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Web Site Resources for Automation Users

Chris Anderson, of Long Tail book fame, proclaimed that the web was dead in 2010. He proclaimed that the Web was dead and the next phase of the digital revolution was to be peer-to-peer communication, mobile.

Acromag offers faceted search to access specific content quickly.
Acromag offers faceted search to access specific content quickly.

But, what about all that money that automation suppliers dumped into their web sites for the last 20 odd years? Don’t fear, end users still need to find information, and the web is not dead yet.

This month, I’m presenting some fine web site tools and resource pages. One of my favorites is faceted search—something I don’t see all too often—and a solid example can be found on Acromag’s web site, www.acromag.com/resource_finder. This tool allows a visitor to select three different values to complete a search, allowing for much more refined results. At Acromag’s site, you can select a resource type (content type), a product category and then enter in a model number. For example, select data sheets, embedded systems and COM express, and then a model number. Voila! You have quite the targeted search, and very quickly (see image).

Many automation vendors are large companies and finding a distributor for their products can take time. Rockwell Automation (www.rockwellautomation.com) offers up a “find a distributor” page; once you enter a Zip code and hit enter, a list of companies appear. The whole process keep you on the Rockwell site, and provides contact and location information right on the site. Find it at http://bit.ly/aroundweb198

What about resources? Most vendors offer case application pages, but most are poorly categorized or designed. Beckhoff Automation (www.beckhoff.com) offers a case application page divided up by industries.  Also, the “application and solutions” navigation option appears on every beckhoff.com page.

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