Archive for March 2015

Why You Should Use Cage Clamp Terminal Blocks

March 25, 2015

Hi, Adam Ring with Innovative-IDM.  I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about the battle between the screw terminal and the cage clamp. So, why do people choose one or the other? Well, let’s just look at some of the basic facts. On the screw terminal, when you strip a wire and insert it into a screw terminal, the tightest that that’s ever going to be is the connection at the time you actually torque that screw driver down. From that point on it’s only ever going to get looser. Now when you talk about cage clamp terminal, when you strip the wire and insert it into the cage clamp, that’s actually the loosest that connection ever is. And as that wire then starts to take the shape of the terminal and the wires kind of splay out and basically mold to the shape of the terminal, it’s actually going to get tighter over time because of the spring force that’s holding that wire in place.

So, with temperature cycling as that wire has current running through it and it heats up and cools down and heats up and cools down, it’s going to be expanding and contracting and so forth. Well with the screw terminal, that’s only going to force that screw to back out and get looser and looser over time, whereas with the cage clamp with its spring technology, the spring actually compensates. As the wire expands, it expands, when the wire shrinks back it shrinks back with it and so it always maintains the right amount of tension on the wire for the application.

Now there’s also industrial applications; there’s typically a lot of vibration that is experienced. With a screw we all knows what happens when it’s around vibration, they tend to loosen up. With the cage clamp, vibration typically doesn’t matter. It moves and it adjusts and responds to the vibration without coming loose over time.

Now think about what it costs if you’re having to install hundreds of terminals in a given control panel. If you’re having to screw and tighten down each and every terminal, that’s going to take quite a bit of time. But with the cage clamp, all you basically do is insert a screwdriver, insert your wire, remove the screwdriver and it’s done. You get the same great connection every time. The other thing to consider is first thing in the morning when your fresh, you’re probably going to be tightening down those screws a lot tighter than the last one at the end of the day when you’re kind of tired. So you get a variation of how tight those wires are. And so then what ends up happening is once that panel gets installed in a machine, you’re going to start having loose connections and that’s going to potentially cause a machine to go down and cost you extra money.

So you always want to make sure that you use the right product for the right application. In the case where you have temperature cycling and vibration and you’re looking for the most efficient and best cost to connect your wires cage clamps are definitely the leg up.

So if you’d like to learn more about cage clamps and how Innovative-IDM can help you please visit our website We are Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.

The Benefits of Retrofitting an Industrial Control Panel

March 17, 2015

Hi, I’m Adam Ring with Innovative- IDM. You know, when I walk through manufacturing plants sometimes I’ll come across a control panel – you open it up, look inside and you see this technology that is like 30, 40 years old. What’s starting to happen is, customers are finding that a lot of the controls in their automation are starting to really become aged. When that happens if something breaks it’s really, really hard to find. We find a lot of people who try and search on eBay to find replacement parts, sometimes they’ll send them in and try to get parts repaired, but as they continue to age the repair gets more and more expensive and eventually things just get to the point where they’re not repairable anymore. One of the worst things that happens is a major component necessary for the operation of a machine goes out and then the machine is completely rendered useless until you either find a new part or completely rebuild the controls for it. By retrofitting a control panel, you’re able to remove any of those obsolete components and replace them with the current up to date stuff that’s readily available. It gets rid of all of your hard to find really difficult parts; it enables you to not have to worry about repairs for a while.

Typically the life a new control panel, before you have to really start repairing stuff, usually it lasts about 10 years before they start to go breakdown and then you eliminate that big terrible major risk of down time. And everyone knows whatever the cost to build a new control panel is usually minimal in regards to or compared to what it costs if a machine goes down or can’t produce products for weeks or months on end while a new control panel is being designed and built.

So, overall it’s a really good idea if you’ve got aged control panels where a component going out could really, really cost some major downtime and production loss. It’s a good idea to go ahead and take a look at retrofitting those control panels.

If you’d like help in that regard take a look at We are Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.

