Poor programmable logic controller documentation and housekeeping can lead to unnecessary troubleshooting and downtime. Keep it simple in order to avoid the possible risks and confusion.
There are different rules and programming methods that are needed based on the hardware and software being used. Programming in a Siemens programmable logic controller (PLC) is not identical to programming in an Allen-Bradley PLC. There are general good practices that should be followed in any programming. The obvious is to have the program function and control as desired. Maintaining good documentation and housekeeping are good general practices in programming. Code should be easily read and understood by programming colleagues and customers. Poor documentation and housekeeping can add unnecessary time to troubleshooting, downtime, and programming. Programming structure and how complicated it may or may not be is another variable that will affect how easily the code is deciphered. I suggest following the KISS principle: “Keep it simple, stupid”. Avoid unnecessary complexity and keep it simple and straightforward.
Since it’s the way that users interact with a control system, don’t underestimate the importance of an effective HMI. It makes a huge difference to users now and down the road.
There are multiple HMI (human machine interface) platforms to choose from, with different styles and preferences driven by many kinds of variables. Driving variables can include integrator preference, customer preference, industry preference, technical support/availability, integrator support/availability, off the shelf software versus custom software, budget, and what best fits. Regardless the platform and driving factors, an HMI makes a control system complete.
Everyone Starts Out Green, But Getting A Handle On A Few Important Resources Will Move You To The Experienced Side Much Faster
Have you ever been on a project where everything went as planned? If you’re like me, the answer is no. I would like to say yes, but who would I be kidding? Issues can vary from bad wiring, incorrect instrumentation calibration, wrong equipment specified or delivered, equipment installed in the wrong place, poor documentation, communication issues, seized motors, and so on. That’s a list that doesn’t end. Devoting enough up-front time on a project will minimize surprises during commissioning, but as much as one plans and prepares for a project, there are always issues, and those issues will need to be resolved by you. Having the right tools in your arsenal will make all the difference in finding the best solution quickly. Tools are not limited to screwdrivers, serial cables, or multimeters. Tools include experience, resources, and having the right positive attitude.