Category Archives: Manufacturing News

Benefits of Buying Refurbished Industrial Automation Equipment

At MRO Electric and Supply, we offer a wide range of refurbished and reconditioned automation products for each of our manufacturer lines. We never supply used, untested, second-hand parts. Each of our refurbished parts is fully cleaned, serviced, functionally tested, and upgraded to optimal working order before being made available for sale. We also place each of our reconditioned products in like-new packaging for easy identification, transportation, and storage.

Benefits of Refurbished Automation Products:

1. Availability
For many obsolete and legacy automation product lines, finding new, unused parts can be a challenging task. Oftentimes, searching for unavailable new parts can cause unreasonably long lead times which increases the risk of downtime. MRO Electric stocks a variety of refurbished products with same-day and next-day shipping options, while keeps the risk of downtime to a minimum.

2. Price
Refurbished products tend to be significantly less expensive than new parts. MRO Electric offers many refurbished items for up to 75% less than their new counterparts. This deep discounting allows our customers to stock up on spares while minimizing their costs.

3. Equivalence
Purchasing an exact replacement prevents compatibility issues versus upgrading to a newer component. For some manufacturers, it is better to stick with tried and true systems than risk purchasing a different part that may not function correctly with their process.

4. Reliability
Just because a part has been refurbished does not mean that it won’t last as long as new. Additionally, many of our refurbished parts have seen little or no use throughout their lifetime. We are extremely confident in the reliability of our refurbishment process, and warranty all of our products for a minimum of 12 months.

                            Our Top Manufacturers
 Siemens     FANUC     Schneider-Electric                         Yaskawa           Control Techniques

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Yaskawa Motoman Swordfighter

Industrial robotics are pretty under recognized. It’s easy to think they’re all about manufacturing. But just watch as Motoman-MH24, normally found assembling or packing products in a factory, takes on a new lease on its automation life and becomes a master sword fighter.

Motoman-MH24 is a 630-pound high-speed industrial robot made by Japan’s Yaskawa Electric Corporation. The Yaskawa Bushido Project is a short video clip showing Japanese master swordsman and five times Guinness World Record holder Isao Machii teach Motoman-MH24 the way of the sword. The company made this promotional clip to celebrate what they dub “manufacturing spirit” as they near their 100th anniversary.

To date, Machii has demonstrated some pretty radical feats with his blade: slicing a flying shrimp pelleted at him at 80mph in half, and a neon ball flung at him at 150mph – and these are just some of the things the dude can do.

The Yaskawa researchers examined Machii’s sword techniques in 3D. Next, they got Motoman to reproduce the very same movements, and the results are superb. In a showdown between master and robo-apprentice, the pair first demonstrate a four-directional cut in flawless sync. Then Motoman-MH24 reproduces each of Machii’s cuts down to a tee.

Things start really heating up when the robot actually looks like it’s gaining an upper hand over its human trainer. While Machii horizontally slices one orange, Motoman-MH24 takes down six in one fell swoop. The most epic scene is probably the one where Motoman splices a really thin pea pod in half.

While Machii looks visibly tired towards the end of the final “1000 cuts” scene, his mechanical counterpart could probably go on for at least an extra 100000.

Click to view our Yaskawa Drives and Controls currently for sale.

Industrial Legacy Systems

Legacy Systems: Maintenance

Maintaining and upgrading legacy systems is one of the most difficult challenges industrial and manufacturing managers face today. Constant technological change often weakens the business value of legacy systems, which have been developed over the years through huge investments. Managers struggle with the problem of modernizing these systems while keeping their functionality intact. Despite their obsolescence, legacy systems continue to provide a competitive advantage through supporting unique industrial processes. Routine checks allow for preventative maintenance, and for replacement parts to be ordered before they are desperately needed. Here at MRO Electric and Supply, we stock a large number of classic and legacy products which can be shipped in record time.

Legacy Systems: IoT

When new technologies arise, engineers simply cannot uproot existing systems. However, some legacy controls can be connected to the Internet of Things. This allows for a high level of data acquisition which can be stored, processed, and analyzed. Several IoT products can also support remote monitoring and control. Many Modicon Quantum Series products have an Ethernet port that allows for this upgraded connectivity. However, not every legacy system has these capabilities.

