Archive for September, 2010

Focusing on What is Really Important

September 30, 2010 by Kara

As a part of my continued training in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) skills I found that I really wanted to understand what the people coming to our website were doing and if the information was relevant to their searches.  In seeking help in understanding Google Analytics, yes I am like the majority of the other companies out there I love my free analytics, I found a class offered where the teachers are certified through Google so I signed up.

When I first started looking at the analytics of our website I thought that I wanted as many visitors to my site as possible because then I was more likely to get a lead.  That ended up being completely wrong.  I was looking for quantity and not quality, which is odd because the culture here at Setpoint is all about the quality of time and not quantity of time spent on a project.  Slowly I began editing the site and streamlining it to make it more relevant, my visitors did decrease but the percentage of people who found us irrelevant also decreased.  Plus, added bonus, I started getting better leads.

So after taking out the extra stuff off my website and focusing on what we do, now our volume of traffic is down but those who are coming are actually finding what they are looking for, which is great!  I learned a lot from the class that I signed up for.  They walked all the way through the program and showed us different ways we could view the data, filters we could set up like taking out the people here at work.  Because really, do I care how long one of our engineers spend on our website?  No, not really, they aren’t going to buy anything.

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Taking a Problem and Finding a Solution

September 16, 2010 by Scott P

Setpoint Systems builds custom automation solutions and in the process there are problems that come up where a creative solution can come in quite handy.  Recently we used a creative solution to fix a problem of excess energy with servo motors.  Many people don’t understand that one of the issues faced with running motors and servos at high speed and high cycle rates is the deceleration. As if accelerating to speed were not bad enough, you have to be able to stop the thing as well. Accelerating requires extra current, but in decelerating, there is a lot of energy that has to be disposed of somewhere. In fact, the energy available in an object in motion increases with the square of the velocity. If the velocity doubles you increase the energy by 4X. All that energy has to be absorbed by something.

Commonly in servo drives and frequency drives that excess energy shows up in the form of excess DC voltage on the DC bus. If this voltage gets high enough, the drives are designed to protect themselves, usually by declaring a fault and shutting down. Well, now that’s really convenient, eh? So the question that begs to be answered is: What do you do with all that extra DC voltage? Most drives have some sort of internal method of absorbing the extra energy, frequently in the form of a resistor circuit. This feature allows the excess voltage to bleed off to ground at a reasonable rate. If the DC voltage climbs too high or too fast, such that the bleed off circuit can not absorb all of it, then the drive faults. Let’s add more resistors! That will usually work.

However, on a machine that I was working on recently we sized a resistor to handle the excess energy of a VERY LARGE servo press that had to stop VERY fast. The resistor recommended by the vender was 48” long. No that’s not a misprint.  That is four feet long, for a resistor! We didn’t like that option. So our vender recommended that we look at a product from a company named Bonitron. They make several sizes and flavors of devices that take excess DC energy, chop it up and spit it back out onto the three phase AC line. They call them Line Regen Modules. By using a diode module, also from Bonitron, we were able to hook multiple drives onto a single DC bus without back feeding into each other and feed it into the Line Regen Module. So far, it’s working great. I am quite impressed with the capability of these units. Check them out the next time you see a “DC BUS OVERVOLTAGE” fault, it was a great solution for us.

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Gaining Confidence

September 9, 2010 by Kara

During the first year I worked at Setpoint Systems we overhauled our website and part of the services the company offered was Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a part of the overhaul.  Within a few months of the new website being up the VP of Marketing found a new job and decided to leave the company.  As his assistant it fell upon me to take responsibility for our website.  The only thing I knew was some basic HTML that I had learned at Setpoint to maintain the existing website.

As I started working with the company who was providing our SEO services I realized I had no clue about what they were even talking about.  As I talked to my boss about it, we decided that I needed to learn about what search engine optimization even was because I needed to understand what the company we hired was doing.  As I began to read articles, blog posts, and follow forums on the Internet I began to get a basic understanding of what SEO was all about and how to do it.

Everyday I pushed myself to learn more so that I could figure out things like why we weren’t ranking on Google searches, or why people didn’t stay on our website.  The day came about 9 months after I started learning about SEO that I realized I knew more about SEO than the company I was paying.  My boss already knew it but I didn’t see it yet.  When I learn a new skill it’s hard for me to say that I know more than my teacher.  I was in no way ready to do SEO on my own but I was ready for a new company who knew more and could help me to continue to learn.

Thus began my task of searching out different SEO companies, interviewing them, and selecting the one that I felt would not just help our website but would teach me along the way.  This second company lasted for a year and a half and I learned so much more and started to gain confidence in my abilities because they would let me do as much as I was capable of.  If I came up with the idea they encouraged me to follow through on it.  I started to realize that I did understand what I was doing.

Once again I was tasked with finding another SEO company that could continue to teach me.  The problem now was that I felt that I knew what I was doing so if they couldn’t match up with me then they were scratched off my list.  I was astounded that people were still selling services that were considered outdated when I started learning about SEO over three years ago.  After researching these other companies I realized that I did know as much as they did and I was just as good.

For the past nine months now I have been doing the SEO for our company on my own.  I consistently rank for the keywords that I am most interested in.  I am still working on maintaining and adding new keywords because I don’t want to have a static website.  I have been fine tuning our site and weeding out items from our site to streamline what our offerings are because even though we have done torque and swaging stations I found that people who were searching for them were not looking for the type of industrial machinery Setpoint provides.  Through doing this I have found the bounce rate decreasing which helps me to see that Setpoint’s website is more relevant.

Gaining confidence for me came through doing.  It was easy to read about and start to understand what SEO was all about but it wasn’t until I started doing or applying what I was learning that I started to believe that I really could do this.  I think this is true for many things, once you learn about a topic the point at which you know you can do it is when you start doing it day in and day out.  It wasn’t until after I couldn’t find another company to replace the last company I had hired that I realized that I could do this on my own.  I may purchase a service such as keyword research from one company or another along the way to give me a fresh perspective but as a whole as long as I continue to have time to devote to our website I know that I am good at what I do and will be able to continue to help the Setpoint website to show up when people search for lean automation equipment or industrial automation services.  I also have to remember to never stop learning, the ideas of search engine optimization are continually changing and I need to stay current so that I do not become one of those people who are doing things that are no longer useful.

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Working at the Same Place as Your Husband

September 2, 2010 by Setpoint

When they first talked about having my husband come and work for Setpoint Systems I wasn’t sure how that would work.  Seeing him all day at work and then going home and being with him all night, just seemed weird.  The reason being is when he and I go home a lot of times we will talk about work and things that happened during the day.  Sometimes it would be just to vent or sometimes just to have conversation.

In some ways having him here at work has been nice because we have the same days off. It’s nice having the three day weekend that we can spend together.  I have loved working for Setpoint for that reason and he loves it too.  This summer when we wanted to go camping we could leave early and get a good camping spot, and have an extra long weekend.

I do all the travel for work and he has been going to a customer’s site out of state so I know when he will leave, when he comes home, and where he is staying.  I know that the guys hate to travel so I want to make it as comfortable as I can.  He is MY guy after all.

Working with my husband and working right next to him we actually talk more at work than we do at home.  When he gets home he loves to be out in his shop and so I forget to tell him things.  At work when I see him I remember to tell him things and he does the same.  I was worried about not having our own space, but we have been able to go about our own jobs just fine.

I’m very grateful that both my husband and I have a job.  He has a lot to offer a company and has lot of knowledge in a lot of different areas, so I know that Setpoint will benefit from having him here.  Working with him has been so far a good thing.  (As long as he does what I tell him to do).

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