Thanks for visiting The Automation Primer! My goal on this site is to create a free community-focused resource dedicated to automation concepts and terminology. The tabs at the top of this page should help you find what you’re looking for…

Engineers learn a lot of mathematical and scientific concepts that give them an excellent theoretical understanding of the field, but which fail to provide the necessary practical knowledge that normally comes from years of trial-and-error. I hope to fill in some of those gaps with the resources and posts on this site.

Check out especially the Blog, PLC and Resources tabs if you are looking for something in particular, or contact me if you have any specific questions.


On this site, you’ll find samples of my book, Industrial Automation: Hands On, published by McGraw-Hill Professional, a complete tutorial on industrial automation. You’ll also find articles on PLC programming focused on making you comfortable using multiple platforms; for a good start on the subject check out my training manual on Amazon and at other booksellers. Also stay tuned for my online courses soon to be released.

You’ll also find user-submitted articles and blog posts that run the gamut of automation techniques and tips. Have something to add to the discussion? Want to promote your product or site? Contribute an article. I’ll edit, format, and publish it with full attribution to you.

This is the site I wished for when I was getting started in automation.

—Frank Lamb
Author of Industrial Automation: Hands On
Founder, AutomationPrimer.com.


I also provide automation training and services through my company Automation Consulting, LLC, located in Nashville, Tennessee.

Some of the subjects you will find covered on this site: Industrial Automation, machine design, control systems, software and programming, PLCs and HMIs, SCADA, motion control, robotics, sensors including proxes and photoeyes, systems integration, Six Sigma/Lean Manufacturing, packaging machinery, material handling and conveyors, machine vision, metalforming machinery, jobs and trades related to the automation industry, assembly machines, gauging and a host of other subjects. If you see something missing, let me know!

38 comments on “What’s this about?
  1. Paul Bellan says:



    1. An extensive, simple-to-read, physics-based tutorial on the various forms of electrical interference and how to deal with them. The tutorial discusses electrostatic coupling, inductive coupling, radiative coupling, ground loops, and transmission line issues.

    2. A description of the Loop Slooth diagnostic for rapid troubleshooting of electrical ground loops in complex situations.

  2. Phranc says:

    Thanks, looks like a useful tool as well as valuable information. If you are interested in posting an article here for one of my two weekly posts please let me know.

  3. AK says:

    Would be interested in more content on motion automation

    • Phranc says:

      You’re right, I haven’t covered that much. I’ll address it in today’s post but would loveif you’d do a guest postor article sometime, always appreciate feedback.

  4. sharath says:

    The way explain is good
    Boost Electronics: Design & Supply of Electrical & Automation Systems , Control & PLC Panels manufacturers, Electronic & Contract Manufacturing Services,Relay cum Field Interfacing Modules manufacturers, Custom built Active & Passive Interfacing Modules.

    • Phranc says:

      I appreciate all comments and links related to automation contributed by anyone on this site, unfortunately sometimes the links don’t work. I would like to check these links out, could you post the actual websites here? I can also add them to my “Resources” page.

  5. Automation says:

    Traditional or bookish knowledge is not enough at all, practical knowledge is very important,thanks for sharing your books with us.

  6. garrymoore says:

    hito all automationprimer.comersthis is my first post and thought i would sayhi–
    speak soon
    garry m

  7. Matthew Pelletier says:

    Hi there,

    I just read a post on lockout tagout you posted a while back on your blog: https://automationprimer.com/2012/09/16/safety-standards/

    I thought you might be interested in a resource of free lockout tagout safety powerpoint presentations we just published, check it out: http://complianceandsafety.com/blog/lockout-tagout-powerpoint

    You’re more than welcome to use any of the content in this resource on your site. We want it to help as many people as possible.

    Thanks a lot!

    Matthew Pelletier
    Director of Public Relations
    Compliance and Safety

  8. Doug W says:

    I’m just finding all this information mind boggling. I really appreciate this practical knowlege sharing. i haven’t been able to find this kind of stuff anywhere. I work on automation in the real world and these subjects have already explained a lot to me as well as taught me some new tricks. I’m really going to like this.

  9. Mario V. Martinez says:

    This is such a great informative website! Nice work Frank!

