Automation Now: News and Info for Users of Motion Control

Industrial AC Drive Start Up Tips

Posted November 2, 2017 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: AC Drives, Blog, Industrial AC Drive, Industrial Electronics Repair

If you need help with your AC drive start up, call us. We can help.

Here are some tips to help you with an industrial AC drive start up.

Before You Start

• VFDs are mounted in an appropriate environment and required input circuit protection.
• Install all electrical conduit, if needed, prior to the AC drive start up
• The electrical in/out 3Ø power cable have been pulled and are terminated onto VFDs.
• The AC motors are mounted and are uncoupled from the load, if possible, to facilitate an auto tune of the VFD with access to the motor name plate data.
• The communication signals are pulled and are near the field connection terminals on the VFD.

AC Drive Start Up Steps

• Verify the drive model number to ensure it's the correct model
• Ensure the area surrounding the drive complies with specifications
• Verify that the drive is properly sized to run the motor
• Confirm there is proper circuit protection as specified by national and local code
• Properly wire drive terminals R/L1, S/L2, T/L3 & R/T1. V/T2, W/T3 and control wiring
• Properly ground the drive and tighten control and grounding terminal according to specification
• Program the VFD according to the motor nameplate data and customer’s expectations
• Perform Auto-Tune based on control mode and other operating conditions.
• Verify rotation.

Innovative-IDM is an Authorized Service Provider and Distributor for Yaskawa VFDs. When we do your Yaskawa AC drive start up, you receive an additional year on your Yaskawa factory warranty -- a total of two years.


If you have a drive that needs to be repaired, we can help you with that, too. If I can be of any help to you, email me and I'd be glad to walk you through whatever I can. If you're not using VFDs, you could end up like Lucy in the candy factory.

Juan Silva is a field service technician out of our Houston store. You can reach him at

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If Lucy Had a Yaskawa VFD, This (Episode) Wouldn’t Have Happened

Posted October 31, 2017 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: AC Drives, Blog


Because a Yaskawa VFD would have allowed the operators of the candy factory to slow down or even reverse the conveyor belt. Instead, they were probably running an old DC motor with in-rush current starts and stops and draining their electricity use. Does this sound like you?

I, for one, am extremely happy they DID NOT have VFDs in the 1950s — lest we’d have never had this classic episode of I Love Lucy, which was bad luck for Lucy and Ethel.

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Another Happy Customer in Chicago

Posted August 7, 2017 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, field service

Here's an email our Chicago branch manager Tim Mueller received from one of our Chicagoland customers today.

Sent: Monday, August 07, 2017 10:16 AM
To: Tim Mueller <>
Cc: Trevor Sisco <>; Jonathan Dutton <>
Subject: Job well done

Good morning, Tim. I’m head of Engineering in Skokie. We have been working with Trevor and Jonathon on some automation ideas we’ve had. I wanted to give you some feedback on recent activity with them.

Recently, an older piece of processing equipment for one of our key production lines failed. We were unable to find the problem with internal resources and the equipment was old enough that the manufacturer was refusing to help.

Based on our prior history with Trevor and Jonathon tackling unusual equipment problems I decided to call I-IDM and see if they were willing to try and help, even though they hadn’t ever seen this equipment or process before. Trevor’s quick coordination and willingness to take on challenging issues, combined with Jonathon’s technical skill and immediate responsiveness saved the day.

I-IDM had our equipment diagnosed, repaired, and back up and running within 2 days – I’m convinced it would have been sooner had parts been readily available.  Outstanding service from exceptional people – well done!

V.P. – Engineering

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Pinch Point Protection in Your Production Facility

Posted July 24, 2017 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

Tags: , ,

Pinch points are usually engineered into the machine tool, making them difficult to eliminate. The answer is to restrict access to these hazards.

Pinch points are usually engineered into the machine tool, making them difficult to eliminate. The answer is to restrict access to these hazards.

Pinch point protection is a necessary audit in your facility.

