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PLC Automation Podcast

PLC Automation Training for Managers


PLC Automation Podcast
PLC Automation Training advice for Managers.


PLC Automation Podcast:


We will start this Automation Podcast off with the PLC Podcast. This first one is titled "PLC Automation Training for Managers". Below the PLC podcast is a written summary with questions/answers, some we did not have time to address in the podcast. So consider it an educational podcast bonus. At the bottom of this page are links to more automation podcasts. Based on the popularity, we will continue adding PLC podcast, and sprinkle in some related automation podcast, so please share this page with your friends and associates.


plc automation training for managers (1 hr, 5 min) << tap to download

nick lawniczak (director of engineering) interviews don fitchett (president of bin) 


nicholas lawniczakdon fitchett


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plc podcast summary:


what is the recommended learning path for plcs and related automation control?

  1. industrial electrical
  2. electrical troubleshooting
  3. plc
  4. plc troubleshooting
  5. hmi
  6. pac
  7. structured text programming
  8. field/industry specific
    1. oil process industry
      1. scada
      2. fieldbus
      3. pid
    2. manufacturing industry
      1. robotics
      2. devicenet or other communication protocol
  9. ancillary topics
    1. computer classes
    2. cyber awareness
    3. networking
    4. management


what is the best training delivery methods for plc?

  1. blended learning
  1. onsite
  2. seminars
  3. computer-based training
  4. online courses (video courses)
  5. books


ref: A 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 microcomputer designed for one specific use, implementing the sequential task. We have a great video demonstrating this. A comparison is a person turning on a light.


REF: what is a plc (video)


what plc types are there and how to select?


ref: what is a pac (video)


how do you program a plc, what is needed to know?

with ladder logic, basically drawing an electrical diagram. with pas, 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: plc programming best practices


how to do plc troubleshooting?

most people requesting to learn “plc troubleshooting”, 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 the symptom, you divide (chose relevant input or out) and traceback. the way we teach, it takes on an average of 12 minutes using a plc to find the problem, regardless of machine/system complexity. in contrast, the hunt and peck method with ohm meter can take hours to days to find the problem.


ref: PLC Troubleshooting CNC example

AND troubleshooting plc itself


how does a plc compare to other automation control methods?

a plc is 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?

  1. best to standardize, use one brand for all of your equipment.
  2. most popular brands for your country.
  3. most popular brands for your industry.
  4. initial cost and expandability.


what industry uses plcs the most?

  1. manufacturing
  2. process industry (like oil, gas, chemical, etc.)
  3. building industry (elevators, cooling towers, pumps, water fountains, etc.)
  4. municipalities (waste and water, power, traffic lights, etc.)
  5. transportation (ships, trains, air, etc.)
  6. msc. (tractor, car compactor, st. louis arch, car wash, amusement rides, etc.)


what new industries will utilize plcs?


are there enough trained in plcs to handle the industry’s current needs? (loaded question)

yes, generally speaking. enough properly trained? no, not even close.


ref: Source for proper PLC training and Managing of PLCs


What areas of managing the PLCs and related automation control, do you see most lacking in the industry today?

All of them. There is currently virtually no automation management in facilities.


REF: 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?

  1. Safety-education
  2. Maintenance
  3. Programming standards


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: Industry 4.0 in USA: Risk (IIoT)


What new applications of PLCs will we see in the future?


Side note: South Korea, Singapore, and Germany are miles ahead of the USA, in industrial robotic usage. So future PLC support for Robots is referring to those regions.


What PLC application would you like to see more of in the future?

Predictive Maintenance (PdM)


REF: PLC Control Panel Design for Maintenance


What is the most critical area in automation control that will need to be addressed in the near future?



REF: PLC Network to SCADA HMI to HTML5 or Smartphone


More Automation Podcast:


Talking Industrial Automation Podcast

Automaton World Podcast

The Engineering Commons Podcast

Rockwell Learning Podcast


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