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Old 07-01-2019, 07:05 PM   #61
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A lot of engineers should not have access to PLCs. Same with a lot of electricians.

The problem with engineers is that they overthink things. And they assume that they know how to program controls when they don’t. And they have difficulty understanding the world outside of a laptop. Case in point: Greg Q. worked on the code for a ductile iron for their melt shop for 2 years and never got anything working right past manual controls. It took me about 2 weeks using a program that was 80% smaller and about 95% faster at basically everything it did to the point where it waited on people instead of the other way around. Later he “upgraded” a cement casting machine so that it cut production to 25% of normal. Took me about 4 hours to figure out what he did and fix it. He didn’t get the idea that if we are using cement as fast as we mix it, we need to mix up a batch while we are using one. And weighing up sand and cement and heating up water for the next batch.

The problem with electricians on PLCs is different. They lose their minds as electricians. Once they have a laptop they forget all their other skills and the first thing they do with troubleshooting is start playing around in the PLC. They start adding timers and crazy input denouncing code instead of inspecting a limit switch and replacing it because it is almost destroyed, or attempting to code around a missing one with a timer instead of replacing one that is there for safety purposes. Or they just force everything until it works, especially safeties. They don’t bother talking to the operator or looking at the equipment or doing basic electrical checks first so they waste all their efforts fixing what isn’t broke (the PLC).

Without access they don’t have a laptop so instead they troubleshoot using the shotgun approach (shoot and see if it hits something) then call an engineer because even though nobody touched the PLC in 5 years something must have mysteriously changed in the program all on its own.

I don’t subscribe to $2000 PLC classes in general because most of them suck. They don’t teach fundamentals about troubleshooting, control loops, 2 wire vs 3 wire, etc. it’s like those computer classes where they tell you how to start Excel and save and load spreadsheets, and navigate around but don’t get into making one or troubleshooting one. Very few PLC classes do that. It’s not something that you can pack into a 1 or 2 week class. You’re way better off learning on your own.

I don’t exactly live in a metropolitan area either. In fact it’s very rural here. But we have the exact same stuff. You can buy a small brick style PLC (Toyo Click PLC) from Automation Direct for under $50. It’s not a toy, it’s the real deal and I use them a lot. Drives from those guys are also very inexpensive, get a couple sensors or scavenge some stuff and you’ve got a learning system. Play around. Make something with it. They have lots of examples in their documentation.



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Completely and totally agree!
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:38 PM   #62
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Saw JC and had to chime in. That's not the place to "make a lot of money". Although, some of the upper management does make bank, trying to get a pay raise out of them bastads is another realm.
I think things have really changed there. The guys in this area are making $10 $11 over scale, with at least 8 hours of overtime a week - doing really well, top top pay around here.
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:25 PM   #63
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I think things have really changed there. The guys in this area are making $10 $11 over scale, with at least 8 hours of overtime a week - doing really well, top top pay around here.
Yeah, they were going through growing pangs around then, (late 80's) they just recently acquired the networking division in an attempt to expand their presence in the field of "controlling your world". I heard a rumor that not long after my departure they sold the division. I did notice that the "higher ups" in management all drove Mercedes.
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Old 07-03-2019, 04:47 PM   #64
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I think things have really changed there. The guys in this area are making $10 $11 over scale, with at least 8 hours of overtime a week - doing really well, top top pay around here.
Even if they do pay well, I have seen the work they do and it is definitely not pretty and sometimes doesn't even work!
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