Common PLC Issues

Common PLC Issues (and how they can be avoided)

PLCs have been crucial for the advancement of industrial automation. Their ability to increase functionality at decreased cost makes them widely used across automated systems. Not only do they have the ability. PLCs are able to give both simple and complex instructions to a variety of systems.

Like any other machine, PLCs are also prone to breaking and having their own issues. An entire PLC cabinet full of devices, blinking lights, and wires can seem intimidating. However, sometimes the issue might be one that can be resolved simply and easily. So before you call a technician to come service your system, here are a few simple troubleshooting you can do that could save your company some time (and money).

Input/Output(I/O) Failure

This is probably the most common failure that affects PLCs. This is usually due to the relationship between the internal and external situations not establishing a connection. This generally gets fixed by finding out what relationship is not being established and isolating the issue.

Signal Interference

This occurs when there is either electromagnetic interference (EMI) or radio frequency interference (RFI). EMI occurs when a PLC is very close to a large motor or any device that creates an electromagnetic field. Lightning striking a device can also cause an EMI issue. ERFI happens when a PLC is next to a transmitting device for a prolonged period of time. Both of these interference will over time degrade the functionality of a PLC. The best thing to do is to position your PLC somewhere far apart from anywhere that can cause either EMI or RFI. If that is not possible, there are also options for protective housings for your PLC.

Memory Corruption

Corrupt memory issues often occur from interference. They also commonly happen when power to the PLC suddenly gets cut off and not properly rebooted. A popular precautionary measure often taken is simpling backing up data to a storage device. A good preventative measure is to not only keep PLCs away from areas of interference but also places with high temperature and humidity.

Power Loss

In industrial automation, machines rely on consistent power to operate. In the event of a sudden power outage (power grid failure, rolling blackouts, etc) it’s generally a good idea to have an alternate or backup power source to rectify the situation should power failure occur.


A paramount function for PLCs is their ability to communicate with not only one another but also with other equipment like HMIs and drives. Usually, these devices all communicate via Ethernet cable because of their speed and reliability. Ensuring that wires rest properly connected and away from any obstruction or positioned anywhere that might cause them to crimp or get cut, can help prevent a communication error.


In a perfect world, machines run flawlessly 24/7 with no maintenance required. However, in reality, the inevitability of even the most well-kept facility system failing at some point is unavoidable. That being said, following the steps above can help mitigate the wear and tear of your PLC system and get the most life out of them.

A Crash Course on Spindle Motor Fundamentals

The CNC (Computer Numerical Control) spindle motor has been a crucial tool in the world of industrial automation. Its creation has revolutionized the way industrialization functions and has led to increased quality control and productivity overall. The impact of this revolutionary tool in industrial automation is a game changer. With a spindle motor, production can be faster, more efficient, and lower in cost.

The History of CNC

The development of the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) spindle motor is closely linked to the history of CNC technology itself. The first CNC machines were developed in the 1940s and 1950s for the aerospace industry. In the early days of CNC, spindle motors were typically DC motors with brushes. These had limited speed control and were prone to wear and tear. However, as technology advanced, new spindle motors became developed. This included AC motors and brushless DC motors, which offered higher efficiency, greater reliability, and improved speed control. Today, spindle motors are an essential component of CNC machines, driving the tool and controlling the cutting process to achieve high levels of precision and efficiency.

During the 1970s, the development of the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) spindle motor was still in its early stages. According to an article by CNC Masters, spindle motors of the time were typically DC motors with brushes, which offered limited speed control and were prone to wear and tear. Despite these limitations, the introduction of CNC technology represented a significant advance in the machining industry, allowing for greater precision and efficiency. As CNC machines became more widely adopted, the demand for improved spindle motors grew, leading to the development of new types of motors that offered higher efficiency, greater reliability, and improved speed control. Today, spindle motors are a critical component of CNC machines and have come a long way since the early days of the

CNC Advantages

The advantages of CNC spindle motors make them an essential component in modern CNC machines, helping to improve accuracy, productivity, and efficiency in manufacturing operations.

  1. Precision: CNC spindle motors provide high levels of accuracy and precision in machining operations. Lower vibrations also factor into increased accuracy. Fewer vibrations on the bearings and rotor make for a more accurate CNC.
  2. Power: CNC spindle motors can generate high torque. This enables them to handle tough materials and make deep cuts. This is especially important in heavy-duty machining applications, where a lot of material needs quick and efficient removal.
  3. Reliability: Built for durability, CNC spindle motors can withstand the rigors of industrial use. Constructed using high-quality materials, they can operate under high loads and high temperatures.
  4. Low Maintenance: CNC spindle motors are designed with minimal need for lubrication or adjustment. This helps to reduce downtime and maintenance costs, allowing manufacturers to increase productivity and efficiency.
  5. Versatility: CNC spindle motors are available in various sizes and power ratings, making them versatile and suitable for a wide range of machining applications. They can be used with various cutting tools, including drills, end mills, and routers, making them suitable for cutting a range of materials, from metals to plastics.

