All posts by Joe Kaminski

The Most & Least Power Outages by U.S. State

These days, manufacturing is inextricably linked to the power grid. Many manufacturing processes are now automated using increasingly complex software programs and robotic machines that rely on a constant supply of electricity. So when a blackout occurs, more than just the lights go out in a typical factory. Outages can amount to critical failure and gobs of lost revenue for all stakeholders involved.

At MRO Electric, we wanted to find out which U.S. states experience the most and least power outages and electrical downtime. To accomplish that, we collected and analyzed the latest electrical reliability data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Specifically, we pulled the average annual frequency and duration of power outages per customer for each U.S. state from 2015 through 2019. Read on to see what we found. 

The U.S. States with the Most and Least Power Outages

The Top 10 States with the Most and Least Power Outages in the U.S.

Maine saw the highest average number of power outages at nearly four per year. This is significantly higher than the runner up, West Virginia, which experienced an average of 2.8 outages per year. Within the other eight states with the most outages, customers could expect an average of around 2 blackouts each year.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the District of Columbia suffered the fewest outages at an average of 0.7 per year. Wisconsin, Utah, and Massachusetts averaged 0.8 outages annually, Arizona had an average of one per year, and the other five states on the list all tied for an annual average of 1.1 outages. 

But the number of power outages only tells half of the story. For a comprehensive picture of electrical reliability, we also looked into the average duration of outages in every state.

The U.S. States with the Most and Least Electrical Downtime

The Top 10 States with the Most and Least Electrical Downtime in the U.S.

Interestingly, Maine not only experienced the highest average number of outages per year but also held the second most average annual downtime in the country. According to our calculations, downtime in Maine averaged 14.1 hours, beaten only by Florida’s 14.6 hours. Mississippi and Oklahoma show up on both lists as well, making them poor overall contenders for electrical reliability.

On the flip side, the District of Columbia receives top marks yet again with just an hour and a half of downtime on average—while still a significant number in the manufacturing world, it only represents 10% of the agonizing downtime experienced by factories that are affected by the average Floridian blackout.

Use the interactive map below to view the full data set for every U.S. state.

Impact of Major Event Days on Electrical Reliability

The Impact of Major Events on Power Outages in the U.S.

Major event days are defined as any day where outage metrics exceed normal averages. While these can sometimes be attributed to hackers, cyber attacks, and other anomalies, they are usually caused by severe weather patterns like hurricanes and blizzards.

However, these troublesome outliers are fairly rare and don’t do much to increase the average number of outages by state. In Maine, consistently ahead of the pack in terms of number and duration of outages, major events only cause 0.7 additional outages per year on average. That brings Maine’s overall average to 3.9 outages per year.

The same can’t be said for duration, though. Surprisingly, major event days cause a whopping 9 hours of additional average downtime in Maine each year. The resulting 14.5 hours is over 150% more than the 5.5 hours of downtime recorded when major events are not considered.

Considering the ten states with the most downtime overall, major events are culpable for as little as 3.6 hours and as much as 12 hours of average annual downtime. In Florida, the average downtime including major events is more than 580% longer than when major events are excluded. Needless to say, when major event days occur, they make a huge difference in terms of how long it takes to get the power back on.

Conclusion

The automation of manufacturing tasks has untold benefits in efficiency and output. The automotive industry, for instance, makes use of robotics for many tasks including welding, painting, and even hauling heavy parts to build more cars in less time. And yet, relying on these impressive technologies means that when you don’t have electricity, you don’t have production.

You may not be able to up and move your factories to one of the states with the least power outages, but you can always rely on MRO Electric to provide a vast array of quality remanufactured and new parts, along with quality repairs to your automation machinery. With MRO Electric, when the power comes back on, you’ll be ready for business.

G Code CNC

G Code

As a generic name for a plain-text language in which CNC machine are able to understand, G-Codes are important to understand in the manufacturing, automation and engineering spaces. You can enter a G-Code manually if you wish, but you do not have to because of the CAD/CAM software’ abilities along with the machine controller.  G-Codes are not necessarily readable by humans, but it’s possible to look through the file and determine what is generally occurring.

