The Material Handling Blog

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Making the Most of Automation for Food and Beverage Manufacturing

May 05, 2021
Adding advanced technologies to a distribution or manufacturing operation can certainly create efficiencies. With food and beverage, I’ve found that there are four key focus areas that can help manufacturers truly make the most of automating their processes.

Are You Being Held Hostage by Your Material Handling Provider?

July 03, 2018
One of the most important questions you should ask before choosing your material handling systems provider is: do they program in an open controls architecture?  The implications of the answer might surprise you. Read: Are You Being Held Hostage by Your Material Handling Provider?

What’s right for you? PLC or Safety PLC?

January 08, 2014
Do you need a PLC (programmable logic controller) or a safety PLC? The answer depends on the safety requirement of the system or equipment in question. There are PLCs and there are safety PLCs which have safety built into them. So what's the difference, and what should you be using for your automated system when there is a stringent safety requirement? Read: Safety PLC versus a Regular PLC

MAYDAY MAYDAY! The Art of a Well-Balanced HMI Alarm System

June 27, 2013
After purchasing a material handling system, the most beneficial tool in your arsenal for monitoring that system is the human machine interface (HMI). But within that HMI, the alarm system window is the most important component. With effective alarms, you'll be able to more quickly solve you material handling system disruptions. Read More >>

PC-Based Controls vs. PLC-Based Controls for Machine Automation

April 24, 2013
PC-based controls were all the rage a decade or so ago. I saw many systems delivered with PC-based controls touting advantages ranging from less cost to more functionality. From my perspective, it seems as though the tide has turned in recent years back to PLCs, so let's take a minute to review the pros and cons of each... Read More >>

4 Keys to Great Human-Machine Interfaces

August 12, 2011
A Human-Machine Interface (HMI) is a user interface through which humans and machines interact; the interface provides an operator with a graphic representation of the machine or operating system and then allows the operator to monitor and control that piece of equipment or system. There are numerous design principles and guidelines involved with designing an HMI, so I've narrowed the list to what I think are the most important aspects to great industrial user interfaces... Read More >>
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