Archive for October 2012

Geek out on EtherCat

October 14, 2012

If you’d really like to dazzle ’em at the next cocktail party, consider a little light reading on EtherCat to stimulate the conversation.

The Fun Continues! October Facial Hair Challenge

October 12, 2012

Week Two:  Goatee and mustache

Congratulations to JP, winner for Week One of the October Facial Hair Challenge!  It was a close one with Dale coming in second by only one vote.

The facial hair style for Week Two is the goatee & mustache, or “The Dude.”  Who will take the title of “Best Beard” this week?  Make sure to vote here for your favorite!

The style for next week is the “Trucker ‘Stache” and participants must sport the look all week to qualify – let’s see who will stay in the game!

October Facial Hair Challenge Week2

It’s On! October Facial Hair Challenge

October 5, 2012

Week One:  Full beard and mustache

In the spirit of Fall and fun, Michael Mueller issued a challenge for the men of Innovative-IDM to grow out their beards & ‘staches.  Stay tuned! Each week the guys will be rocking a new facial hair style and a “Best Beard of the Week” winner will be crowned!

Facial hair style for Week One is the full beard and mustache – or the “Grizzly Adams.” Check out participant photos below!

Innovative-IDM Facial Hair Challenge Week 1

Buzz Welcomes Mark Jones to Innovative-IDM

October 5, 2012

Join Buzz in welcoming Mark Jones to Innovative-IDM!  Mark joins Innovative-IDM after more than four years as a branch manager with Carlton Bates/Wesco and three years as a business owner with Med Capital, both in San Antonio.  He grew up in El Paso and earned his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso.  He is planning to re-matriculate into the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Executive M.B.A. program in the near future.  In his spare time, Mark enjoys competitive road biking.

Buzz Sez Welcome Mark Jones to Innovative-IDM

Buzzard Baby?

October 5, 2012

So, this morning my desk phone rings. It’s Britt calling. She asks if she can take Buzz home today in case she goes into labor this weekend. Britt is sick, twisted, warped and Innovative-IDM blue, through and through. Good luck Britt. And Buzz . . . hang on buddy.

Triple Crown for Cabrera

October 5, 2012

In my former life, I played around with baseball cards for a living. So I feel compelled to give a tip of the cap to Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, the first player to lead his league in batting average, HRs and RBI since 1967. Cabrera is the 10th player to accomplish the Triple Crown since RBI became an official stat in 1920. Ted Williams and Rogers Hornsby did it twice.

I once did research revealing that no Triple Crown winner ever played a single inning of a Triple Crown season on artificial turf, which is a distinct advantage to singles specialists. Now, with ballparks going back to grass and with less games on fast artificial turf, slap hitters lose some of their batting average advantage. Thus, Cabrera’s .331 was good enough for a batting crown. In the days of Rod Carew, Pete Rose, Tony Gwynn, George Brett, Wade Boggs, Ichiro — let’s see, I’ve spanned about four decades — a guy would have to top .350 to win the batting crown, something not likely for an RBI or HR leader. No wonder it took 46 seasons. We just had to get back to mostly playing on real grass.

Lots have been written about this feat, and lots more will be said about it as Detroit moves on through the playoffs.  While this has nothing to do with factory automation, Cabrera was about the closest thing in baseball to automatic in 2012. -ph

Parker Gearheads and Lost Motion

October 5, 2012

Innovative-IDM features Parker gearhead from Parker EMS. Parker is a big company with decades of experience in motion and gears. I found this tidbit about “lost motion” in gears on the Parker Electromechanical Blog. In addition to Parker, Innovative-IDM also carries Wittenstein (formerly Alpha Gears) gearheads as well.

Lost motion contributes to position error, can complicate control efforts, and can introduce magnified dynamic loading on components. Many reduction technologies try to minimize lost motion and its effects.  When evaluating various reduction technologies it is usually not sufficient to consider only backlash, but rather all of the lost motion contributors which would include the torsional stiffness of the gearhead.

