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  1. #21
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    I find that education is useless if you don't actually get to use it. I took some computer programming classes 30 years ago then set about rewriting the accounting software for our business. I was going to take an advanced class but when I showed the instructor what I had done he said not to bother. I read a lot, I read manuals before working with any piece of equipment, but truly none of it means much until you get your hand dirty. Then it clicks and sinks in permanently. With all the neat home brew CNC and 3D printing stuff going on you could learn a lot building or converting a mill to CNC then building a 3D printer using it. I'm trying to follow that path with my grandson who is currently only 11. We built the CNC machine, now we can do lots of other stuff and the learning is enormous.

  2. #22
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    A few basic electrical classes could not hurt. I was a electrical apprentice doing mostly residential new construction until I ever got into working on automation and CNC machine tools. I have been a CNC repair guy for about 10 years now. As for robotics there are a few places that give robotics training classes. I took a ABB programming one week class in Colorado a couple of years back. Walk in the park. I see your in Louisville? Up the road from you in Florence you can take one week long classes at Mazak and you will learn quite a bit. At the same time you got to get your hands dirty.

  3. #23
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    Watching this thread with interest, thanks to all for various comments. After too-many years in industry I now teach at the college level. I'm overhauling a class I inherited from another professor who taught it mostly as a PLC class. "De-constructing" is what I told the Department Head. I'm taking it to different level of fundamental automation skills, plant automation, and instrumentation. The students complained they weren't getting "enough content." Coming from industry, I think I have a good idea of what skill sets they need to have in the workplace to be successful.

    "PLC's are the basics of automation"...I would expand on that: "relay logic is the basics of automation". A lot of machine & process control is done without PLCs. While looking for training materials for the students I found what I think is a hidden gem of a workbook. Fundamentals of Industrial Controls & Automation Textbook It only cost $25 and gives a lot of the simple fundamental & practical electrical information one rarely seems to get in an educational setting. The previous professor kind of pooh-pooh'ed it because it wasn't an "engineering" book. However it is just chock-full of basic information that is desperately needed. I'm going to try this with my students.

    AutomationDirect etc. sells very nice equipment suitable for a lot of learning. Used it for years and like it. But I wanted a learning device suitable for teaching students fundamental relay logic, and then migrate to PLC programming (using RLL, FunctionBlock, etc), HMI programming, and networking. I also wanted a platform for having student learn how to do discrete digital PNP & NPN signal wiring, plus analog signal wiring. So I designed a workstation with an IDEC SmartAxis Touch PLC with integrated color touchscreen and a bunch of different relays, pushbuttons, and switches. It helped a lot that IDEC gave me crazy good discounts on everything, but their equipment is still reasonable cost. Unitronics also makes a nice unit that is similar (PLC+HMI).

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tygerdawg View Post
    Watching this thread with interest, thanks to all for various comments. After too-many years in industry I now teach at the college level. I'm overhauling a class I inherited from another professor who taught it mostly as a PLC class. "De-constructing" is what I told the Department Head. I'm taking it to different level of fundamental automation skills, plant automation, and instrumentation. The students complained they weren't getting "enough content." Coming from industry, I think I have a good idea of what skill sets they need to have in the workplace to be successful.

    "PLC's are the basics of automation"...I would expand on that: "relay logic is the basics of automation". A lot of machine & process control is done without PLCs. While looking for training materials for the students I found what I think is a hidden gem of a workbook. Fundamentals of Industrial Controls & Automation Textbook It only cost $25 and gives a lot of the simple fundamental & practical electrical information one rarely seems to get in an educational setting. The previous professor kind of pooh-pooh'ed it because it wasn't an "engineering" book. However it is just chock-full of basic information that is desperately needed. I'm going to try this with my students.

    AutomationDirect etc. sells very nice equipment suitable for a lot of learning. Used it for years and like it. But I wanted a learning device suitable for teaching students fundamental relay logic, and then migrate to PLC programming (using RLL, FunctionBlock, etc), HMI programming, and networking. I also wanted a platform for having student learn how to do discrete digital PNP & NPN signal wiring, plus analog signal wiring. So I designed a workstation with an IDEC SmartAxis Touch PLC with integrated color touchscreen and a bunch of different relays, pushbuttons, and switches. It helped a lot that IDEC gave me crazy good discounts on everything, but their equipment is still reasonable cost. Unitronics also makes a nice unit that is similar (PLC+HMI).
    I can't believe I actually have to be the guy that says this, but...put your location in your profile, it's the rules!

    Also, welcome! Hopefully no one scares you off too fast


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