  10. nadim says:

    This is a great site
    I be been looking for some books on panel designing, but did not get anything but now I found this site is very useful for new design engineers. Like me.
    Thank you Frank.

  11. Matt H says:

    This is great information!Keep it up!

  12. Control Panel Guy says:

    I have a large collection of white papers and case studies from various manufacturers in the automation space.Rittal, Panduit, etc.http://www.bgbsupply.com/page/whitepapers.There is also the blog that has some resources as well.http://www.beyondthegraybox.com/

  13. Thermal Imager says:

    This site is excellent, any way to make it a community of sorts to help with contributions?I work with a number of control panel builders and system integrators and we are creating all sorts of collateral.Videos, best practices, product guides, etc.

    • Frank says:

      I’d love for this to become a forum for discussions etc, but that is really more up to the people who visit the site rather than me. I try to post relevant and interesting automation-related information here and always welcome contributions.

  14. aeab says:

    Great information about the Automation. Click here for more information on Siemens solution partner

  15. ?????? says:

    Yes! Finally something about MITSUBISHI PLC Training Software.

    • Frank says:

      I have mostly covered A-B and Siemens in this blog with a couple of guest posts on Idec and Panasonic. I would love to have someone do a post on Mitsubishi since I don’t know much about it.

  16. Thomas says:

    Hello Mr. Lamb: My name is Thomas, I am a financial analyst in a brokerage firm. I am given a job to write a sector report on Automation, which in my mind will include some introductions on the applications of various automation product and how those products can be applied onto different industries. I have no background in machines and I think I will never understand how PLC is programmed, but I do need answers, probably detailed descriptions, on automation products and how they are applied on different industries. I wonder, do you think your book:<> is the right book for me? And if possible, would you mind send me a sample piece that you think to be able to answer my questions on any automation product? Thank you very much!

    • Frank says:

      Hi Thomas,

      Without specifically knowing the points you are trying to support I don’t know if the book would be appropriate. The book is quite general, though there are some application descriptions that may be specific enough to show how products are used for different purposes. Some of the posts on this site may help also, especially under the applications tab or under “sensors” or “PLCs”.

  17. Justengg says:

    Just Engineering Pvt Ltd Provide PLC/SCADA Institutional Training in Pune as well as we Provide Corporate Training,PLC/SCADA Classes, Project oriented Certification Courses See More… http://www.justengg.com/Engineering-student-jobs-training/

  18. nagireddy says:

    We have an best articles on Automation Industry. We want publish that articles into your site for improving your and our reputation as well . If it is OK send me reply how can I publish articles with you.

    • Frank says:

      I am happy to post guest articles, with proper review of course. Send me a sample article and let me check it out!

      • nagireddy says:

        Machine Condition Monitoring Market: There is always a risk associated with working machinery and to overcome this problem, machine condition monitoring gives a perfect solution. The demand for machine condition monitoring equipment is increasing rapidly which would help increase the potential of industrial output. This report “Machine Condition Monitoring Market” covers all its aspects with opportunities, drivers, restraints, and others in detail. It consists of condition monitoring apparatus, procedures, schedules as well as methods for data collection and analysis procedures. Machine condition monitoring decides the maintenance of the machine by monitoring its condition; thus increasing the efficiency of the assets and time for repair.

        Conditioning monitoring process on the whole includes non-invasive measurement, visual checkup, performance data and programmed investigation. It indicates the sign of decreasing performance or emergency shutdowns; thereby prevents complete system failure of the industry. It is a preventive maintenance method as it concludes equipment status before a breakdown occurs.

        Vibration measurement in this market field is widely prominent and is further growing in terms of awareness and demand; thus there is a rise in demand for vibration meter. Sales generated from vibrating monitoring and vibration analysis is predicted to continue growing.
        Geographically, the machine condition monitoring market is projected to grow due to the shift from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance in numerous industries for sufficient warning time and predicting failure of the system. The American market generated highest revenue for Machine Condition Monitoring in 2015, closely followed by Europe. Furthermore, the APAC market is projected to be the fastest growing region in the forecast period owing to the increasing demand for condition monitoring systems.

        Apart from the geographical segmentation of the market, the report also includes pricing and value chain analysis separately that will provide key insights and market scenario. Forecasts are provided for all the market segments for the period 2016-2021.

