Reader Feedback: The Price of Safety, Switching Vendors and Getting a Refresher on Motors and Generators

May 3, 2008
Readers Talk Back. They Want Answers

Not for Profit

In response to comments made about safety information’s price tag [“Why Is Safety Information So Pricey?” Jan08, p66], UL is a not-for-profit organization, not a government agency. Local governments adopt regulations that require compliance with UL standards. So in that regard, users are forced to do business with UL. Nice arrangement if you can get it.

UL charges what they need to stay in business. I would guess they make pretty good salaries. For government to subsidize publication of standards, it would only shift the cost from users to taxpayers, not to mention adding politics to the situation. Unpleasant, but I can’t think of a way to improve this.

JERRY BUTHMANN, senior engineer,
Concept Systems

A-B See Ya’

Why did we switch vendors [“The Great Supplier Purge,” Mar08, p19]? For years, we were 90% A-B for controls. Slipping product quality and implosion of correct-the-first-time tech support, plus expensive fees to be a Tech Connect Partner, and bug-ridden PLC programming multi-packages finally pushed us away from them in 1999-2001. We discovered such excellent products and tech support at other places, at one-quarter the price, that now A-B is less than half of our controls selections.

Our machinery has actually improved with the other vendors’ PLCs: they are faster, they have no failed modules out-of-the-box, and their tech support has taken us straight to the people who actually know the hardware/software/firmware when questions have arisen.

MARK PARIS, controls engineer,
Mountain States Automation

Press Refresh

I read Ernst Dummermuth’s article on motors and generators [“The Not-So-Odd Couple,” Mar08, p45]. Please keep these refreshers and primers coming; they are great. There should be a link on your website to get past primers/refreshers.

ARUN SINHA, distributor sales manager,
Opto 22

Where’s the Link?

The article on motors/generators is the kind of information that is most valuable when you encounter a specific need.

However, I could not even find a list of “back to basics” subjects that I could file away for future reference. Even better would be to post your material in a way that search engines would find it, and welcome vendors and special interest sites to “deep link” to your material.

I, for one, would do this, if I could find a list of what you have, and if you would allow me to link your articles to specific subjects on our website.

GARY RATHWELL, president,
Enterprise Consultants International

Editor’s comment:

Posting content in a manner that makes it easier for the major search engine spiders to find it is a challenge that sometimes seems more alchemy than applied science. I can tell you that we’re working on it. We also absolutely welcome suggestions about how we organize and categorize content on the site. We also welcome the interest of appropriate websites to establish links from their sites to relevant content on You don’t need our permission for that.

Joe Feeley

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