5 Ways to Improve the Air Quality in a Pneumatic System

March 11, 2015

My name is Andy Lewis and I’m with Innovative-IDM. Today I’m going to talk to you a little bit about your air quality and your pneumatics system. A lot of my customers tend to have issues with debris in their airline, scaling from black iron pipe, water in their airline, leaks, etc. Pneumatic systems with compressors, primarily reciprocating compressors, cause the most issues. Now, how do you protect your machinery downstream? Your cylinder, your valves- how do you protect them from having to constantly replace them or rebuild them? Well there a couple of ways you can do it, and today I’m going to give you five ways you can do it.

First off, main line 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. What you are going to see is generally a larger filter than this, with a port size of 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 going to come through. Now what’s great about SMC versus its competitors is going to be the level of microns that they filter down to is much higher than other companies. For example, the average is about twenty 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. And say for example, it isn’t water yet- it’s still in vapor form because your reciprocating compressor is putting air out at 160˚ F. So you have vapor traveling down your line. As that vapor gets down your line, it’s going to turn into condensate, because it has hit the dew point and now it’s in droplet form. Your valves, your rubber seal valves are noticing this water- your cylinders are noticing this water. 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. Alright, 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, lock.

You also have your filter- standard is five micron, goes all the way down to .01 micron, instrument grade quality. There’s nothing in your system then, it’s completely clean dry air. After that there’s also an AMG. Now this isn’t an AMG but it’s the same size. It’s a water droplet separator and takes out 99% of all water that’s going to be in your airline, 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 abnormal, or much hotter than the screw type. And with that being said you’re going to want an after cooler and you’re going to want a refrigerated air dryer coming out of that airline before it hits your other machines.

If you would like more information on this, please go to our website at and remember, Innovative-IDM is Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.

How To Understand the Difference Between Servo & Stepper Systems

March 3, 2015

Hi, Adam Ring here and I’d like to talk a little bit about the differences between stepper motors and servo motors. There is a difference in the way they are structured and controlled. Stepper is typically 50 – 100 pole brushless motor where a servo is basically a 4 – 12 pole brushless motor. The stepper typically doesn’t have any kind of encoder for feedback, sometimes you can add it later on as an option where a servo is always built with some sort of feedback device whether it be an encoder or a resolver in order to tell its drive the position of its motor shaft.

Now if we take a look at the speed torque curve for each of these motors they’re very different. A stepper motor has a lot of torque at slower speeds. In fact quite a bit of holding torque because of so many pulls it can have a lot of holding torque at low speed and then the faster that you run, that torque actually starts to drop off. But you look at the speed torque curve of a servo motor it’s actually very, very flat and you get a constant torque regardless of what speed you’re traveling up until its maximum speed.

If we look at the amount of current that a particular motor draws, a stepper motor typically is going to draw full current whether it’s standing still or running. In some cases drives that you use with them may have a feature where you can reduce the current if they sit still for a long enough time, but other than that they are basically just drawing full current all of the time which also produces extra heating, as you can imagine. Servo motors on the other hand use the amount of current that’s required in order to get the motor to hold or move as demanded by the application. So typically they are going to run a lot cooler and they also have a neat little feature that enables them to produce on occasion 2 – 3 times their rated torque for short periods of time as a peak rating.

Let’s look at the cost of installing a stepper or a servo motor. As you can imagine, a stepper motor is typically going to cost less. The motor construction is simpler, you don’t typically have the feedback and the electronics to control the motor are typically simpler and less expensive. With a servo motor obviously they are going to have some type of feedback device built into the motor and then the drives that we use to control them typically are a little more involved when it comes to how they are designed and built and typically costs a little bit more.

A little bit about the application these might be used in: the stepper motor is used in applications requiring about 2000 rpm or less where you need a lot of torque at the low end, whereas a servo motor is typically used for your higher speed applications that are more dynamic and require more acceleration and deceleration typically 2000 rpm and higher.

So depending on whether you’re doing indexing moves with a light load or really dynamic moves with higher loads you can choose whether to use the stepper or the servo motor. Whether you’re in the market to purchase a stepper motor or a servo motor or not really sure which one is the best choice, visit we have an excellent knowledge center where you can come and research differences, catalogs, white papers, videos and learn more. After all we are Innovative-IDM, Home of the Legendary Customer Experience.