In the factory automation space, nobody likes downtime and receiving error codes. While using CNCs (view FANUC CNC parts here), many professionals are faced with G Codes. By definition, a G Code is a computer code language that is used to guide CNC machine devices to perform specific motions. A few examples of specific motions would be:

  • canned cycles
  • work coordinates
  • several repetitive cycles.
G Code: canned cycles-

Also referred to as a fixed cycle, canned cycles are ways to effectively and efficiently perform repetitive CNC machining operations. They automate specific machining functions. A few examples would be pocketing, threading, and drilling. A canned cycle is almost always stored as a pre-program in a machine’s controller. To learn more about canned cycles, check out this article courtesy of zero-divide.net.

G Code: work coordinates-

The G Code coordinate pipeline goes something like this:

  • Unit conversion to metric
  • Convert from relative to absolute and polar to Cartesian: g90g91XYZ()
  • G52, G54, and G92 offsets
  • G51 scaling
  • G68 coordinate rotation

G-Code is the most popular programming language used for programming CNC machinery. Some G words alter the state of the machine so that it changes from cutting straight lines to cutting arcs. Other G words cause the interpretation of numbers as millimeters rather than inches. Some G words set or remove tool length or diameter offsets. Be sure to check out our article covering FANUC CNC Codes here.

MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished FANUC CNC parts available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Tool Parameters, Feeds, and Speeds

Listed below are some easily-understood G-code commands in which are used for setting the speed, feed, and tool parameters.

F= Feed

The F command’s purpose is to set the feed rate. Keep in mind, the machine operates at the specified speed rate when G1 is used, G1 commands are set to operate at the set F value.

An error is likely to occur if the feed rate (F) isn’t set once before the first G1 call.  Here is an example:

  • G1 F1500 X100 Y100

S= Spindle Speed

The S command’s purpose is to set the spindle speed. The Spindle speed is almost always set in RPMs (revolutions per minute). Here is an example:

  • S10000

T= Tool

The T command’s purpose is paired with M6 in order to display the tool number to be used for cutting the current file. Here is an example:

  • M6 T1
Below is a complete listing of G Codes:
  • G00     Rapid traverse 
  • G01     Linear interpolation with feed rate
  • G02     Circular interpolation (clockwise)
  • G03     Circular interpolation (counterclockwise)
  • G2/G3   Helical interpolation
  • G04     Dwell time in milliseconds
  • G05     Spline definition
  • G06     Spline interpolation
  • G07     Tangential circular interpolation, Helix interpolation, Polygon interpolation, Feedrate interpolation
  • G08     Ramping function at block transition / Look ahead “off”
  • G09     No ramping function at block transition / Look ahead “on”
  • G10     Stop dynamic block preprocessing
  • G11     Stop interpolation during block preprocessing
  • G12     Circular interpolation (CW) with radius
  • G13     Circular interpolation (CCW) with radius
  • G14     Polar coordinate programming, absolute
  • G15     Polar coordinate programming, relative
  • G16     Definition of the pole point of the polar coordinate system
  • G17     Selection of the X, Y plane
  • G18     Selection of the Z, X plane
  • G19     Selection of the Y, Z plane
  • G20     Selection of a freely definable plane
  • G21     Parallel axes “on”
  • G22     Parallel axes “off”
  • G24     Safe zone programming; lower limit values
  • G25     Safe zone programming; upper limit values
  • G26     Safe zone programming “off”
  • G27     Safe zone programming “on”
  • G33     Thread cutting with constant pitch
  • G34     Thread cutting with dynamic pitch
  • G35     Oscillation configuration
  • G38     Mirror imaging “on”
  • G39     Mirror imaging “off”
  • G40     Path compensations “off”
  • G41     Path compensation left of the workpiece contour
  • G42     Path compensation right of the workpiece contour
  • G43     Path compensation left of the workpiece contour with altered approach
  • G44     Path compensation right of the workpiece contour with altered approach
  • G50     Scaling
  • G51     Part rotation; programming in degrees
  • G52     Part rotation; programming in radians
  • G53     Zero offset off
  • G54     Zero offset #1
  • G55     Zero offset #2
  • G56     Zero offset #3
  • G57     Zero offset #4
  • G58     Zero offset #5
  • G59     Zero offset #6
  • G63 Feed/spindle override not active
  • G66 Feed/spindle override active
  • G70     Inch format active
  • G71     Metric format active
  • G72     Interpolation with precision stop “off”
  • G73     Interpolation with precision stop “on”
  • G74     Move to home position
  • G75     Curvature function activation
  • G76     Curvature acceleration limit
  • G78     Normalcy function “on” (rotational axis orientation)
  • G79     Normalcy function “off”
G80 – G89 for milling applications:
  • G80     Canned cycle “off”
  • G81     Drilling to final depth canned cycle
  • G82     Spot facing with dwell time canned cycle
  • G83     Deep hole drilling canned cycle
  • G84     Tapping or Thread cutting with balanced chuck canned cycle
  • G85     Reaming canned cycle
  • G86     Boring canned cycle
  • G87     Reaming with measuring stop canned cycle
  • G88     Boring with spindle stop canned cycle
  • G89     Boring with intermediate stop canned cycle
G81 – G88 for cylindrical grinding applications:
  • G81     Reciprocation without plunge
  • G82     Incremental face grinding
  • G83     Incremental plunge grinding
  • G84     Multi-pass face grinding
  • G85     Multi-pass diameter grinding
  • G86     Shoulder grinding
  • G87     Shoulder grinding with face plunge
  • G88     Shoulder grinding with diameter plunge
  • G90     Absolute programming
  • G91     Incremental programming
  • G92     Position preset
  • G93     Constant tool circumference velocity “on” (grinding wheel)
  • G94     Feed in mm / min (or inch / min)
  • G95     Feed per revolution (mm / rev or inch / rev)
  • G96     Constant cutting speed “on”
  • G97     Constant cutting speed “off”
  • G98     Positioning axis signal to PLC
  • G99     Axis offset
  • G100   Polar transformation “off”
  • G101   Polar transformation “on”
  • G102   Cylinder barrel transformation “on”; cartesian coordinate system
  • G103   Cylinder barrel transformation “on,” with real-time-radius compensation (RRC)
  • G104   Cylinder barrel transformation with centerline migration (CLM) and RRC
  • G105   Polar transformation “on” with polar axis selections
  • G106   Cylinder barrel transformation “on” polar-/cylinder-coordinates
  • G107   Cylinder barrel transformation “on” polar-/cylinder-coordinates with RRC
  • G108   Cylinder barrel transformation polar-/cylinder-coordinates with CLM and RRC
  • G109   Axis transformation programming of the tool depth
  • G110   Power control axis selection/channel 1
  • G111   Power control pre-selection V1, F1, T1/channel 1 (Voltage, Frequency, Time)
  • G112   Power control pre-selection V2, F2, T2/channel 1
  • G113   Power control pre-selection V3, F3, T3/channel 1
  • G114   Power control pre-selection T4/channel 1
  • G115   Power control pre-selection T5/channel 1
  • G116   Power control pre-selection T6/pulsing output
  • G117   Power control pre-selection T7/pulsing output
  • G120   Axis transformation; orientation changing of the linear interpolation rotary axis
  • G121   Axis transformation; orientation change in a plane
  • G125   Electronic gearbox; plain teeth
  • G126   Electronic gearbox; helical gearing, axial
  • G127   Electronic gearbox; helical gearing, tangential
  • G128   Electronic gearbox; helical gearing, diagonal
  • G130   Axis transformation; programming of the type of the orientation change
  • G131   Axis transformation; programming of the type of the orientation change
  • G132   Axis transformation; programming of the type of the orientation change
  • G133   Zero lag thread cutting “on”
  • G134   Zero lag thread cutting “off”
  • G140   Axis transformation; orientation designation workpiece fixed coordinates
  • G141   Axis transformation; orientation designation active coordinates
  • G160   ART activation
  • G161   ART learning function for velocity factors “on”
  • G162   ART learning function deactivation
  • G163   ART learning function for acceleration factors
  • G164   ART learning function for acceleration changing
  • G165   Command filter “on”
  • G166   Command filter “off”
  • G170   Digital measuring signals; block transfer with hard stop
  • G171   Digital measuring signals; block transfer without hard stop
  • G172   Digital measuring signals; block transfer with smooth stop
  • G175   SERCOS-identification number “write”
  • G176   SERCOS-identification number “read”
  • G180   Axis transformation “off”
  • G181   Axis transformation “on” with not rotated coordinate system
  • G182   Axis transformation “on” with rotated/displaced coordinate system
  • G183   Axis transformation; definition of the coordinate system
  • G184   Axis transformation; programming tool dimensions
  • G186   Look ahead; corner acceleration; circle tolerance
  • G188   Activation of the positioning axes
  • G190   Diameter programming deactivation
  • G191   Diameter programming “on” and display of the contact point
  • G192   Diameter programming; only display contact point diameter
  • G193   Diameter programming; only display contact point actual axes center point
  • G200   Corner smoothing “off”
  • G201   Corner smoothing “on” with defined radius
  • G202   Corner smoothing “on” with defined corner tolerance
  • G203   Corner smoothing with defined radius up to maximum tolerance
  • G210   Power control axis selection/Channel 2
  • G211   Power control pre-selection V1, F1, T1/Channel 2
  • G212   Power control pre-selection V2, F2, T2/Channel 2
  • G213   Power control pre-selection V3, F3, T3/Channel 2
  • G214   Power control pre-selection T4/Channel 2
  • G215   Power control pre-selection T5/Channel 2
  • G216   Power control pre-selection T6/pulsing output/Channel 2
  • G217   Power control pre-selection T7/pulsing output/Channel 2
  • G220   Angled wheel transformation “off”
  • G221   Angled wheel transformation “on”
  • G222   Angled wheel transformation “on” but angled wheel moves before others
  • G223   Angled wheel transformation “on” but angled wheel moves after others
  • G265   Distance regulation – axis selection
  • G270   Turning finishing cycle
  • G271   Stock removal in turning
  • G272   Stock removal in facing
  • G274   Peck finishing cycle
  • G275   Outer diameter / internal diameter turning cycle
  • G276   Multiple pass threading cycle
  • G310   Power control axes selection /channel 3
  • G311   Power control pre-selection V1, F1, T1/channel 3
  • G312   Power control pre-selection V2, F2, T2/channel 3
  • G313   Power control pre-selection V3, F3, T3/channel 3
  • G314   Power control pre-selection T4/channel 3
  • G315   Power control pre-selection T5/channel 3
  • G316   Power control pre-selection T6/pulsing output/Channel 3
  • G317   Power control pre-selection T7/pulsing output/Channel 3