OSHA statistics show that more than 10,000 severe injuries occur every year.  One of the most frequent causes is lack of machinery guarding (29 CFR 1910.212).  One of the many things I help my customers with is increasing the total number of days without loss time due to injury. . . you know, that number posted on the bulletin board where you enter a plant or factory.

The most effective way to protect your employees is eliminating the hazard.  But sometimes eliminating the hazard is not possible. That's when engineering controls come into play, like safeguarding and protective devices.

Pinch points are tough to eliminate since they are inherently part of the machine tool. Sprockets, gears, rollers and flywheels are some pinch point examples. Check to make sure no one can reach the pinch point with their hands (or even their clothing). One way to check is to use a method called AUTO.  The AUTO means can I reach Around, Under, Through or Over the machinery and reach the pinch point. If that's the case, it's no bueno.

If we fail the AUTO test, we can usually solve the problem with machine hard guarding, safety light curtains, scanners or even safety mat. With our customized hard guarding products and our Omron safety products we have helped many companies resolve these issues to make a safer work place.

Next step? Take a walk around and look at all the places that could be a hazard and apply the AUTO method and if you are not sure about safe distance email me. I can request a Gotcha Stick from Omron.


Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Don't for an accident to move you to action. If you're in Louisiana, email me and I'd be happy to walk with your and do an informal safety inspection of your facility. Our other branch managers in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Illinois would be happy to do the same.

Ed Hyer is the branch manager for Innovative-IDM's Baton Rouge office. You can reach him at


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Electronics And Heat Don’t Mix

Posted July 10, 2017 by Omar Mediano

Categories: Blog, Electronics Repair, Industrial Electronics Repair, Industrial Maintenance, Innovative-IDM

Tags: , , ,

As we here in Texas groan about high temperatures of summer, it’s important to remember that we aren’t the only ones suffering from the heat. Electronics and heat don’t mix and the combination can be disastrous.

As temperatures rise the number of businesses that lost power or experienced brown increase. During that time, many people turn on their generators or use battery power to keep machines running. What they didn’t realize was – the heat could be damaging their equipment.

Circuit systems within electronics work best at lower temperatures. Allowing systems to run for prolonged periods of time in high temperatures can decrease the longevity and reliability of devices. Solid state electronics actually begin to break down and fry at temperatures much above 120 degrees. However, the hotter the temperature – the less functional the machine will become. Most systems tend to run 10 to 20 degrees hotter than room temperature.

Within the era of technology electronic devices such as drives (VFDs), programable logic controllers (PLCs), human machine interfaces(HMIs) and power supplies have dramatically decreased in size. This causes a lot of systems to run with a higher heat density. While many companies have worked to include cooling systems within their products – cooling systems cannot keep up when devices are left in areas without air conditioning. Believe it or not, just surfing the web on your cellphone or playing games on your laptop may sound like the perfect idea during a blackout, but that heat can even damage them!

When the power is off or it is not stable and rooms temperatures are high, limit use of electronic devices.  Cooling units similar to small air conditioners can be purchased and installed to keep equipment cabinets cool.  Placing a fan in front of a cabinet with the door open will provide temporary relief, but could cause more environmental damage to the drive by allowing foreign material, dirt and water into the cabinet.  Just remember. The longer the use, the hotter the object will get.

If you experience issues with any electronic device after exposure to heat send it to Innovative IDM and we will provide a free evaluation. IIDM also stocks and sells new world class VFDs, PLCs and HMIs and can do turnkey installations. So, if you have a piece of equipment you’d like to check on repairing, contact your IIDM sale representative or email us at

Marc Phelps

Marc Phelps is manager of the Innovative-IDM repair facility in Houston. You can contact him at

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Live Large, Live Free

Posted July 4, 2017 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

The Spirit of '76 by Archibald Willard

Happy July 4th from Innovative Behind the Scenes!

He who drinks a fifth on the 4th may not come forth on the 5th." -- George Washington (not really)

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