Automation Now: News and Info for Users of Motion Control

Most Industrial Accidents Are Avoidable. Not This One.

Posted November 10, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Uncategorized

While most industrial accidents can be avoided through the proper use of safety procedures and equipment safeguards, the one that happened 44 years ago today couldn't.

The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was an American Great Lakes freighter that made headlines after sinking in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975, with the loss of the entire crew of 29.

With Captain Ernest M. McSorley in command and carrying a full cargo of taconite ore pellets, the Fitzgerald embarked on her final voyage from Superior, Wisconsin, on the afternoon of November 9, 1975.

En route to a steel mill near Detroit, Michigan, she joined a second freighter, the SS Arthur M. Anderson. By the next day the two ships were caught in the midst of a massive winter storm, with near hurricane-force winds and waves up to 35 feet (11 m) high.

Shortly after 7:10 p.m. the Fitzgerald suddenly sank in Canadian waters approximately 17 miles from the entrance to Whitefish Bay, at a depth of 530 feet. Although the Fitzgerald had reported being in difficulty earlier, no distress signals were sent before she sank. Her crew of 29 perished and no bodies were recovered.

source: Wikipedia

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Tulsa Customer Appreciation and Technology Showcase — Dec. 5

Posted November 8, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Uncategorized

Join us for lunch and a whole lot of fun on Thursday, Dec. 5 at our Tulsa office (map here). Many of our factory reps will be there with their latest and greatest toys you'll want to check out.

Save the date, Dec. 5, NOON to 3 p.m. Drop by for a few minutes or three hours. We'll be here with lunch, prizes, drinks and fun times. Give us a chance to tell you how much we appreciate the time you spend working with Innovative-IDM. Tell us your coming at

Join us for lunch, drinks, prizes and a technology showcase. Noon to 3 p.m, Thursday, Dec. 5 at our Tulsa office.

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Clean Electrical Panels Save Money

Posted November 6, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

Hi, I'm Adam Ring with Innovative IDM. You ever walked up to a control panel and it just looks like a complete rat's nest in there? Do you ever wonder what would be the value in having a nice, clean control panel and how can that save you money?

Well, there's three main reasons:
Number 1 - It's going to last longer.
Number 2 - It's going to be a lot easier to troubleshoot in the end.
Number 3 - It's going to be a lot easier to repair if something were to break.

Now let's take a closer look. Inside this panel you'll notice that there are labels on every device that identify it according to what it's called out on the schematic.

Also, every single wire that terminates into a terminal block has a label on the wire that actually matches the label on the terminal block. So if that wire was ever to come out or you had to replace a component, it would be very easy to make sure that it gets placed back in the right location.

Also, if you just take a look at the general wiring in this panel you'll see that everything is very nice and neat and very organized and just has a really nice look to it.

The wires transition from the door inside of the panel. You notice there's spiral wrap that add an extra layer of protection so that if the wires rub against the door from being opened and closed it makes sure that it doesn't wear through the insulation and cause electrical problems.

Finally, you'll notice that there's also stainless steel hardware that's mounting each of these devices to the panel and that's what gives that extra longevity so that it doesn't break down over time due to corrosion.

Remember a clean panel is more than just looking good. It's going to help save money by lasting longer, being easier to troubleshoot, and easy to repair.

If you'd like to learn more about how Innovative IDM can help you build clean control panels, visit our website and if you'd like we could have you in for a tour and show you around the place. Remember, Innovative, the home of the legendary customer experience!

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5 Ways to Improve the Air Quality in a Pneumatic System

Posted October 23, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

Hi, my name is Andy Lewis and I'm with Innovative IDM. Today I'm going to talk with you a little bit about your air quality and your pneumatic system. A lot of my customers tend to have issues with debris in their air line, scaling from black iron pipe, water in their air line, leaks, etc.

Pneumatic systems with compressors, primarily reciprocating compressors, cause the most issues. Now, how do you protect your machinery downstream? Your cylinders. Your valves. How do you protect them from having to constantly either replace them or rebuild them?

Well, there's a couple ways to do it and today I'm going to give you five reasons how you can do it. First off, mainline filtration. Basically, this is going right after the compressor and the whole purpose of it is to get oil and water out of your system.

Now what you're going to see is generally a larger filter than this with a port size of anywhere between one and three inches. It's going to be a very large body and it's going to be able to handle the oil that's coming through.

Now what's great about SMC versus its competitors is that the level of microns that they filter down to is much higher than other companies. For example, the average is about 20 micron filtration. SMC's basic mainline filtration is anywhere between three and five microns. So what you're receiving from that is better filtration.

Now say for example you don't have that filtration on your line. Oil and water travels down the line. Alright and say for example it isn't water yet, it's still in vapor form because you're reciprocating compressor is putting air out at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. So you have vapor traveling down your line.

As that vapor gets down the line, it's going to turn into condensate because it's hit the dew point and now it's in droplet form. Your valves, your rubber seal valves, and your cylinders are noticing this water.

What occurs? It takes more air, higher PSI to actually shift that spool or to move that cylinder. Why? Because rubber seals expand when they get wet. So how do you fix that? Well, one way you can do it is by using a filter regulator combo. With that being said, you have your regulator at the top you can actually pop it up, change, put in place, and lock.

You also have your filter. Standard is five micron. Goes all the way down to point zero one micron instrument grade quality. There's nothing in your system. It's completely clean dry air. There's also an AMG. Now this isn't actually the AMG but about the same size.

It's a water droplet separator. It takes out 99 percent of all water that's going to be in your air line and that's a point of use item. Finally, if you find yourself with the reciprocating compressor instead of the screw type compressor, the air is abnormally or much hotter than the screw type.

With that being said, you're going to want an after cooler and a refrigerated air dryer coming out of that air line before it hits your other machines.

If you'd like more information on this, please go to our website at and remember Innovative IDM is the home of the legendary customer experience.

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How Do I Retrofit a DC Drive to AC Drive

Posted October 16, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

Visit Innovative-IDM's knowledge center at:

For more information Yaskawa Drives and VFDs visit: and

Hi, I’m Adam Ring with Innovative-IDM. The other day I was having lunch and somebody asked me "how do you go about converting from a DC drive system to an AC drive system?" I thought it might be a good idea to make a quick video. Other people might have that same question.

So there’s a few things you want to take a look at. Number one is what’s the speed that your DC motor is running at? Another thing you want to look at is what is the amount of torque that your application requires? Based on those two pieces of information, you can go back and calculate how much horsepower that you need, and then make sure that you replace your DC with an equivalent AC motor and drive that are going to give you at least that amount of speed, at least that amount of torque. And one of the cool things that happens when you actually switch from a DC to an AC is with a DC you get constant torque throughout the speed range. And that’s one of the reasons a lot of people apply them is because when you are going really slow you can get a fairly constant torque, all the way up to your max speed.

With AC drive technology today, with a closed look flux vector, you actually get the same kind of performance, all the way down to zero speed. You can have 100% of your motors torque down to zero speed. As far as solving the applications, it’s going to be able to respond very quickly, give you the full torque across the entire speed range, and it’s actually more efficient because of the way that the design works. So you actually at the end of the day get to save some of your current that’s required to do a similar application, which basically translates into cost savings for power.

So if you would like to learn more about how to convert your applications from DC to AC, please visit our knowledge center at After all, we are the home of the legendary customer experience.

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