If you don’t know what a PAC (Programmable Automation Controller) is and/or think it is a PLC, you have a lot of learning to do on this topic. Because PAC is like a computer that includes a PLC, learning the PAC is a more advanced topic. In contrast to the PLC whose design objective was to keep it simple for the electrician to work with, the PAC is designed with IT and computer programmers in mind. So best practices dictate learning the PLC basics foundation first, before trying to tackle the PAC. Like with all the different communication protocols being a lot to learn and some areas quite complex, so is the PAC.
The first step is to learn the major differences between a PLC and PAC, so you will have a better understanding of what areas of the PAC require the most attention. With each I/O having its own processor, Ethernet, multiple processor running programs in each rack, and each processor having dual multi-tasking processors, the firmware provisioning, the learning curve for hardware and commissioning is huge compared to the simple auto-config PLC. With Task - program, priority – flow (scan cycle methods), different computer like memory and addressing structure, all 5 programming languages and even built in motion controller, everything about the PAC is a huge learning curve compared to the PLC. For the most part, the only thing that is simple and mostly the same as the PLC is the ladder logic. You will want to start with the particular PAC brand you will be using, or the most common on the market. Below we recommend RSLogix 5000 training software (Allen Bradley brand PAC).
Difference between a PLC and PAC
Task - program, priority - flow
Tags and data types
5 programming languages
We have color coded this entire site based on Occupational titles to help you decide what PLC training is most needed based on your relative occupation.
Recommended PLC training path by occupation...
- Industrial Electrician
- Industrial Engineer
- Commercial Electrician
- Instrumentation Tech
- Industrial IT
- Maintenance Manager
- Mechatronics Tech
- Software Programmer