Essential Tools Every PLC Programmer Needs

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Essential Tools Every PLC Programmer Needs
In this article I am going to go over what I think are the essential tools every PLC Programmer needs in their backpack. Of course, this is highly subjective and I’m sure there are going to be items you think should be included which aren’t, or items I’ve listed that you’ll say, why does he include that!

That said, I certainly welcome all your comments and feedback and will update the article as needed. What I wanted to do is cover off the items I typically carry with me when on-site servicing a customer’s piece of automation equipment.

These will be items I either directly carry with me into the plant, or have on hand if needed in my vehicle. If your interested in learning more about what the essential tools every PLC programmer needs, be sure to keep reading.

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How To Become A PLC Programmer

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How to become a PLC programmerI’m often asked by students how to become a PLC Programmer. In this article I will go over some of the key pieces and steps I took along the way to break into this exciting field. Of course there is no one-size-fits-all solution here, and I’m sure there is an infinite number of paths one can take. That said, I can only reflect on my own experiences and the things that led me to the point I am at today.

If you’ve been wanting to break into this exciting field and have often wondered how to become a PLC Programmer in today’s fast paced manufacturing environments, then I encourage you to keep reading…

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PLC Versus Microcontroller – What’s In Your Plant?

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PLC versus MicrocontrollerThe PLC versus Microcontroller debate has certainly gained more traction in recent years. With the plethora of commercial off the shelf (COTS) single-board computers (SBC’s) growing in popularity, functionality and raw power, which one could you, or should you choose for your next automation project?

In this article we will investigate if a low-cost COTS single-board computer should be considered in your next automation project. We will take a look at the benefits and drawbacks and consider when a traditional PLC still may be the right choice. Of course, every project is different so there is certainly no one size fits all solution. What we aim to do in this article, is look at the pros and cons of why you may consider one option over another.

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How Much Does A PLC Programmer Make

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How much does a PLC programmer make

We are hoping to save our readers here at PLCGurus.NET a little time by compiling a list of our 5 top viewership countries, namely, the USA, Canada, UK, Germany and Australia, regarding the respective salaries one can expect to make entering the world of automation, controls and PLC programming.  In this article we are aiming to answer the question, how much does a PLC programmer make?

As it turns out, this was not as easy a task as initially anticipated as the “positions” or “titles” of a person who performs PLC programming duties varies from country to country. Therefore, in order to find some commonality across borders I landed on the title “Automation Engineer” that represents a person performing PLC Programming and HMI design duties.

So if you’re curious how much a PLC Programmer makes in 2018, or if you’re already working in the field as a PLC Programmer and are wondering where you rank compared to others in your country, be sure to keep reading…

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Studio 5000 Add-On Instructions (AOI’s)

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Studio 5000 Add-On Instructions-FeaturedIn this article we are going to look at one of the more “advanced” capabilities of the Studio 5000/Logix platform of programmable automation controllers (PAC’s). Specifically, how we can create and configure Studio 5000 Add-On Instructions.

I used the term “advanced” in quotes, because to create simple Studio 5000 Add-on Instructions is not a difficult task, more, it’s an understanding of what they are, when to use them, and how to use them that is the more difficult piece.

If you’ve ever wondered what this extremely important and powerful feature is, then I encourage you to keep reading. I assure you, once you complete this article you will be looking to leverage Studio 5000 Add-On Instructions in your next automation project.

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A Guide To Success For Young Controls Engineers

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In this article, PLCGurus.NET member John C. Jones shares his insight and learned best practices for those readers just getting started into the field of Industrial Automation and Control System Design. Whether you’re fresh out of school or looking for an entry point into this exciting career, John’s experience shines through as he authors this Guide To Success For Young Controls Engineers. Enjoy!

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How To Implement A ControlLogix PID Controller

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ControlLogix PID ControllerIn this article we will review how to implement a ControlLogix PID Controller using the Studio 5000 IDE. Full disclosure, we are going to be taking a practical application approach, therefore, you won’t be needing a PhD in Control Theory in order to follow along!

Before we can dive right into the implementation and configurations necessary to implement a ControlLogix PID controller, I think it will be prudent to review some key concepts regarding closed loop feedback, specifically what PID feedback control is, and what constraints or inherent issues that you are likely to encounter when implementing any real-world PID process.

So What Is PID?

PID control is by far the most common feedback control algorithm used in industry today. Different types of processes, having different dynamic (time-dependent) behaviors require different levels of proportional, integral and derivative controller action to achieve stability and robust response.

To explain PID in its entirety we are going to have to dive a little bit deeper into some of the mathematics involved. Just like any control algorithm with any complexity, the mathematical foundations will prove paramount to our overall understanding. So let’s get started!

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Learn PLC Programming Online Now

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Learn PLC Programming
Have you been wanting to learn PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) programming but are not sure where or how to get started? Well rest assured you’ve come to the right place! Here at PLCGurus.NET this is precisely what we’re all about! Whether you’re an experienced programmer or completely new to the fascinating world of PLC programming, we’ve got something for everybody.

To get you started, it is recommended that you read this introductory article on what exactly a PLC is and how it fits into modern industrial control systems today. Then move into some of our more advanced topics right here on PLCGurus.NET and on our Learn PLC’s channel!

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FREE Studio 5000 Training Now!

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Studio 5000

We’ve been busy here at PLCGurus.NET! We are building a FREE Studio 5000 Video Training Series so our community members and user base can benefit from learning at their own pace on a widely used programmable automation controller (PAC) platform. To do that, we will require a few elements to be successful:

  1. A copy of the Studio 5000 Software (v21 and above) w/ RSLinx installed.
  2. A copy of the Studio 5000 Logix Emulate Software (or actual Logix Hardware).
  3. A willingness to learn fun new things!

No prior knowledge of the Studio 5000 environment is necessary, this series assumes you are new to the ControlLogix platform of controllers, Studio 5000, and the associated Studio 5000 Emulator software. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, continue reading…

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Safety Distance Calculation Made Easy

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When attempting to safeguard a piece of automation equipment using electrical safeguarding devices such as light curtains, area scanners and safety mats, careful consideration must be taken to ensure they are not just placed in an arbitrary location that is convenient to install or mount. Many factors must be considered when performing a safety distance calculation.

As machinery and processes continue to become faster and more complex the need to be aware of, and continue to strive for improved safety measures has never been more at the forefront of electrical control system design then it is today. Due to this ever growing trend, the industry in turn has evolved to keep pace by marketing products and protective devices that aim to put the safety and well-being of the people or persons operating machinery at the forefront of the design process.

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