In conclusion, becoming well-versed on CNC G-Codes, along with other codes associated with CNCs is imperative in this day and age. By having up-to-speed knowledge of CNC codes, you could most definitely set yourself apart from the average Joe.

FANUC Controls Alarms

Fanuc Power Supply Alarm Codes – Alpha Series

Recently we had a customer who was working on troubleshooting a FANUC CNC Power Supply alarm that he had on a machine. He was wondering what the different codes stood for, so we wanted to go ahead and list the different alarm codes for this series. These codes apply to power supplies that start with the following prefixes. The “X”s after the H will be numbered, so an example part number is A06B-6087-H130.

A06B-6081-HXXX
A06B-6083-HXXX
A06B-6077-HXXX
A06B-6091-HXXX
A06B-6120-HXXX
A06B-6140-HXXX
A06B-6110-HXXX

Here is a list of the alarm codes for these series of Power Supply Modules.

AL01: The main circuit power module (IPM) has detected am Error (PSM-5.5,-11)
Overcurrent flows into the input of the main circuit (PSM-15 to –30).

AL02: A cooling fan for the control circuit has stopped.

AL03: The Temperature of the main circuit heat sink has risen abnormally.

AL04: In the main circuit the DC voltage (DC Link) has dropped.

AL05: The main circuit capacitor was not recharged within the specified time.

AL06: The Input Power Supply is abnormal (open phase).

AL07: In the main circuit the DC Voltage at the DC link is abnormally high.

Be sure to check out our article covering FANUC CNC Troubleshooting Frequently Asked Questions here.

A06B-6087-H130 alarm codes

For more information or to get a quote on a FANUC power supply, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

We also provide repair services for FANUC Power Supplies.

Modicon PLC History

Richard E. Morley, also known as Dick, was an American electrical engineer. He was an employee at Bedford and Associates, located in Massachusetts. He is most commonly known for his involvement with the production of the first Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) for General Motors and the Modicon in 1968. General Motors Company, often referred to as GM, is an American multinational corporation that is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan that engineers, manufactures, markets and distributes vehicles and vehicle parts and sells financial services.

