Does anyone here work in industrial automation/networks?

Associate
Joined
14 Jun 2020
Posts
40
Hello all,

I currently work as a multi skilled maintenance technician but would really like to expand my skillset, mainly with the view to moving jobs or roles in future. I think the only direction to go in is learning more about the PLC/network/inverters side of things. Other than that my only other route from where I currently am would be management and I have no interest in that. I'm already a supervisor and that is plenty! I deal with fault finding and rectification on this equipment as part of my job but my understanding is fairly limited as we have dedicated automation engineers who occasionally deign us with their presence when we are unable to resolve any issues. There aren't any people other than these guys with any knowledge that I could learn from and scarily, I'm one of the more experienced guys at my work even though I got into this job from a completely unrelated but still maintenance based role.

I wondered if anyone here works in a similar role or has experience and could offer some advice on where to start. I have looked into Level 1 Siemens service courses as the majority of our kit is Siemens and also dedicated Profibus courses and that type of thing however I don't really know if they would be worth it at this stage, or if they are, what order to do them in. I would be funding any training myself so I want to make sure I get it right as these courses can be quite pricey. Now just to be clear, I'm not expecting to be able to do 1 course and suddenly be able to program PLC's overnight or be a network wiz, I want to start with being able to fault find more complex faults than I'm currently limited to.

Thanks
 
Associate
OP
Joined
14 Jun 2020
Posts
40
So why not ask them?
I've tried and keep trying. The automation guys we have can be quite difficult and are often unwilling to share any info a lot of the time to be honest. You go into their office and they act like they're far too busy to spare you 5 minutes to chat. I'm not sure why, it's like they either think you're too stupid to understand what they would be saying or they are worried you'll break something or put them out of a job or something, I don't know. I do keep trying but you really need the stars to align sometimes to get them to engage.
 
Last edited:
Soldato
Joined
24 Sep 2007
Posts
4,516
Some thoughts from me:
- Generally speaking, it's a good area to get into as it's quite specialised and therefore good opportunities available.
- PLCs and Profibus are both industry standards/bread and butter, so any learning you do in these areas will help. Probably start with PLCs.
- Try and make friends with some automation specialists on LinkedIn. There are quite a few out there, and some may be happy to help you learn.
- You can start your own automation project by buying some electronics components, they aren't that expensive, and this would help you learn and get a job.
 
Associate
Joined
19 May 2005
Posts
634
Location
Carlisle
Do you have access to any PLC programming software at work?
You can pick up old PLCs relatively cheaply on the bay but software is generally expensive / difficult to license for older products.
Most manufacturers Rockwell / Schneider/ Siemens will let you run trail software for a week / month.
You can usually emulate the PLC in software as well for basic testing
 
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