Note to PLC programming schools:
We highly encourage schools offering PLC programming training, use this site's recommended best practice PLC training and approved resources. Most community colleges, PLC vendors, and private PLC training companies completely skip the critical PLC Training Foundation criteria. Of course there may be valid reasons such as lack of adequate time allotted for this field of study, relying on a single source for instructor, accustomed to delivering theory and scholastic education only, less experienced in training and practical skills delivery, etc. Therefore, we hope this site will help you diversify PLC knowledge and skills delivered and bridge the gap between education delivered; and what employers actually need to minimize their downtime and risk to man and machine.
There are many helpful tips spread throughout this site on common knowledge and not so common knowledge in delivering the best PLC programming training. An example of a common oversight by most PLC training providers is distinguishing between a PLC and a PAC to students/customers. Some of the most important advice to schools and others delivering PLC programming training are ...
- Add "working with PLCs safely and reliably" to curriculum. (the core PLC foundation)
- Teach the difference between a PLC and a PAC
- Have student/employee master PLCs before moving on to PAC and other advanced topics.
- Before students/employees move on to advanced topics, insure their computer, problem solving and attention to details skills first.
- Utilize recommended troubleshooting training software to improve their skill.
- Give them experience on at least two brands of PLCs, if teaching SCADA, same recommendation.
- Teach best practice PLC programming.
Schools running a PLC programming / automation design master program should insure student gets the following course ...
- Linear Models
- Control-oriented Models for System Design
- Block Diagram Models
- Gain/phase Margins
- PID Design
- PID Tuning
- Time Domain Performance Specifications
- Lead, Lag, Lead-lag Compensation
- Integrator Windup
- Frequency Domain Analysis
- Specification and Requirements Analysis of Control Systems
- A/D Conversion and Quantization
- Shannon-Nyquist Sampling Theorem
- Characteristics of Sensors and Actuators
- PLC, SCADA or other Industrial System Programming
- Discrete-time Systems
- Networks and Distributed Control
- MATLAB TM, Simulink TM and LabVIEW TM
… and more less needed subjects in general, but may be specific to your industry.
The above recommended college topics are based on survey of employers and professionals recently entering the field from school. Reference http://industrialtraining.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/what-is-a-plc-programmer/
If you are an individual, we recommend you tell your PLC 'Training’ provider you do not want just scholastic education, you want actual training that includes best practices. Please comment below if you have something productive to add to this site.