Known as an author, educator, influencer and specialized engineer, Morleys’ accomplishments and contributions have earned him numerous awards from families such as ISA (the instrumentation systems and automation society), Inc. Magazine, Franklin Institute, SME (the Society of Manufacturing Engineers), and the Engineering Society of Detroit. SME offers the Richard E. Morley Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award for outstanding technical accomplishments in the manufacturing space by engineers age 35 and younger.

Schneider Electric currently owns the Modicon brand of PLCs. The PLC has been recognized as a major advancement in the automation space and has had an unprecedented impact on the manufacturing community as a whole. PLCs were designed to replace re-wiring and hard-wired control panels with software program changes when production updates were necessary. Before PLCs came about, several relays, drum sequencers, cam timers and closed-loop controllers were used to manufacture vehicles and vehicle parts. Re-wiring the relays and other necessary components was a very in-depth and costly process, but clearly worth the effort. The Modicon 084 PLC was modeled to be programmed in ‘ladder logic’ which had the look of the schematic diagrams of relay logic it was replacing.  This made the transition to PLCs easier for engineers and other professionals in the manufacturing space.  The automotive industry is still one of, if not the largest users of PLCs today. MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished Modicon parts available including the Modicon Quantum series. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Modicon PLC History

The Modicon PLC Timeline

A few years later, in the 1970’s, dialogue between PLCs came about. Introduced as the first industrial communications network, Modbus was based on a Slave/Master architecture that used messaging to communicate between Modbus nodes. All and all, a lacking standardization made PLC communications a nightmare.

In the  1980’s, General Electric made an effort to regiment the interconnection of devices from several manufacturers with MAP (manufacturing automation protocol). PLC programming software was also created to operate on personal as well as professional computers in order to remove the need for dedicated programming terminals or handheld programmers.

As years have gone on, PLCs have evolved as technology evolves. Nowadays, they include process, motion, and distributed control systems, as well as complex networking. Equivalent to an average, run-of-the-mill desktop computer, PLCs have capacities for data handling storage and impressive processing power.

Kawasaki E3/E7/E9 Controllers

Being a leader of the robotics industry for over 50 years, Kawasaki has developed one of the most complete lines of e-controllers on the market. All of these controllers are suited with a wide array of features including:

  • High powered CPU performence
  • Large, easy to use LCD Display
  • Optimized key layout
  • Easily accessible safety switches

The E76/77 family of controllers are very compact and used for smaller robot arms. One of these arms are the RS003N Robot, which has a maximum payload of 3kg and has horizontal and vertical reaches of 620mm and 967mm, respectively. The controllers with these robots specialize in assembly and material handling applications.

The E9 family of robotic teach pedants are also built very compact, however these devices are typically used in medium-duty applications. Unlike the other two families of controllers, the E9 family features an open structure system with a direct cooling system. However, like the E7 and E3 families, the enclosed structure with indirect cooling is an available option. The E9 family takes full advantage of the digital servo drive powering it to have a maximum payload capacity of 40kg.

E30/32/33/34 controllers at their base are very alike the E76/77 controllers but with more power. These devices are not as compact as the previous devices we have discussed, however the reason being they are highly expandable and are easier to maintain. Features such as Kawasaki’s K-Logic sequencer software allow the addition of up to 16 total controllable axes. The E3 family of Kawasaki e-controllers are able to handle the following maximum payloads:

  • E30 – 145 kg
  • E32 – 180 kg
  • E33 – 195 kg
  • E34 – 180 kg

If you are interested in learning how to purchase the robot arm, the controller, or any other part/device that goes into an industrial robotic set-up, please call MRO Electric and Supply at (800)691-8511 or email us at sales@mroelectric.com and we will help you get what you need.

3HAC028357-001

ABB Robotics 3HAC028357-001 Teach Pendant

The 3HAC028357-001 is a modern ABB Robotics Teach Pendant designed to be used with the IRC5 Industrial Robot Control, one of the most popular robotics controls on the market. Also known as the “FlexPendant”, the 3HAC028357-001 is characterized by its clean, color touch screen-based design and 3D joystick for intuitive interaction.

The 3HAC028357-001 TPU (or teach pendant unit) is a hand held operator unit used to perform many of the tasks involved when operating a robot system: running programs, jogging the manipulator, modifying robot programs and so on.

