Automation Direct seems to be the best fit for the conventional in-house machine upgrade or customization project. They started by rebranding Koyo PLCs and have since grown to offer many competitively priced controls solutions. Automation Direct sell directly to customers via their web-store, a unique offering in the control industry, which is undeniably practical. In the US, they are one of the quickest ways to get controls components; however, this a difficult offering in a global market. Ai Control Systems is proud of our close working relationship with Automation Direct.
Below, we offer a simple professional assessment that is editorial in nature and based on Ai’s general experience.
|Category||Rating (One to Five)|
|Ease of Integration||****|
Automation Direct can’t seem to get the respect they deserve. That being said, innovation seems to lag compared to others; however with PLC and Drives becoming a commodity, it is less of a factor of consideration. I think a large part of this is a perception that is promoted by the fact that often when we want something fast and cheap we just go and order it online from automation direct.
Automation direct is trying to get beyond this by offering an integrator like Ai a discount to help get quality implementations established. They have re-designed their PLC software offerings to compete for ease of integration.
When it comes to the depth of the product line, Automation Direct doesn’t have as many plant floor solutions and the operator interfaces are one of many favorite choices. They lack high end features that would allow for custom programing and third-party custom software features. We almost never require this functionality anyway.
Although they look basic, products from Automation Direct are surprisingly reliable. The shapes are practical and boxy without being sleek. This seems to suggest that the design was hurried. I think that simplicity is valued over functionality. Automation Direct is slow to incorporate new features. When they do, they seem to be just enough. The lack of features often leads to faster development, due to clarity in the purpose that comes with less features.
Support for automation direct is highly available. When designing a project with Automation Direct, I often leverage pre sales support. With the simple feature sets offered, it is often important to consider how to go about something because there are less paths to get there. I am rarely disappointed with the capabilities that are not implemented. The lower cost PLCs demand a deeper knowledge of computer science concepts like bit-shifting and memory operations. For someone new to PLC programming, it might make sense to start with a newer PLC.