When we compare industrial PCs with PLCs, we have to consider a combination of features that will stand the test of time. The first and most important part of PLC is CPU that processes and stores program data.
At the same time, you will need output and input modules that you can connect with the machine, so that CPU can gain information that will trigger some specific result based on the environment and the type of industry you are in.
That is the main reason why you should consider PLC training online, because it is the most efficient way to study it before you become an expert with huge prospect. You will learn through it the history of PLCs, because input and output modules can be either digital or analog.
Input devices include switches, sensors, meters, while outputs include lights, relays, drives and valves. You will be able to match input and output so that you can create a perfect configuration that will apply to your application.
Apart from output and input devices, PLC has the ability to connect with various systems and to communicate with them without any additional hassle. For instance, if you want to export application data to SCADA system, which is supervisory control and data acquisition, you will be able to get wide array of communication protocols and ports that will ensure that you can create a communication with ease.
If you want to interact with PLC in the moment of speaking, or real time, as experts call it, you will need Human Machine Interface, or HMI.
This particular interface can include display as well as keypad, and text-readout, or it could be advances and resemble to consumer electronics with touch screen panels.
In both cases, it will allow you to input and review relevant information in real time so that you can make appropriate changes based on results.
Since we live in the world of iIoT, or Industrial Internet of Things, you should have in mind that programmable logic controllers have the ability to communicate through web browsers and to connect to cloud data by using MQTT and enter various databases through SQL.
If you want to learn what MQTT is, you can do it by clicking here.
When you decide to use it, it will come with HMI panel, so that you can get simple to use and compact automation solution. Finally, you can rest assured because you do not need to establish panel communication to PLC and you will be able to use both HMI design and Ladder Logic in one software environment.
This particular approach is less time consuming, will cut costs for purchasing various devices and will reduce the installation, which is important if you are in industry that cannot wait. In most cases, programmers will write the program on computer and download it on PLC software.
Most of them use either C++ or Ladder Logic programmable language, but the ladder logic is the more popular and easier solution for everyone. It uses circuit diagrams that include rungs so that you can read it from left to right.
Every single rung will represent an action that you have to conduct, and the idea is to start with series of inputs that will result in output. Due to its visual nature, Ladder Logic is simple to learn and implement, which is why it is language of choice for many programmers.
How Should You Learn PLC Programming?
The best way to learn PLC programming is to enter some class, course or to get it through your company. Today, the market features a few standards that changed the way programming software packages look and feel, but the basic things remained the same.
- Basics – The first thing that you should do is to learn basic idea of programming and how the languages function in the first place. It is essential to have a background in programming so that you can learn much easier than before. The idea is also to get familiar with Ladder Logic and its logic that you have to implement in the future programs that you wish to make. Therefore, the first step of learning is reading various sources, tutorials and getting to know the ways to implement some idea inside of it. Check this site: https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/textbook/digital/chpt-6/programmable-logic-controllers-plc/ and you will learn basic information on Ladder Logic.
- Practice – After you learn everything from basics, the idea is to practice because that way you will be able to see whether you understand it in practice. By creating and testing programs, you will understand what you have learned so far. You will be able to accomplish this particular step by using various simulators, and you do not have to worry because most programming software features simulators. They will mimic the PLC hardware so that you can test the program before you implement it further in the real field. Even though serious programmers are not fans of simulators, that is the best way to find out what you’ve learned so far so that you can improve further and create way better solution and understanding than before.
- Advance Instructions – The next step you should take is to take your programming knowledge to another level. The idea is to understand the numbering systems, which will prove beneficial for your future career. Therefore, you will have to learn PID, match, and register manipulation and conversion instructions. You will be able to gain this particular knowledge only if you know the basics and you have used them in practice.
- Sharing The Information – The last step that you should take when it comes to learning PLC programming is the possibility to share your information through various programs such as SCADA and HMI. It means that you understand how to make a program and how to implement it in other ways that will prove useful for the specific industry you are working. That way, you will find ways to gather information from the PLC and to display it by using output modules and different ways that will help you gain additional knowledge on programmable logic controllers.