The FlexPendant is designed for continuous operation in harsh industrial environment. Its touch screen is easy to clean and resistant to water, oil and accidental welding splashes.

ABB FlexPendant

The 3HAC028357-001 replaces the legacy 3HAC023195-001 teach pendant.

The standard cost for a new ABB 3HAC028357-001 direct from the manufacturer or authorized distributor is typically in the $6000-7,000 range. MRO Electric is able to supply these pendants at a much lower price point, and we warranty all of our robotics parts for 12 months.

If you would like a free quote on a replacement ABB 3HAC028357-001, please email us at sales@mroelectric.com or call 800-691-8511.

KUKA Controllers lineup

KUKA Error Codes

The list below contains common KUKA Error Codes. These codes are applicable to all KUKA controllers, including the KRC1, KRC2, KRC3, and the KRC4.

Common KUKA Error Codes

  • Error Code 14 – SOFTPLC: @P1@
  • Error Code 284 – Accu–voltage at <kps number> below <voltage level> during last buffering
    • Cause
      • The accu voltage was too low at the last switch off to buffer the
        shutdown.
      • The accu is not charged correctly anymore.
      • The accu is to old or broken.
    • Effect
      • Eventually loss of reference.
      • Cold boot.
      • Active commands inhibited
    • Remedy
      • Exchange accu.
  • Error Code 310 – Safety Circuit for drives not ready
    • Cause
      • Safety circuit is telling drives not to move.
      • Faulty X11
      • Faulty ESC board
      • Faulty KPS 600
    • Remedy
      • Check ESC monitor and other messages to narrow down the root cause with the safety circuit
      • Replace faulty components
  • Error Code 364 – Unknown operation mode
    • Possible Cause
      • Faulty KPS 600 Drive
    • Remedy
      • Replace KPS 600
  • Error Code 420 – Local protective stop (QE)
    • Possible Cause
      • Faulty KPS600 Drive
    • Remedy
      • Replace KPS600
  • Error Code 1033 – ERROR ON READING, DRIVER: ** **
  • Error Code 1034 – ERROR ON WRITING, DRIVER: ** **
  • Error Code 1133 – GEAR TORQUE EXCEEDED AXIS
    • Cause
      • The calculated gear torque is larger than the maximum permissible gear torque.
    • Monitor
      • Cyclic in interpolation cycle.
    • Effect
      • Motion and program are stopped.
    • Remedy
      • Reteach points.
  • Error Code 1239 – ACKN. SYNCHRONISATION ERROR DRIVE
  • Error Code 1376 – ACTIVE COMMANDS INHIBITED
    • Cause
      • A message which causes the active commands to be inhibited has been set.
    • Monitor
      • In command processing.
    • Effect
      • Command is not executed.
    • Remedy
      • Acknowledge active messages in the message window.
  • Error Code 2029 – SYNTAX ERROR IN KUKA MODULE
  • Error Code 2135 – NAME NOT DECLARED AS SUBROUTINE
  • Error Code 6502 – Error during reading INI file init/iosys.ini 1
    • Remedy
      • Check iosys.ini file
      • Ensure correct DeviceNET driver is installed
      • Check data cable between robot / cabinet
  • Error Code 10053
    • Remedy
      • Check fan to ensure it isn’t vibrating. This could be causing the Mfc card to move into the motherboard’s slot.

MRO Electric carries replacement KUKA Robotics parts such as teach pendants, drives, motors, and more. To request a quote, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

KUKA teach pendant

KUKA Teach Pendants

MRO Electric and Supply distributes a variety of KUKA Teach Pendants for KRC1, KRC2, and KRC3 controls. We also can supply the new KRC4 smartPAD. The smartPAD pendant  is the latest type of KUKA teach pendant, designed to allow users to perform even the most complex operating tasks with ease – even those with little experience.  It features an 8.4″ display size with a industrial touch screen.

KUKA smartPAD Teach Pendant

The ergonomic design of the KUKA smartPAD creates a pendant with reduced weight and an anatomically comfortable operation. It can be used to operate all KUKA robots that have a KR C4 controller. Its 6D mouse allows for movement and reorientation of the robot on all axes.

