Industrial Automation and Control Equipment: A Buyers Guide

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Industrial Automation and Control Equipment: A Buyer's Guide

As demand for efficiency in the workplace continues to grow, many manufacturers have seen the need to invest in industrial automation and control equipment. In order to keep up with competitors, control equipment is important. This equipment allows manufacturers to produce output by using quicker and more efficient processes with virtually no errors, while ultimately cutting the costs of labour. In addition, using industrial automation and control equipment decreases the number of workplace related accidents, as robotic machinery is not subject to the same chemical and health hazards as employees. With less handling and shorter lead times, manufacturers are able to increase business growth.

Industrial automation and control equipment can be used for everything from creating and assembling parts, to processing materials and packaging products for delivery. When purchasing industrial automation and control equipment at retailers such as eBay, buyers should consider the various types available and familiarise themselves with the associated advantages and disadvantages of this type of robotic labour.

Types of Industrial Automation and Control Equipment

There are various types of industrial automation and control equipment including programmable logic controllers, inverters, relays, and sensors. Together, this equipment helps to increase productivity in the workplace.

Programmable Logic Controllers

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are digital computers used for automation and control. These computers were first designed to replace relay logic systems. They have the ability to control machinery or factory assembly lines, light fixtures, or even amusement park rides, eliminating the need for on-site workers. PLCs are designed for multiple input and output arrangements and a wide spectrum of temperature ranges. Unlike normal computers, they are also immune to electrical noise and resistant to vibration, impact, dust, and moisture.


Inverters allow users to power their electrical devices when AC power is not available by converting DC power from a battery into conventional AC power. This is ideal for environments that require around the clock operation and whose manufacturing process or level of output would be affected greatly by a power failure. Also, inverters usually have the ability to power automation and control equipment in settings that do not provide electricity.

Connecting Inverters

Power inverters come in a wide array of sizes, and are measured in watts. Those that are less than 300 watts are generally connected to the battery through the DC plug. Alternatively, buyers can connect to the battery directly with use of equipment similar to jump leads. Power inverters that are over 300 watts are often hardwired to the device.

Safety for Inverters

When searching for an inverter, buyers should consider those with built-in ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection. These inverters have a feature that causes them to turn off automatically should they become subject to damp or wet conditions. The inverter is then able to account for the problem and self-power on once the device has been restored to its initial condition. This ultimately prevents users from electrical shocks and the potential risk of a fire. Buyers should also consider inverters with a built-in transfer switch. This allows users to switch from inverter power to mains or generated power.

Size of Inverters

Buyers should understand how to choose the right size of an inverter. This is best determined by the number of devices a buyer plans to use with the inverter. Each device should have a listed wattage rating. Buyers should add up the wattages of all of the devices in order to see which size inverter best fits their business requirements.


Relays are electrical switches whose opening and closing are controlled by an electromagnet. Relays are also made up of several other parts, including a spring that returns the relay back to its original state after each cycle and a set of electrical contacts that transfer power. These devices are used to switch from a small amount of power to a larger amount, as well as to regulate the flow of energy in an application. When searching for the right relay, buyers should consider whether they want their application to start powered on or off. Buyers should also consider the maximum voltage that can flow through the armature, or opening and closing of the relay, before it becomes subject to failure. This helps to prevent electrical mishaps and damage to the entire unit.


Sensors are widely used for industrial automation and control. They cut down the amount of workforce needed by automatically performing tasks that would otherwise require manual labour. Sensors may also be used for security in the form of motion detecting lights. As motion is detected, the sensor turns the motion into an electrical signal, which in turn performs a designated task. Popular sensors include speedometers and fuel gauges.

Types of Sensor

There are three types of sensors used for detecting motion. These sensors include microwave, ultrasonic, and passive infrared (PIR).

Type of Sensor



Measures the reflection of moving objects after it sends out microwave pulses


Works similarly to a microwave

Measures a moving object's reflection and sends out pulses


Does not emit any energy from the sensor, but instead looks for body heat

Emits electrical impulses when heated or cooled

Electrical impulses from the sensors are collected and electronically turned into usable data

These sensors may be electrical, mechanical, optical, chemical, or temperature based. Chemical sensors measure the presence and level of a specific chemical within an environment. Popular chemical sensors include carbon monoxide detectors, oxygen sensors, and pH sensors. Temperature sensors are designed to monitor the temperature of a component or environment.

Advantages of Industrial Automation and Control Equipment

There are many advantages to using industrial automation and control equipment for business. This equipment provides extreme accuracy, which in turn results in improved quality control. Due to the repetition of tasks performed by the equipment, products are exact in their design, which lessens the number of product flaws. In addition to improved accuracy, industrial automation and control equipment allows for fewer breakdowns and less downtime than a worker operated production line. This increase in efficiency saves time and material costs, while allowing for greater reliability. The cost of manual labour is also decreased, as machine controlled equipment can perform many of the same tasks, not only at a quicker rate, but for less cost, resulting in higher profits.

Disadvantages of Industrial Automation and Control Equipment

Although there are many associated advantages, industrial automation and control equipment do have their downsides. Even though the cost of employing skilled workers is reduced, the initial cost of equipment can be vast. Manufacturers also have to train employees in how to use the new automated equipment, which can grow quite costly, especially if it is necessary to hire external instructors. The cost of upkeep on the equipment may also be significant. In addition to equipment cost, using industrial automation and control equipment is likely to lead to an increase in unemployment; as manufacturing companies switch to robots, they need fewer people to perform tasks.

How to Buy Industrial Automation and Control Equipment on eBay

Shopping for industrial automation and control equipment on eBay helps buyers to see a range of equipment, some of which may be available for less than the full retail cost. The selection of industrial automation and control equipment available on eBay is large and the number of sellers in the marketplace means that pricing is competitive. To navigate to eBay's selection of industrial automation and control equipment, buyers should use the search bar located on the eBay home page. You are free to enter any related key terms such as "industrial automation and control equipment". Once you have been redirected to the results page, browse the list to identify the product required.

Alternatively, buyers can search for industrial automation and control equipment using eBay's advanced search feature. This feature allows buyers to limit results based on price or condition. Buyers may also use this convenient feature to search for items listed by Top-rated sellers. Top-rated sellers are known for dealing fairly and have received consistently positive feedback ratings. Knowing this can help a buyer to feel comfortable and confident throughout the transaction.


Industrial automation and control equipment is used to optimise productivity in the manufacturing industries and in the delivery of goods. Equipment such as programmable logic controllers, inverters, relays, and sensors help to promote greater efficiency. By using this equipment, manufacturers are able to boost the quality of products and services by increasing speed and reliability.

In addition to improving manufacturing processes, industrial automation and control equipment is also used to replace manual labour with a robotic workforce that is able to deal with hazardous materials or mundane, repetitive tasks. Although the high associated cost of the equipment may be of concern to a business, the long-term reductions in downtime and injuries to skilled workers far offset any initial costs. With the large selection of industrial automation and control equipment available on eBay's online marketplace, buyers are sure to find the right tools to enhance their workplace output levels while cutting costs.

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