Legacy Systems: Security

Targeted attacks on industrial systems always remain a threat as our society plows forward into the computer-driven Information Age. Securing legacy systems that were designed to communicate point to point is a enormous challenge. Many of these older systems were installed pre-internet era, are not designed for connectivity, and have no means of authenticated commands that are received. System interruptions for security updates can be difficult and costly, and downtime is expensive. It is always a challenge to find ways to increase security for legacy systems. One important tip is to always keep the software for connected legacy systems updated with the most current version.

Legacy Systems: Looking Forward

Although replacement supplies and remanufactured parts can be ordered for many years to come, it is important to keep in mind that no legacy system will last forever. In this current sluggish world economy, often the best answer is a well-planned, slow and steady upgrade.

If you need a replacement part for any of your industrial classic or legacy systems, please email sales@MROElectric.com or call 1-800-691-8511.

Modbus, Traditional Networks still Dominant over Industrial Ethernet

We’re always keeping an eye on innovation, and a big trend in the PLC world is the move toward industrial ethernet communications rather than traditional networks. However, Bill Lydon (Editor for Automation.com) recently posted an article asserting that it’s going to be 15-20 years before industrial ethernet becomes the dominant market technology. In the mean time, customers are relying on networks like Modbus, fieldbus, DeviceNet and others.

Modbus, designed by Modicon in 1979, is a request/reply protocol and offers services specified by function codes. Our Modicon Quantum Communications Modules utilize Modbus protocol to communicate with the drives and input/output modules on the same network, and Modbus has become so popular since its inception that many other industrial electronics also support the protocol.

Click Here to read the rest of the Automation.com article, including an interview with an IHS Media Electronics Researcher: http://www.automation.com/industrial-ethernet-growing-but-fieldbus-remains-dominant

Unidrive SP AC Drives Used in Belgian Theme Park Ride

Wondering what Control Techniques Unidrive SP Drives are actually used for? Well here’s a pretty cool application for those of you that enjoy theme parks. This zero-gravity ride at the Walibi Theme Park in Belgium was recently refurbished using Unidrive SP Drives. Previously, the ride had been using Unidrive Classic Drives to run the motors which hoisted riders over 250 feet in the air.

Dalton Terror Ride powered by Unidrive SP Drives

More information about the retrofit:

The drop tower is based at the Walibi theme park; the ride is a round tower of 77m in height and has five rows of seats, each with four-person capacity, in a ring around the tower.

The seats, weighing 1.5 tonnes empty, are hoisted by speed-controlled Leroy Somer geared motors to the top of the tower, where they are released to drop in freefall at a maximum speed of 110km/hr, generating complete weightlessness.

Magnetic current brakes that comprise permanent magnets fitted in the seats generating powerful Foucault currents in the metallic frame of the tower provide fault-free guaranteed braking, independent of the power supply, bringing the ride to a safe slow speed with hydraulic shock absorbers providing the final soft stop at the base.

This, Control Techniques said, makes the ride a ’zero-risk’ attraction.

The Dalton Terror was originally installed in the park in 1998 and featured the previous Classic Unidrives to haul the seats to the top of the tower.

Compagnie des Alpes has been investing heavily in the upgrading of many of the rides, with the accent heavily on safety.

When it decided to refurbish the Dalton Terror, the precise movement of speed profile of the previous Control Techniques drives was a key factor in the selection of the latest-generation of AC drives and five heavy-duty 75kW Unidrive SPs, operating in closed-loop flux vector mode, were fitted as part of the total renewal of the control panels.

Signals from encoders fitted to each of the Leroy Somer LSMV motors feed back to the drives and, using SM Universal Encoder Plus option modules, are re-transmitted to the PLCs that control the safety of the whole process.

Here’s a video of the ride in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agSTlMNbPpQ

Get your Unidrives here: http://www.mroelectric.com/automation/Control-Techniques/unidrive

North Carolina Manufacturing Expansion Project

Great news from our home state of North Carolina – the manufacturing company Oiles America is expanding their facility outside of Charlotte and increasing production capacity by 75%. From an article in the Charlotte Observer:

The project was completed to help increase manufacturing capacity and enable the company to expand its product line. Included in the expansion are increased research and development facilities, and renovations to existing office and warehouse spaces.

The project also will incorporate energy efficiency technology and occupancy sensors, and it has the potential to use solar energy in the future.