Nine benefits of using Made in America automation products for OEMs

Sponsored Content: Buying products from manufacturers that operate in America offer several benefits to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). See nine ways OEMs can benefit.

By Shalli Kumar June 24, 2024

1. Stable predictable prices without tariff uncertainty: America is waking up to the threats of Made in China poses. It was first brought to light by President Trump when he imposed import tariffs of 25% or more in 2018. However, the tariffs applied only to raw components imported from China rather than the finished products such as human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). President Biden not only continued the Trump tariffs; he recently increased the tariffs. Politics aside, tariffs on Made in China are here to stay and will increase over time.

This makes the prices of Made in China unpredictable. Stable prices of Made in America automation products offer stable prices, is a significant benefit to American Automation engineers, now and in the future.

With EZAutomation, you not only get stable and tariff free prices, you get Made in America products that cost less than Made in China. EZTouch EZ3-EE HMIs cost less than EA9 C-more from Automationdirect, EZTouch EZ5 HMIs cost less than CM5 from Automationdirect, and EZTouchPLCs cost less than their PLCs.

2. Stable and faster delivery with supply chain issues minimized: We all remember supply chain disruption starting with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In the next three years, lead time for automation products from China went to as much as 26 weeks. Transportation costs quadrupled. America had difficult time getting the most basic necessities like penicillin. Whereas EZAutomation was also impacted as some of its components come from China, yet the overall lead times were far better than products from China. EZAutomation promises Same day FREE shipping for orders placed till 6 p.m. CST (4 p.m. PST) for most of its products.

3. Better products and services resulting from shorter end user proximity: We design and manufacture in Iowa and Illinois and use the products we manufacturer.

Example: AVG Automation has over 500 man years of plant experience and that shows in our products. The same is not possible for products made in mass volumes in China at low cost. EZAutomation products incorporate attention to detail resulting from this vast plant experience, resulting in consistently decreasing down time in EZAutomation plants. It is this driving force that results in:

a. Patented on-line Edit as a common and exclusive feature in our HMIs.

b. miniWifi that allows programs to be edited from 50 ft. away without needing a programming cable.

c. OEM utility to be able to update user programs over email without any programming software.

d. Plug-in PLC I/O modules.

e. Removable Plug-in terminal blocks for PLC/IO wiring.

f. LED indicator lights for all digital I/O’s.

g. Remote HMI/PLC monitoring over smart phones and internet.

h. Self-Learn EZ Programming software so simple that even your CEO can do it in minutes.

i. Practically 24/7 local tech/application support around the clock.

4. Products that reflect American innovation: America became a great industrial power on the back of its innovation that runs through the blood of so many Americans. Manufacturers sitting thousands of miles away can copy American products, but U.S. innovation remains respected the world over. Examples include:

a. All EZTouch HMIs have a patented on-line edit feature. It is well known that on the average, a new HMI installation requires 5 edits to its screen design in the first three months of its use. EZAutomation by AVG is the only company that allows on-line edit without shutting down or disconnecting the HMI. This saves the End-user thousands of dollars in downtime.

b. Modular TouchPLC concept that is an all-in-one HMI and PLC that can be programmed with a single software, that saves one third of panel space and one third of cost. There are 33 different I/O modules that can be plugged in for an extremely flexible control system design.

c. Tiny High power HC plug-in I/O module that can handle huge in-rush currents while retaining its small size of 2”x2”x1”. All dc solenoids or fans have a huge in-rush current. For example a 24 Vdc 250 ma solenoid can have an inrush current of 1.6 Amps. Normally, the control system designer is forced to use external Relay modules to achieve the in-rush current which takes away their short circuit protection feature. The HC High current dc output module for our PLCs is capable of handling 4 amp in-rush current per module and 1 amp of steady state current for each of eight outputs, while retaining its short circuit protection feature.



d. EZminiWifi: All our HMI based products have the option of turning their RS232 serial port into a miniWifi port. Many times the HMI location is not that easy to access. EZ miniWifi allows the controls engineer to edit the HMI/PLC program from 50 feet away without the need to plug a programming cable into the HMI. In addition, the EZ miniWifi is secure as it is a point-to-point communication channel.

e. All EZTouch HMIs have a feature called OEM Utility. This feature allows field upgrade of an HMI program over email. No need for programming software or plugging in a USB. Person desiring to upgrade the HMI program can send an executable file with their changes and email to the field. All the user has to do is connect the HMI to a computer and execute the upgrade.

