Ok, I have a question for you: what do American flags, hot dogs, and sparklers have in common? Give up? Well, besides every Fourth of July, they all use automation in some way during the manufacturing process. Automation is everywhere and has taken a pivotal role in today’s industrial age making many companies dependent on PLCs and PLC-trained personnel. So if you are new to PLCs, never heard of them, or know them well, it may be time to get training and I’ll tell you why:
For those who may not know about automation or PLCs, allow me to explain. Automation is defined by Google as: the use of largely automatic equipment in a system of manufacturing or other production process. That is true, but for a more awesome explanation let’s talk frozen pancakes! The image below is for the Science Channel’s How It’s Made television show. This show has many examples of how automation is used to manufacture items we use on a daily basis. This particular episode shows how automation can be used to create 45,000 frozen pancakes per hour!
When compared to someone standing at a stove, automating the pancake making process has clear advantages. The brains behind the operation or what controls the timing, temperature, level, speed, etc. of these processes is a controller like the PLC or Programmable Logic Controller. Getting the training you need to develop, install, and support PLC systems like these can open up a wealth of career opportunities for you. Who wouldn’t want that?!
Minimizing the Learning Curve
Now, for those of you who work with PLCs but are just starting out, PLC training is a great way to get ahead of the curve. I was very fortunate when I started my Controls Engineering career. A local company took me in and showed me everything there was to know about PLCs and PLC programming. But if you don’t have someone available to train you, there are many places that offer PLC training. And with PLCs, a little training can go a long way. Even the slightest hands-on experience can further your understanding and get you ready for the career ahead.
Staying Ahead of the Game
“I work with PLCs every day, I don’t need training.” Like any technology, PLCs are constantly advancing and keeping up with new developments can benefit you as well as your company. These days the minute you buy the newest technology it is on its way to being obsolete. PLCs are no different. Advances in hardware and software are making PLCs more efficient, user friendly and cheaper. For instance, a lot of controllers can now interface with mobile apps for remote monitoring, something that wasn’t available when I was trained. It is always a good idea to stay informed of what may be coming next.
Keeping Your Options Open
“I don’t work with PLCs at all, I don’t need training.” Maybe not. But allow me to give you some things to consider. First, a lot of companies are turning to automation to stay profitable. An understanding of what automation is and how it works could afford you the knowledge of how to automate some of the processes you do work with, saving you time and your company money. Besides that, it is always good to have a plan B for your career and PLC training can give you the mobility to move to another career field in case the need arises.
Furthering Your Education
Three words: continuing education credits. You PEs know what I’m talking about.
PLCs are Your Friend
Engineering is the science of solving problems. Electrical Engineering is solving those problems electrically. Automation was born to solve problems faced by production facilities but it can also be used to solve problems at home. Learning the basics of PLC technology can give you the knowledge to automate tasks performed around the house. Personally, I use a PLC system to water my garden twice a day in the summer. You can check out a post I did on it here. What might you do?
PLC Engineering – Why Not?
The engineering field is very competitive and there is nothing lost by becoming a more well-rounded engineer. And now PLC training courses are more flexible than ever. Whether you prefer to learn in a classroom or in your office on your own time, there is a course for you.
If you are interested in PLC training, we can help. Click on the link below for access to free PLC training.