        More Info @ http://industryarc.com/Report/15026/machine-condition-monitoring-market.html

        Market Segmentation:
        Machine Conditioning Monitoring Market is classified into 4 broad divisions based on the further given factors. The segments are yet divided into narrow segmentations which are all completely analyzed and included in this market research report.

        1.By Type: Vibration Analysis & Diagnostics, Lubricant Analysis, Acoustic Emission, Infrared Thermography, Ultrasound Testing, Motor Condition Monitoring & Motor current, Corrosion and Others.
        2.By Component: Spectrometer, Ultrasound Detector, Vibration Sensor, Corrosion Probes and Others.
        3.By Application: Aerospace, Defense, Automotive, Chemicals, Marine, Power Plants and Others.
        4.By Geography: Americas, Europe, APAC and ROW.

        Key Market Vendors Analysis:

        With rising awareness and implementation of condition monitoring, there is a global need noticed for this market. IndustryARC has analyzed and mentioned more than 40 notable competitors of the Global Machine Condition Monitoring Market with few of the top ones being:
        ?Rockwell Automation Inc.
        ?Fluke Corporation.
        ?Emerson Process Management.
        ?SKF Condition Monitoring Inc.
        ?Honeywell International Inc.

  19. APEX says:

    I love it when people like Frank that are experts in a given field decide to share their expertise with others to help them in their process.

    Keep up the good work Frank!

  20. Josh Joseph says:

    I’m just finishing up my EE degree and I find that learning this type of stuff is key. Practical plus theoretical equals success. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  21. Ryan McCarthy says:

    Hello Frank,

    Great site, I really appreciate your willingness to share your expertise. I was messaging in the hopes that you may do a post on the VisiLogic platform, similar to your cover of the Allen Bradley PLC product line. What are your thoughts on Unitronics and their products?

    Best Regards,
    Ryan McCarthy
    Systems Integrator

    • Frank says:

      Hi Ryan,

      I can pretty much only write on platforms I know something about. I am somewhat familiar with Unitronics as it has been used on projects I have been involved in, but I don’t know anything about VisiLogic. I wrote the posts on Allen-Bradley, Siemens and Automation Direct because I knew the platforms pretty well, but if you notice the Idec, Panasonic and Beckhoff posts are guest posts. I didn’t feel qualified to write on those platforms because I have no experience with them. If you are up to it, I’d love to have you write one! I am also still looking for someone to write one on Omron, Mitsubishi, GE and Modicon.

      • Ryan McCarthy says:


        Thanks for getting back to me. I would be happy to review Unitronics, however I don’t feel like I am an expert by any means, so I have contacted the company to see if I can prepare a quality report with their help. I’ll let you know how it goes.

        Best Regards,
        Ryan McCarthy

  22. hafiz says:

    Since i buy your book.. I know you really have the direction to share your experienced in the journey of the machine design starting from the URs until the delivery. Thank Frank ! May You been blessed always with the true success in these life

  23. Sanaila Daveta says:

    Could you please assist me in making a ladder logic diagram for boiler operations. We are using siemens at school and it is used for my marine engineering research and assignment. Your assistance is highly appreciated.

  24. Michael khan says:

    I am a big fan of your blog and have been a reader for quite a while. I noticed that you featured some guest posts in the past and I thought the piece was an excellent fit for your site and your readers.
    Are you currently accepting guest posts? If so, I would be happy to write one for you on any topic- the choice is yours! (The only thing I ask for in return is just one or two do-follow links back to my website.) I am a professional writer with a lot of blogging experience so you can count on me to produce quality content. As soon as you reply to a topic, I will get started right away.
    I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


    Micheal Khan (Guest-Blogger)

    • Frank says:

      Hi Michael, always up for guest posts if they’re appropriate, as a matter of fact I posted one today. I always link back to the poster also. Let me know what you’ve got and I’ll take a look.

  25. Online Electrical Training says:

    I am a regular visitor to your blog and I found your post full of new information whichhelp us . The blog you have written is great. Keep writing..!!

  26. Anna Abdiel says:

    Quite interesting!! Thanks for sharing such an informative piece of information!! I will appreciate if you can write an article on the motion control system as well. Roxtec Distributor Ohio

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