f. Detachable Front EZ7: Plant, maintenance and control engineers know the weakest component in an HMI is the touchscreen and display as these are subject to a lot more wear and tear as compared to the rest of the logic and communication electronics. In solving this problem to minimize down time due to a failed touchscreen, EZAutomation divides the HMI into two parts, front panel with touchscreen and display and the back panel with logic and communication. If the touchscreen or display needs to be replaced, all it takes is 2 minutes to unscrew the damaged front panel and replace it with a new one. No rewiring, no downloading HMI programming, no HMI set-up and no extra efforts are needed to get the HMI running again.

g. EZminiTouchPLC is an engineering marvel that puts incredible processing power in every cubic inch of this product. 4” unit, 12 DI, 8 DC 500 ma short circuit proof outputs, 2 12 bit AIN and 2 12 bit AIO, 4 1formC 5 A relays with built in snubber networks, 250 KHz encoder, serial port, Ethernet, LED indicators for all I/O, plug-in removable terminal blocks, all packed into a 5.06×4.08×1.5” enclosure.

h. Innovating the EZMarquee: All LEDs lose their brightness as they age, making an LED message display to lose characters in the middle of the display. EZMarquee is manufactured with pre-measured luminous intensity so that the loss of brightness is uniform and the message display looks like it is fresh out of box even 10 years after the installation. In addition, the EZMarquees weigh one-third and consume one third the power of all competitors and cost one-third, as well.

i. Innovating EZiMarquee: Whereas EZmarquees communicate to more than 95% of PLCs in the market, EZAutomation came up with the concept of having the smarts of an HMI in the marquee that allows connection to any PLC network requiring no change in PLC programming. It simply monitors all the PLC tags on the network and displays all relevant messages.

j. EZ Power Supply with LED display: When EZAutomation decided to enter the dc power supply market, it wanted to do something different, something innovative. Result was EZPPS up to 240 W, with two LED displays. One 3-digit voltage adjustable voltage display, and the second, a two digit load current display. In addition, it has a maintenance timer as well as a current monitor output that turns on if it exceeds a programmed current limit. This is a power supply, everybody falls in love with.

k. EZ Production Monitor to improve plant productivity by 50%: EZAutomation’s latest product introduction is a Production Monitor that has a two-line 10 character each, LED tricolor display that monitors actual production and quality as compared to goals set for a shift. It communicates this information to a computer over Wi-Fi up to 50 ft. away. User interface is extremely simple: enter shift hours and goal per hour, acceptable reject level and let the EZPM do the rest. It is bound to pay for itself within a month. In addition, it has data logging to review past history.

5. Local American FREE Technical/Application Support, practically 24/7: Made in America Automation products from EZAutomation have another side benefit. Besides 6 AM to 5:30 PM CST, it has phone, text and email support for technical and application questions. And it is FREE.

6. Local warranty and non-warranty repairs: EZAutomation Made in America products are repaired in Bettendorf, IA. Repairs are faster and the analysis of a failure is faster as compared to sending the product back to China for failure analysis. EZAutomation has a strict 8 Discipline QS9000 policy to get to the root cause of any product failure within warranty period in a rapid-fire succession that allows its manufacturing lines to have a constant process improvement with local support.

7. Minimal Product Obsolescence: Another not so apparent benefit of Made in America is minimal product obsolescence. EZAutomation/AVG still supports products introduced in 1968.

8. EZAutomation product customizer: Having all its design and manufacturing operations in Bettendorf, Iowa, EZAutomation prides itself with a very quick response to product customization. If the products are manufactured in volume in China, if you want a change, particularly in hardware, it will take multiple years if the manufacturer will even entertain the idea of a customer requested change. EZAutomation has designed and manufactured a significant number of customized products, such as specialty I/O modules, even when the need is just 1000 per year, and it has done these within 3 months from concept/order to pilot production. This is a unique benefit of Made in America.

9. Supporting American jobs and national interests: Other significant benefits of Made in America are supporting American economy, American dollar, American standard of living, American jobs, and American national security interests. See related content on the other advantages of Made in America linked below.

Note: 85% of all automation products are Made in China and includes products from major automation suppliers from the U.S., Europe and Japan.  

Many American automation engineers are misled by automation companies with major product lines distributed from U.S. warehouses but originate in China.

Author Bio: Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar, founder and chairman, EZAutomation