’ll find samples of my book, Industrial Automation: Hands On, published by McGraw-Hill Professional, a complete tutorial on industrial automation. This book was my first, and much of the content came from this site.

A more recent general book you might like is Maintenance and Troubleshooting in Industrial Automation. It was released in 2022 and is less expensive than my first book, and is in color! You’ll also find articles here on PLC programming focused on making you comfortable using multiple platforms; for a good start on the subject check out my books PLC Hardware and Programming – Multi-Platform (NTHU) (2022) and Advanced PLC Hardware and Programming (2019) on Amazon and at other booksellers. Also stay tuned for my online courses here, on YouTube, and at the Automation Academy on my business website.

You’ll also find user-submitted articles and blog posts that run the gamut of automation techniques and tips. Have something to add to the discussion? Want to promote your product or site? Contribute an article. I’ll edit, format, and publish it with full attribution to you.

This is the site I wished for when I was getting started in automation.

Frank Lamb
Author of: Industrial Automation: Hands On, PLC Hardware and Programming Multi-Platform (NTHU), Advanced PLC Hardware and Programming, Maintenance and Troubleshooting in Industrial Automation, How to Build your PLC Trainer, and PLC Hardware and Programming – Allen-Bradley Platforms (NTHU).
Founder, Automation Consulting, LLC and AutomationPrimer.com.


I also provide automation training and services through my company Automation Consulting, LLC, located in Nashville, Tennessee.

Some of the subjects you will find covered on this site: Industrial Automation, machine design, control systems, software and programming, PLCs and HMIs, SCADA, motion control, robotics, sensors including proxes and photoeyes, systems integration, Six Sigma/Lean Manufacturing, packaging machinery, material handling and conveyors, machine vision, metalforming machinery, jobs and trades related to the automation industry, assembly machines, gauging and a host of other subjects. If you see something missing, let me know!



43 Comments on “What’s This About?

  1. http://www.LoopSlooth.com


    1. An extensive, simple-to-read, physics-based tutorial on the various forms of electrical interference and how to deal with them. The tutorial discusses electrostatic coupling, inductive coupling, radiative coupling, ground loops, and transmission line issues.

    2. A description of the Loop Slooth diagnostic for rapid troubleshooting of electrical ground loops in complex situations.

  2. Thanks, looks like a useful tool as well as valuable information. If you are interested in posting an article here for one of my two weekly posts please let me know.

    • You’re right, I haven’t covered that much. I’ll address it in today’s post but would love if you’d do a guest post or article sometime, always appreciate feedback.

    • I appreciate all comments and links related to automation contributed by anyone on this site, unfortunately sometimes the links don’t work. I would like to check these links out, could you post the actual websites here? I can also add them to my “Resources” page.

  3. Hi there,

    I just read a post on lockout tagout you posted a while back on your blog: https://automationprimer.com/2012/09/16/safety-standards/

    I thought you might be interested in a resource of free lockout tagout safety powerpoint presentations we just published, check it out: http://complianceandsafety.com/blog/lockout-tagout-powerpoint

    You’re more than welcome to use any of the content in this resource on your site. We want it to help as many people as possible.

    Thanks a lot!

    Matthew Pelletier
    Director of Public Relations
    Compliance and Safety

  4. I’m just finding all this information mind boggling. I really appreciate this practical knowlege sharing. i haven’t been able to find this kind of stuff anywhere. I work on automation in the real world and these subjects have already explained a lot to me as well as taught me some new tricks. I’m really going to like this.

  5. This is a great site
    I be been looking for some books on panel designing, but did not get anything but now I found this site is very useful for new design engineers. Like me.
    Thank you Frank.

  6. This site is excellent, any way to make it a community of sorts to help with contributions? I work with a number of control panel builders and system integrators and we are creating all sorts of collateral. Videos, best practices, product guides, etc.

    • I’d love for this to become a forum for discussions etc, but that is really more up to the people who visit the site rather than me. I try to post relevant and interesting automation-related information here and always welcome contributions.

    • I have mostly covered A-B and Siemens in this blog with a couple of guest posts on Idec and Panasonic. I would love to have someone do a post on Mitsubishi since I don’t know much about it.

  7. Hello Mr. Lamb: My name is Thomas, I am a financial analyst in a brokerage firm. I am given a job to write a sector report on Automation, which in my mind will include some introductions on the applications of various automation product and how those products can be applied onto different industries. I have no background in machines and I think I will never understand how PLC is programmed, but I do need answers, probably detailed descriptions, on automation products and how they are applied on different industries. I wonder, do you think your book:<> is the right book for me? And if possible, would you mind send me a sample piece that you think to be able to answer my questions on any automation product? Thank you very much!

    • Hi Thomas,

      Without specifically knowing the points you are trying to support I don’t know if the book would be appropriate. The book is quite general, though there are some application descriptions that may be specific enough to show how products are used for different purposes. Some of the posts on this site may help also, especially under the applications tab or under “sensors” or “PLCs”.

  8. We have an best articles on Automation Industry. We want publish that articles into your site for improving your and our reputation as well . If it is OK send me reply how can I publish articles with you.

      • Machine Condition Monitoring Market: There is always a risk associated with working machinery and to overcome this problem, machine condition monitoring gives a perfect solution. The demand for machine condition monitoring equipment is increasing rapidly which would help increase the potential of industrial output. This report “Machine Condition Monitoring Market” covers all its aspects with opportunities, drivers, restraints, and others in detail. It consists of condition monitoring apparatus, procedures, schedules as well as methods for data collection and analysis procedures. Machine condition monitoring decides the maintenance of the machine by monitoring its condition; thus increasing the efficiency of the assets and time for repair.