All smartPADs are programmed using the KRL – KUKA programming language. This easy to learn robotics language is very intuitive, and can be used to create customized robotic motions with ease. You can also synchronize your programming with up to 6 KUKA robots. The other major benefit of the smartPAD teach pendant is that  it can be hot swapped at any time from a KR C4 controller – just simply plug it in and use.

Legacy KUKA Teach Pendants

MRO Electric also distributes a number of legacy KUKA teach pendants. We recognize that there are still a variety of older KUKA controllers still in use today. Rather than having to upgrade your control system when one of your pendants fail, we can ship you a replacement pendant to minimize any downtime.

If for some reason our stock is depleted, we can usually repair your KUKA pendant in as little as 3-5 days. Visit our main KUKA product page to see all the KUKA teach pendants that we can supply or repair.

For more information or to request a quote on a replacement pendant or panel, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

KUKA Robot Arms | Available Now at MRO Electric and Supply

KUKA Robotics

Updated August 2019: You can purchase KUKA products directly from our website.

MRO Electric and Supply distributes a variety of new and refurbished KUKA Robot arms.

We repaint and rebuild all of our refurbished robotics arms, as well as purge and replace the grease according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

We supply KUKA arms and wrists from a number of robots, including the following:

  • KR15
  • KR30
  • KR100
  • KR150
  • KR200
  • KR350
  • KR3
  • KR1000
  • KR10
  • KR16
  • KR120
  • KR60
  • KR140
  • KR360
  • KR16-2
  • KR30-3
  • KR90
  • KR180
  • KR60
  • KR500
  • Any Many More!

Most KUKA robotic arms are made up of 4-6 joints, and can be used for many different applications such as welding, material handling, material removal, and more.  Most KUKA robot arms are made from aluminum is built from the base up, ending with the wrist and whichever end effect is needed to help the arm perform its given application. KUKA was one of the first companies to use aluminum in robot arm design, which makes KUKA manipulators one of the fastest and lightest on the market.They also introduced a horizontal balancing spring on axis 2 before the other robot manufacturers, a design that has now been widely adopted.

Their large arms are typically used to lift heavy payloads are sometimes ran by hydraulic and pneumatic methods.

KUKA is known for their orange arms that have been used to build cars for Tesla and Porsche. They were also seen in the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day.

MRO Electric and Supply has a warehouse full of many types of KUKA arms and wrists. Give us a call today if you need a replacement and we can usually ship you one same-day! You can also email sales@mroelectric.com for a quote.

PLC Security

Programmable logic controllers, also known as PLCs, initially came about in the late 1960s. PLCs were designed to replace relay-based machine control systems in the major U.S. vehicle manufacturing space. The relay-based control systems were considered hard to use and were disliked amongst those in the automation and manufacturing in.

In 1968, Dick Morley of Bedford Associates in Massachusetts designed the Modular Digital Controller, later dubbed the Modicon. After the Modicon 084’s initiation into the world, there was no looking back to those relay-based control systems. Be sure to check out our article covering Modicon PLC history to learn more.

PLCs are user-friendly microprocessor-based specialty computers that carry out control functions, many of which are of high levels of complexity. They are engineered to endure harsh and strenuous situations such as in heated, cooled and even moist environments. Used for automation usually in the industrial electromechanical space, PLCs are computers that deal with the controlling of machinery, often on  the following:

  • factory assembly lines
  • power stations
  • distribution systems
  • power generation systems
  • gas turbines

PLCs are programmed using a computer language. Written on a computer, the program is then downloaded to the PLC via a cable. These programs are stored in the PLCs memory. The hard-wired logic is exchanged for the program fed by its user during the transition between relay controls to PLC. The manufacturing and process control industries have gotten to take advantage of PLC applications-oriented software since Modicon PLCs inception.

plc security
PLC Functions and Directions

PLCs use programmable memory in order to store particular functions and directions. Some functions and directions would include:

  • on control
  • off control
  • timing
  • sequencing
  • counting
  • arithmetic
  • data manipulation
PLC Types

Understanding the different types of PLCs will be very helpful when looking into PLC security.

