Monthly Archives: August 2019

5 Most Common Reasons an AC Drive Ends Up Needing Repair

Posted August 28, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

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Hi, I’m Lonnie Muse with Innovative IDM. I'm going to talk a little bit about AC drives this morning. These things are wonderful. They have come into being, they've lasted a long time, and there’s a real great need for them in our plants. But they are put into some places that have difficult environments. So I want to kind of talk about the AC drive failures.

Maybe how to mitigate it a little bit and what causes them. The biggest cause is not the product itself but the things that surround it. Heat is the biggest issue. It does generate a little bit of heat. It adds to the environment that's outside the ambient temperature. All the other products in the panel that are creating heat add to the source. If we don’t get that heat out of there or cool it down, overtime this will die. Especially if it’s a dusty environment or other airborne things that are attracted to the fans in the back of the drive aren’t cleaned out. Or the fan of the AC drive stops, not pulling the air through.

The biggest thing is heat, we need to mitigate that. The next thing is power spikes that come through. Whether it’s caused by machines upstream, lighting, the power company, or somebody hitting a power pole outside, power spikes can kill these drives rather quickly. So we need to take steps to eliminate some of that or at least reduce it. One of the steps could be putting a reactor in front of the drive. That will help keep the power spikes from coming in and damaging the drive.

Another area where a drive fails is because of the other end that is attached to the motor. If the motor is not taken care of or if the bearings aren’t greased, there are issues that a motor – and this is related to heat as well – can short out. And if it shorts, normally it’s going to take the drive as well. It’s going to short internally, draw too much current, and will damage the drive. Check the motors.

The next one is age. The mean time between failure for these typical drives here is 28 years. But I guarantee you if you don’t do things ahead of time and keep it working when it gets to 10 years, 15 years, 20 years we’re going to start having failure. Can you imagine 20 years old and still running? Some of us don’t drive cars that old. Age can affect things. Things deteriorate, change over time, and eventually there’s failure.

The largest one and usually it happens on the front end when a drive is being installed is it’s installed incorrectly. What I have seen in my experience, customers put the input power on the power leads of the drive which just tears it up. It fails. We have 24 volts for the inputs and outputs and we'll put 110 on it. So sometimes it’s installation driven. Not the product itself just improper installation.

If you’d like to know more about this, come see us at We’ve got white papers, we’ve got products, we’ve got technical expertise that can help. After all we're the home of legendary customer experience.

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Theory X Management Tactic #48

Posted August 26, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: IIDM Behind the Scenes

ImageOccasionally, management will make our largest employee hold his breath and try to fit into a small jumpsuit. This usually takes place after a softer than normal bookings month. Steve Lyons Sr. says, "Sell, sell, sell!"

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Battle Revisited: Bad Customer Service vs. Legendary Customer Service

Posted August 23, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: IIDM Behind the Scenes

Just yesterday, we did a battle of the air bands in Dallas Hoopla, led by Cool Jessi Bratcher. Yet this battle between good and evil originally was chronicled in a blog post from summer 2009.  "Bad Customer Service vs. Legendary Customer Service" is a Top 5 hoopla for me. It's also one my favorite personal blog posts. I guess I was just so overwhelmed by the drama and being an eyewitness behind the camera.

Now I know how former employee Charles Manning felt behind his cell phone lens that eerie morning in Houston hoopla when the rabid bunny stalked his colleagues. Stranger still was the shocking video captured by Manning of the boisterous yet simultaneously belligerent bunny. -- Pepper Hastings

This one falls right in there with El Pollo Loco and Lonnie the Scottsman or even the fictional May Day Meeting as one of the more ridiculous yet entertaining morning hoopla meeting at Innovative Automation.


Each employee leads the morning meeting once a month, and we discuss -- sometimes in absurd methods -- how we can better treat customers with LEGENDARY customer service. Today was Mike Davila's day.

In a blatant attempt to win "Best Host of the Month" and thus earn a day off, Davila showed up dressed in the traditional costume depicting the well-known character of "Legendary Customer Service" (looking like a cross between Hulk Hogan and Dog the Bounty Hunter). In this riveting photo, you can see Kara L'Huillier and Todd Mueller trying to make sense of it all.rassle1

Naturally, "Legendary Customer Service" was later attacked and mugged by "Bad Customer Service" who, of course, was dressed in black and played by Chris Coler. And naturally, "Legendary Customer Service" prevailed. Wow.


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The Advantages of Using Linear Servo Motors

Posted August 21, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

Be sure to visit our knowledge Center -

Hi, my name is Jack Marsh with Innovative IDM. Today I’d like to talk a little bit about the advantages of linear servo motors. A lot of people have never even heard of a linear motor and don’t know that that is. Well, a linear motor is the same thing as a rotary motor that’s cut and then rolled. There’s as many types of linear motors as there are rotary motors. The physics are the same, just the mechanical arrangement of the parts are a little different.

For example, linear motors you've probably experienced multiple times every day in your life. If you look at audio speakers, the motor that moves the speaker back and forth and generates vibrations is a linear motor. Just a different kind of linear motor than is typically used in industrial applications.

For example, if you take this rotary motor, slice it, and unroll it, you’re going to have windings on a part that can move back and forth over the top of a piece of steel that has magnets on it. That is a direct drive thrust producing device that eliminates all the mechanical components in the drive train that would ordinarily take this spinning motor shaft and translate that into linear motion and linear force.

By eliminating all those mechanical components, you eliminate all the wear in the drive train, the back lash, inaccuracies – all the things that degrade the performance of your positioning system.

So if you need micron level precision, extremely low friction motion, very high accuracy and reliability, or very high accelerations and velocities, a linear motor might be the perfect solution for you. What you don’t get is the mechanical advantage of say a gear box that you could put on the end of a rotary motor to multiply the torque output of the motor. So until someone invents the linear equivalent of that, maybe a lever box, we are stuck with the direct drive nature of the linear motor. And if you need more force, the cost goes up because you have to buy a larger motor. You can’t put a mechanical advantage device on it. But with that comes all of the advantages of speed and precision a linear motor can provide.

If you’d like to know more, please visit our website at and remember Innovative IDM is the home of the legendary customer experience.

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Say Hello to Innovative-IDM New HQ

Posted August 20, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: IIDM Behind the Scenes

We've been at our Lewisville, Texas, location (which was built from the ground up) since July 1. Looks like most of the folks are getting the hang of working here. Building signs and address numbers are to be installed today. We also have stocking locations in Chicago, Houston, Memphis and Tulsa. Plus we serve the markets of Baton Rouge, Austin, San Antonio and East Texas.

Say Hello to Innovative-IDM New HQ Facility from Innovative-IDM on Vimeo.


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Aluminum Extrusions Collateral Damage

Posted August 19, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Aluminum Extrusion, Blog

Parker Industrial Profile Systems recognizes Innovative-IDM as one of its regional design centers.

The result is that we design, cut and assemble a LOT of extruded aluminum products.

The collateral damage to all that fell on Jimmy Taylor, who is left to deal with the now-empty 20-foot heavy duty cardboard boxes in which the raw aluminum was shipped from Parker.

Sweet Jimmy and a SAWZALL in 100-degree weather took care of the problem.



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