        Conditioning monitoring process on the whole includes non-invasive measurement, visual checkup, performance data and programmed investigation. It indicates the sign of decreasing performance or emergency shutdowns; thereby prevents complete system failure of the industry. It is a preventive maintenance method as it concludes equipment status before a breakdown occurs.

        Vibration measurement in this market field is widely prominent and is further growing in terms of awareness and demand; thus there is a rise in demand for vibration meter. Sales generated from vibrating monitoring and vibration analysis is predicted to continue growing.
        Geographically, the machine condition monitoring market is projected to grow due to the shift from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance in numerous industries for sufficient warning time and predicting failure of the system. The American market generated highest revenue for Machine Condition Monitoring in 2015, closely followed by Europe. Furthermore, the APAC market is projected to be the fastest growing region in the forecast period owing to the increasing demand for condition monitoring systems.

        Apart from the geographical segmentation of the market, the report also includes pricing and value chain analysis separately that will provide key insights and market scenario. Forecasts are provided for all the market segments for the period 2016-2021.

        More Info @ http://industryarc.com/Report/15026/machine-condition-monitoring-market.html

        Market Segmentation:
        Machine Conditioning Monitoring Market is classified into 4 broad divisions based on the further given factors. The segments are yet divided into narrow segmentations which are all completely analyzed and included in this market research report.

        1. By Type: Vibration Analysis & Diagnostics, Lubricant Analysis, Acoustic Emission, Infrared Thermography, Ultrasound Testing, Motor Condition Monitoring & Motor current, Corrosion and Others.
        2. By Component: Spectrometer, Ultrasound Detector, Vibration Sensor, Corrosion Probes and Others.
        3. By Application: Aerospace, Defense, Automotive, Chemicals, Marine, Power Plants and Others.
        4. By Geography: Americas, Europe, APAC and ROW.

        Key Market Vendors Analysis:

        With rising awareness and implementation of condition monitoring, there is a global need noticed for this market. IndustryARC has analyzed and mentioned more than 40 notable competitors of the Global Machine Condition Monitoring Market with few of the top ones being:
        • Rockwell Automation Inc.
        • Fluke Corporation.
        • Emerson Process Management.
        • SKF Condition Monitoring Inc.
        • Honeywell International Inc.

  9. I love it when people like Frank that are experts in a given field decide to share their expertise with others to help them in their process.

    Keep up the good work Frank!

  10. I’m just finishing up my EE degree and I find that learning this type of stuff is key. Practical plus theoretical equals success. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  11. Hello Frank,

    Great site, I really appreciate your willingness to share your expertise. I was messaging in the hopes that you may do a post on the VisiLogic platform, similar to your cover of the Allen Bradley PLC product line. What are your thoughts on Unitronics and their products?

    Best Regards,
    Ryan McCarthy
    Systems Integrator

    • Hi Ryan,

      I can pretty much only write on platforms I know something about. I am somewhat familiar with Unitronics as it has been used on projects I have been involved in, but I don’t know anything about VisiLogic. I wrote the posts on Allen-Bradley, Siemens and Automation Direct because I knew the platforms pretty well, but if you notice the Idec, Panasonic and Beckhoff posts are guest posts. I didn’t feel qualified to write on those platforms because I have no experience with them. If you are up to it, I’d love to have you write one! I am also still looking for someone to write one on Omron, Mitsubishi, GE and Modicon.

      • Frank,

        Thanks for getting back to me. I would be happy to review Unitronics, however I don’t feel like I am an expert by any means, so I have contacted the company to see if I can prepare a quality report with their help. I’ll let you know how it goes.

        Best Regards,
        Ryan McCarthy

  12. Since i buy your book.. I know you really have the direction to share your experienced in the journey of the machine design starting from the URs until the delivery. Thank Frank ! May You been blessed always with the true success in these life

  13. Could you please assist me in making a ladder logic diagram for boiler operations. We are using siemens at school and it is used for my marine engineering research and assignment. Your assistance is highly appreciated.

  14. I am a big fan of your blog and have been a reader for quite a while. I noticed that you featured some guest posts in the past and I thought the piece was an excellent fit for your site and your readers.
    Are you currently accepting guest posts? If so, I would be happy to write one for you on any topic- the choice is yours! (The only thing I ask for in return is just one or two do-follow links back to my website.) I am a professional writer with a lot of blogging experience so you can count on me to produce quality content. As soon as you reply to a topic, I will get started right away.
    I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


    Micheal Khan (Guest-Blogger)

    • Hi Michael, always up for guest posts if they’re appropriate, as a matter of fact I posted one today. I always link back to the poster also. Let me know what you’ve got and I’ll take a look.

  15. Hello,

    Greetings! I hope you are doing well! I got the chance to check out some of your latest posts on automationprime.com and I just want to say I’m impressed with your content!

    I’m getting in touch to see if you’d be interested in accepting a collaborative guest piece on your site. I work with a brand in the Automobile & Tech industry and we’d love to offer a unique, well-written article on a topic that is relevant to your website and something your readers will enjoy.

    We are also happy to compensate you for your time and for publishing our piece as well, so let me know if this is something you’d be interested in discussing further?

    I am looking forward to hearing from you and thanks in advance!

    Best Regards,
    John Brooks

    • Hi John, I host guest posts pretty regularly, as a matter of fact I am posting one today. As long as they are informative/educational and relate to industrial automation. It also makes it easier if I don’t have to edit it much.

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