The numerous types of PLCs can be organized into three principal categories:

  • Advanced PLC: Advanced PLCs offer the greatest processing power out of all of the PLC types. They feature a larger memory capacity, higher input/output (I/O) expandability, and greater networking options.
  • Compact Controller: Logic Controllers are increased intermediate level offerings with an increased set of instructions and a greater input/output (I/O) than a run-of-the-mill logic controller
  • Logic Controler: A logic controller is often referred to as a ‘smart relay’. They are generally straightforward to use and considered a good place to begin when becoming acquainted with PLCs. They are cost-effective for low input/output (I/O), slower speed applications.
PLC Security

As security concerns remain in many professional spaces including the factory automation space, becoming up-to-speed with the different types of PLC Security is imperative. By creating and implementing an effective strategy to remain secure, you will likely avoid issues, downtime, and setbacks. Understanding the different types of PLCs will be very helpful when looking into PLC security.

PLC Cybersecurity: How the control network is linked to the internet, as well as other networks. A handful of PLC issues could likely involve the following:

  • Incident response planning and plans;
  • Issues drafting and reviewing policies
  • Issues drafting and reviewing procedures
  • Retention of cybersecurity experts and vendors;
  • A need for preparation of a breach:
    • exercises
    • training
    • breach simulations
  • A need for cybersecurity insurance review and counseling
  • A demand for record management and information infrastructure;
  • Privacy risk management
  • Assessment of cybersecurity risk in mergers and acquisitions;
  • Payment Credit Industry (PCI) Compliance protocols
  • Vendor contract management protocols
  • Supply chain risk management

PLC Physical Security: Although PLC physical security differs from PLC cybersecurity, it is still important and should be prioritized when an individual or a company is undergoing breach simulations, training, and exercises. PLC physical security deals with:

  • correcting default passwords
  • ensuring only certified individuals are in the control system’s environment
  • limiting access to thumb drives and securing access

MRO Electric and Supply maintains a comprehensive stock of Modicon PLC parts, including the Modicon Quantum series. Also, feel free to check out our repair and core exchange programs to learn how to save.

Understanding Issues with Security
In order to create and implement training and procedures for staff, you must understand how issues with security occur.  Not all cybersecurity attacks occur from external hackers or scammers. In fact, experts believe that only an estimated 20% of all cybersecurity attacks are intentional and intended to be malicious. Whether you think it’s possible or not, an offended employee could indeed be your hacker. Almost always caused by software issues, device issues, and malware infections, cybersecurity seems straight-forward initially, until you dig into those fine, often overlooked details.

As many in the automation space may know, PLC cybersecurity wasn’t a thing a decade ago. These days, PLCs are connected to business systems through any run-of-the-mill network and aren’t separated from other networks that other automation equipment may also be on.  As time goes on, it’s becoming more and more common to see TCP/IP networking from a business system standpoint. By connecting via TCP/IP, data exchange, as well as more rational and scalable business decisions, is enabled.

PLC Security Factors:
  • Although it may not actually connect to the internet, a control system is unsafe. Contrary to popular belief, a modem connection could also experience intrusion and a hack.
  • Wireless networks, laptop computers, and trusted vendor connections could be other sources of connections in which people may be likely to overlook.
  • Keep in mind that the majority of IT departments are unaware of factory automation equipment, including CNCs, CPUs, PCBs, robotics parts and, last but not least, PLCs.
  • Piggybacking off of the last point, IT departments’ lack of experience with the aforementioned equipment, along with their lack of experience with industrial standards and scalable processes indicate that they should not be in-charge and responsible for a company’s PLC security. Nobody wants an annoyed employee to make inappropriate changes to a PLC’s communication highway.
  • Hackers do not necessarily need to understand PLC or SCADA to block PC-to-PLC communication. They absolutely do not need to understand a PLC or SCADA system to cause operational or programming issues.
  •  Often times, control systems, including ones that many PLCs integrate with, use Microsoft Windows, which is very popular amongst hackers.
  • Some PLCs crash simply by pinging an IP address, like what happened at the Brown’s Ferry Nuclear Plant, which is located in upstate Alabama. Since the incident in 2006, the plant has undergone numerous security, operational, and management improvements.

In conclusion, when a security breach occurs, regardless of the specifics, understanding that time is of the essence will help smooth over most incidents. Trusting who has access to a control systems environment and thumb drive is crucial. If someone has access to the control system environment and thumb drive, ensure they’re well-qualified and up-to-speed with their team and/or company.