We spend a lot of time on the podcast talking about the different roles of PLCs and the various types of equipment they are in. We cover how to manage PLCs you may have, what the future for PLCs looks like, What is a PLC, the PLC industry as a whole and how does someone get properly trained on PLCs?
The wildest part to me about speaking with Don is how many PLCs I had been using and wasn't even aware!
Don has a passion for the industry and having been brought up in the early days of Toyotas "lean & green principles" has a true appreciation for learning and development.
There’s so much in this conversation with Don, and I’m really excited to share it with you. We talk about how you can learn about PLCs, the benefits of PLC training and development, and so much more. I’m so thankful to Don for sharing this conversation with me. Enjoy!
More advice from Don on PLCs…
Summary of Podcast …
What is the recommended learning path PLCs and related automation control?
What is the best training delivery methods for PLC?
REF: https://bin95.com/Why_onsite_training.htm for comparison chart.
With the typical PLC training providers, what real world educational areas do you feel are lacking?
In what ways does automation education vary by country, industry, training provider?
What is a PLC?
How do you describe a PLC to the laymen?
A micro-computer designed for one specific use, implanting sequential task. We have a great video demonstrating this. The comparison is a person turning on a light.
REF: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkkjcS5AGEs What is a PLC video
What PLC types are there and how to select?
REF: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoIi9QohskU What is a PAC video
How do you program a PLC, what is needed to know?
With latter Ladder Logic, basically drawing an electrical diagram. With PACs, there are 4 other programming languages, but it advised to use those other languages, only if the application demands it. PLCs are programmed in a sequence of events. In our live PLC training, we teach best practices. Like …
Never use a latching bit unless absolutely necessary.
REF: https://plc-training.org/plc-programming-training-BP6.html PLC Programming Best Practices
How do you do PLC troubleshooting?
Most people when asking to learn “PLC Troubleshooting” they are not referring to troubleshooting the PLC itself, but instead referring to how to troubleshoot complex machinery using the PLC as a troubleshooting tool. The PLC makes it super easy, based on symptom, you divide (chose relevant input or out) and trace back. The way we teach, it takes on an average 12 minutes using a PLC to find problem, requires of machine/system complexity. In contrast, the hunt and peck method with ohm meter can take hours to days to find the problem.
REF: https://bin95.com/cnc-maintenance-plc-troubleshooting.htm Using PLC Troubleshooting CNC example
And https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/troubleshooting-industrial-controls-don-fitchett/ Troubleshooting PLC itself
How does a PLC compare to other automation control methods?
A PLC is much more much more cost effective and reliable than relays, computers, DCS and PACs. A PLC is much more cyber secure than a PAC.
How do you select a PLC brand?
What industry uses PLCs the most?
What new industries will utilize PLCs?
Are there enough trained in PLCs to handle the industry’s current needs? (loaded question J)
Yes, generally speaking. Enough properly trained? NO, not even close.
REF: https://bin95.com/plc-training.htm Source for proper PLC training
What areas of PLC and related automation control management do see most lacking in industry today?
All of them. There is currently virtually no automation management in facilities.
REF: https://bin95.com/maintenance_management_plc.htm Managing your PLCs and Automation (+ free PLC audit spreadsheet)
If you had to pick the top three areas of automation management that need more attention, what would they be?
Will the PLC be dominant in future automation control technology?
Yes. There may come a point where PAC usage is more dominant than PLCs, if cyber warfare doesn’t escalate before then, but then the industry will return to PLCs again.
REF: https://bin95.com/Industry40inUSA.htm Industry 4.0 in USA: Risk (IIoT)
What new applications of PLCs will we see in the future?
Side note: 1/3 of USA fight technological evolution and South Korea, Singapore and Germany are miles ahead of the USA, in industrial robotic usage. So future PLC support for Robotics is referring the rest of the world.
What PLC application would you like to see more of in the future?
Predictive Maintenance (PdM)
REF: https://www.controldesign.com/articles/2015/22-tips-to-ensure-control-panel-maintainability/ PLC Control Panel Design for Maintenance
What is the most critical area in automation control that will need addressed in the near future?
REF: https://plc-training.org/plc-network-to-hmi-scada.html PLC Network to SCADA HMI to HTML5 or Smartphone
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