Monthly Archives: March 2016

Field Service and Engineering Staff Host Buzzard’s Bar and Grill

Posted March 14, 2016 by Vanessa Muse

Categories: Employees, IIDM Behind the Scenes

Tags: , , , ,

Monday AGAIN? Do you ever feel like Mondays get the best of you and drain the life blood from your motivation?

Once a month at Innovative-IDM, we kick start the week with a lunch event we call Buzz's Bar & Grill. This month, our Engineering and Field Service teams joined forces to put together a lunch for the Dallas branch.

Headed up by Master Chef Lonnie Gillilan, the event boasted a sandwich bar, three homemade soups (Chicken Noodle, Chicken Tortilla, and Chicken/Corn Chowder), pasta salad, chicken salad, brownies, cupcakes, bundt cake and a pie. This is how you get the best of a Monday and gear up for the rest of the week. Huge thanks to everyone involved with making this happen.

- Cyrus Jahani, Customer Service Lead and CIA Agent

Buzz Bar and Grill

Seemingly happy and obviously hungry Dallas employees line up for yet another company lunch.


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Making Values Our Priority: Habitat for Humanity

Posted March 5, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: IIDM Behind the Scenes

Tags: , , , , ,

A group of IIDM'rs braved the harsh elements on Friday to help a family in  Fort Worth build their new house.  Well the weather was actually perfect for working outside. Innovative-IDM employees are provided with two paid days off from work to contribute time to volunteer causes via the IIDM MVP program.

The IIDM group worked with other volunteers from Fort Worth, Texas,  chapter of Habitat for Humanity.  The group included Jason Adkins, Jason Heiss, Jesse Simental, Omar Mediano, Todd Mueller, and Vanessa Muse.  The IIDM'rs and other volunteers worked side by side with the future home owner.  It was a rewarding experience with no major injuries other than a few hammered thumbs (including mine).  A special thank you goes out to Jesse and the Dallas CIA for coordinating this event.


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Innovative-IDM ‘Fashion’ Show

Posted March 3, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: IIDM Behind the Scenes

We have a morning meeting in our Houston and Dallas offices. Sometimes we walk out of the room wondering "What just happened?" Today in Dallas, meeting host Mark Brewer brought in some clean room suits and allowed participants two minutes to use whatever they could find to "accessorize" their suit. Judges had to pick a winner: Based on the authentic peafowl feathers provided to her by Danny Causey, Allie Clark was declared a winner. The real winners were anyone in the meeting.

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Texas Independence Day

Posted March 2, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: IIDM Behind the Scenes


Texas Independence Day and the Texas State Flag

Texas State Flag

Today is Texas Independence Day, the day Texas became a sovereign nation as the Republic of Texas and broke from Mexico. It’s an official holiday here in Texas — not the kind you get off of work from, but a holiday nonetheless.

If you’ve ever been confounded about how to fly the Texas flag, just remember what my 7th grade teacher used to tell us: “Blood on the ground!”


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Human Machine Interface affordable, even in simple applications

Posted by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Parker

Tags: , ,

A Human Machine Interface, or HMI, is a computer with a touchscreen interface. It communicates with a programmable controller(s) to operate a machine. The HMI can replace lights, buttons, and dials to simplify the interface and greatly expand functionality.

Human Machine Interface screen

Instead of drilling holes and wiring for buttons, switches and buzzers, Human Machine Interface (HMI) touchscreens make machine operation easy on the operator and simple to train.

Machines typically need some sort of interface to control their operation. It could be as simple as a single on/off button or as complex as multiple consoles with flashing light, squawking buzzers, and myriad dials, buttons, and switches.

Lights and Switches Cost, Too

When designing a new machine or upgrading an existing one, many people struggle with the expense of an HMI and think the upfront cost cannot be justified. Especially if it is a simple system with only a few ways for the operator to interact with it. They reason a few lights and switches cost much less than a computer with a touchscreen interface. However, there are other costs that come with the lights and switches:

These input and output devices must be mounted and wired into the machine. This involves drilling or punching a hole for every device and mounting them, running wires from the controller and/or power source to the devices, and physically making the wiring connections. This all takes time.

The controller needs the inputs and outputs available to interface to these devices. As the I/O count of a controller goes up, so does the cost. And if any of these devices are analog, like gauges or potentiometers, the cost of additional analog inputs and outputs can add up fast. Remember, this is not I/O required for the controller to interface to the machine (sensors, thermocouples, valves, etc.); this is I/O just so the user can operate the machine.

An HMI, like the Parker CTC and its Xpress HMI software, can replace these devices by using one simple connection to the controller to allow communication. Once the HMI and controller are talking, the buttons, lights, switches, dials, gauges… can be represented graphically on the touchscreen. The user can push virtual buttons instead of physical ones. Need a blue button instead of green? No problem, a simple program change and you’re done; no need to order a new device and physically swap it out. Want to add some new status lights? Presto, just a few mouse clicks away.

Human Machine Interface Opens Possibilities

The HMI can also do things that were not possible before. What if the machine runs unattended most of the time? Would it be helpful if it could send alerts via text message or email if it had a problem? Getting it back up and running quickly eliminates downtime and keeps it making money. Would it be nice to know how many parts were made last week compared to this week? The Human Machine Interface can track, store, and present data easily to help pinpoint subtle trends that lead to lost productivity.


Jack Marsh writes about Human Machine Interface


The upfront cost of the HMI is not the whole picture. When compared to the labor and I/O points associated with traditional user interface devices, the cost of the HMI might be justified even in simple machines. Adding in the increased flexibility and functionality an Human Machine Interface can provide makes it starts to look like a very easy decision.

Jack Marsh is a motion control specialist for Innovative-IDM, and a member of the IIDM President's Club. He can be reached at

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