So you have heard of plc programming. Did you know that plc programming is used for industrial automation projects, if you like you could also automate things at home. However plcs or programmable logic controllers are mostly for industrial grade solutions, but definitely can be used at home connecting the plc to your home’s db board and controlling switching with the plc.
How to get started with plc programming
In order to start with plc programming you need a few things. One you need to have some electrical understanding of circuits. If you have prior knowledge of how relays work you should be able to catch on to this quite quickly. Most plcs use a relay switching system. How this works is plcs switch on current flow with internal relays which then powers your machinery, lights in your house or what ever it is you would like to power.
The next thing you will need to learn is ladder logic. Ladder logic essentially has what is called rungs which has steps. The plc will run through these rungs and run the instructions embedded in them. All rungs essentially have a trigger and a output. So if you would like to do a certain thing. You can have a condition that needs to be triggered and output. In terms of plcs we usually call the output the energized state as what this essentially will do is turn on a relay in the plc.
What sorts of plcs do you get?
There are a number of brands on the market which you can purchase. All have a bit of a different way in which they work. However all are really based on logic at the end of the day. So with this in mind it is important that you can apply basic logic in order to work on any plc programming project. Some brand names include allan bradley and delta.
I have heard the term HMI what has it got to do with plc programming?
HMI or human machine interface is a way for humans to interface with a program on a plc. This most of the time is a small touch screen monitor which has a user interface which allows you to interact with the program loaded on the plc to do certain control operations on the hardware connected to the plc. HMI makes installations quite inexpensive as no mechanical switches are needed. Also the complexity of the interface can be way more in depth than a mechanical switch. Making HMIs very useful.
I’d rather outsource the plc programming work who can help me?
There are a number of industry leaders. However there is a great company based in south africa which can program plcs for you remotely. You will just need to install the plc at the location you will be using it.If you don’t want to do the programming yourself. Here is a link to their website: plc programming
Where can I learn plc programming?
Some good places to learn plc programming is course sites like udemy. There are tons of courses on the topic. Which allows you to learn on your own schedule and own time. However you really should get yourself a plc to play around with. The only real way to learn is through experimentation.