Do You Need to Teach Yourself PLC Programming?
Programmable logic controllers are used in many areas especially within factories where a lot of the work is automated. The PLC will fully control what the machine does, but of course it first needs to be programmed to understand what it should do. For many engineers this will mean going off on an expensive and time consuming course to understand how the particular PLC you want to use works. A 3 day course can cost several hundred dollars.
Of course it is possible to teach yourself the basics of PLC programming. But here’s the deal: you have to put in the work. Like learning anything if you don’t make the effort then you are not going to gain the skills that you need. So if you want to learn PLC language programming or storyboard programming then there are several ways that you can go about it:
How to Learn the Basics of PLC Programming
The following are some routes that you could take if you want to learn PLC programming in your own time:
- Read a book; not always the best method but it is a way that you can approach this. There are several books out there that will teach you the skills that you need from scratch. It is often best to get the book and use what you learn from it in conjunction with the methods listed below.
- Take an online training course through a recognized company. There are many companies that provide you with video based training for specific PLCs as well as general courses for programming. Most of these give you access to a tutor and you can learn very much at your own rate. Many of these courses however can be as expensive as the onsite training courses that many other companies offer. However you can choose when and where you do your training.
- Use online training videos through sites like Udemy and even YouTube. There are many general training sites available online, one of the best known is Udemy. The courses offered vary greatly in effectiveness and are not always written by the most skilled people in their field. Some will offer to fully train you in just a day while others will offer dozens of videos for you to run through over a period of time. So it is always important to read the reviews of any course that you consider using. Costs are usually much lower than the more professional companies that they are competing with.
- Use a simulator; no matter what route you take with acquiring your knowledge you will learn best by actually trying it. There are many online PLC simulators that you can access and many of the PLC suppliers have one that you can use.
Check out the list of the best programming schools!
Want to know the best part? You can often get a lot of free help and training on the internet that will help you to understand how to program a PLC. However before you jump straight in and start playing with live machines in your factory you need to consider a few things. As one user on PLCTalk says:
“PLC’s seem to be treated by some as though they are toys to play with and experiment. People with no electrical or engineering experience whatsoever are going into programming as if they were programming a personal computer. Not only this – some are not even prepared to read the manual or if they do it’s all double Dutch to them and so they come here wanting to get straight into a live working machine and alter things. They do not want to waste time with a manual and a plc sat on their desk practicing with it!”
Remember that many of these machines and the way that they operate can be hazardous to others. So if you don’t know for sure what you are doing; don’t do it and ask a do my programming homework service for help.