For a pair of meshed gears, backlash is the amount by which a tooth space exceeds the thickness of an engaging tooth.  For a gearhead, backlash is the amount of motion the meshed gears have when the input is held fixed.  Torsional stiffness on the other hand may include such things as deflection of components, bearing support, etc.

Theoretically, perfect gears do not require backlash to operate satisfactorily.  However, manufacturing tolerances, bearing dimensions, thermal considerations, and other practical considerations result in unavoidable backlash.

At Parker we measure the backlash of every Stealth gearhead by locking the input and applying to the output a torque of 2% of the gearheads rated torque.  Measurements are taken at 6 points around an output revolution to ensure constant, low backlash throughout the entire cycle.  Torsional stiffness is maximized with our high tooth to tooth contact ratio, and integral ring gear machined directly into the steel housing.  The combination provides a well balanced product that will minimize the lost motion of any application.

Protect Valuable Automation Equipment From Transient Surges

October 4, 2012

The OVR DIN rail surge protector line from ABB is the ideal solution to protecting valuable equipment and keeping an operation up and running.  Reduce downtime related to maintenance and troubleshooting with pluggable cartridges, visual life indicators, and integrated auxiliary contacts for remote monitoring.  When a cartridge has reached the end of its life it will alert you with a visual indicator both on the cartridge itself and remotely.  Then simply replace the cartridge, no rewiring is necessary.  Contact Innovative-IDM at today for more.

Wanna be one of our customers? Sure you do.

October 4, 2012

Here’s an email we received a few days back from one of our Memphis customers. It was written to our Memphis sales manager, Tom Nickelson.

From: Mike XXX
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 12:55 PM
To: Tom Nickelson
Subject:  Letter of Appreciation

Mr. Nickelson,

Hello.  I’m with the Facilities Team here  in Lebanon TN.  I wanted to write to let you know of the great assistance given us, by your Memphis office.  Of particular help were Mike Moore and Dave Oliver.   Dave came in to assist in diagnosing problems with the previous drive, so we could determine if it was worth repairing.  We determined, using Dave’s analysis, that with its 13 year age, continued failures were likely, even if repaired.

Mike then came to the rescue, we had him to size drive we wanted, based on the old drive specs, as well as NEC temp de-rating based on our high ambient temperature location and continuous duty needs, and he spec’d us a Yaskawa drive to fit the bill.   We requested that we get a cabinet, drive, circuit protection and cooling all as one unit (one stop shopping).  Mike made sure we got what we needed, and had everything assembled quickly, and to our specs, and the builder he used even made the delivery.

My boss (Gary Renfro) and I were very impressed with Mike and your company’s service, and since we have one of these systems in at least 4 locations all about the same age, and in anticipation of potential problems, I suggested to Mike that he have your people call on the New Iberia facility.    Within days of our installation, we got a call from our New Iberia plant saying they were having problems, and we gave our sister plant your information, based on performance of Dave and Mike in particular and Innovative in general.

We just received word that our New Iberia plant had ordered a system from you guys, and I am very pleased that Mike’s excellent service translated into additional sales for your company.  You and he deserve it.

Once again, I wanted to personally write you and let you know of the great service from your Memphis office.   I know that your company will give our sister plant in New Iberia, the same great service Mike gave us.

Thank you, Thank you!


October 2, 2012

Buzz Sez

Buzz recently sat in on a meeting at SMC in Austin and perched with SMC pneumatics national sales manager Tim Kuchta (center). Innovative-IDM has been helping customers with SMC pneumatics, one valve at a time, since 2009. We are a Technology Distributor for Texas and Oklahoma. The rest of the mob with Buzz is (l to r), Tim Mueller, Greg Bried, Gene Gray, Buzz with Tim Kuchta, Todd Mueller, Carole Tomamichel and Gene Mussell.

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