Spindle Motor Types

CNC Spindle Motors are generally broken down into two types: AC Induction and DC Brushless motors.

With AC induction motors, alternating current generates a magnetic field in the stator windings. This magnetic field then interacts with the rotor and creates torque in the motor drive. AC induction motors tend to be more robust and built tough to meet the demands of industrial applications.

In contrast to AC motors, DC brushless motors use direct current to generate a similar magnetic field in the stator windings. However, a DC motor contains magnets on the rotor that moves to create torque. The advantage of this design is that no friction is being created in the process thereby avoiding a lot of the wear and tear caused by heat and friction. This results in a reliable and long-lasting motor.

An example of a DC Brushed, DC Brushless, and AC Motor construction.


As population and demand increase, the need for CNC will continue to increase with it. Over the years this manufacturing tool has proven its value through its speed, reliability, productivity, and efficiency. This trend will likely be the case for years on end.

The Future of Ladder Logic

Ladder Logic diagram example by “The Engineering Projects”

What is Ladder Logic?

Ladder Logic is a programming language used in industrial automation and control systems. They specifically are used in Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). These specialized computers control industrial machinery and processes.

The History

Richard E. Morley is credited for being the inventor of ladder logic. Morely invented the first Programmable Logic Controller in 1968. Morley’s invention was a significant innovation in industrial control systems, and it paved the way for the development of ladder logic. In the early days of ladder logic, programming involved hand-drawn diagrams on paper. These papers got fed into machines that converted the diagrams into machine code. Over time, ladder logic evolved to include more advanced programming functions.

As a Language

The fundamental building blocks of Ladder Logic are inputs, outputs, and logic gates. Inputs refer to the signals received from sensors or other devices. Outputs refer to the signals sent to actuators or other devices. Logic gates are the basic building blocks of digital circuits and perform logical operations on the inputs to produce the desired output.

Examples of “coils” and “gates”

The diagrams in Ladder Logic consist of horizontal “rungs” that represent the logical operations performed on the inputs, and vertical “rails” that represent the power supply and ground. The rungs stay connected by “contacts” and “coils”. Contacts represent the inputs while coils represent the outputs. Various symbols represent the logic gates. Some examples of these symbols are AND gates, OR gates, and NOT gates. These gates perform logical operations on the inputs.

Ladder Logic’s Advantage

One of the advantages of Ladder Logic is its simplicity and ease of use. The graphical representation of the program makes it easy to understand and maintain. Those with little or no programming experience can quickly learn it. This leads to significant time and cost savings for industrial automation and control systems. Additionally, the standardized symbols and syntax make it easy to share programs between different PLCs and programming software, further reducing development time and costs.

Another advantage of Ladder Logic is its ability to handle complex control functions. Ladder Logic includes advanced programming functions such as timers, counters, and math functions, allowing it to handle complex control functions in industrial processes. This flexibility makes it a powerful programming language for industrial automation and control systems. This is due to customizability to suit specific control requirements.

The Future of Ladder Logic

Ladder Logic is in the development of smarter and more sophisticated industrial control systems. The Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 are driving the development of intelligent factories and industrial processes. Ladder Logic can handle the advanced programming functions required for these systems. For example, Ladder Logic can be implemented into program predictive maintenance systems. This system uses sensors and data analysis to predict when equipment will fail and schedule maintenance accordingly.

Another potential future use of Ladder Logic is in the development of more energy-efficient industrial control systems. As sustainability and energy efficiency become increasingly important, Ladder Logic can be used in program systems that optimize energy usage and reduce waste. It can control HVAC systems, lighting systems, and other building automation systems to reduce energy usage and improve efficiency.

The future of ladder logic has been a topic of debate for quite some time. While some are optimistic about it still having a place in the industry, there are others who think that it will eventually go in the way of languages already forgotten. Ladder logic’s story is one that started a long time ago and is continuing to unfold.

Virtual Reality: A Game-Changer in Industrial Automation

Virtual reality (VR) technology is revolutionizing the way industrial automation operates. Transforming the manufacturing sector, VR enables companies to create immersive training environments and digital prototypes that simulate real-world conditions. The benefits of VR in industrial automation are numerous, making it an increasingly popular tool in the industry.

The Brief History of VR

Virtual reality (VR) technology has a history that dates back to the mid-20th century. According to a report by the History of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research group. In the 1960s, computer scientist, Ivan Sutherland created the first device, the”The Sword of Damocles”. It was a crude prototype that consisted of a head-mounted display and a tracking system. The device enabled users in experiencing computer-generated environments in a way that felt more immersive than any previous computer interface.

In the following decades, VR technology advanced rapidly, especially in the field of military simulation and training. The 1990s saw the commercial sector showing interest in VR technology. This led to the development of more advanced VR systems for use in video games, medicine, and other fields. Today, VR technology is more sophisticated and is used in various applications. This ranges from gaming and entertainment to education and training. Over the years VR technology has become more affordable and there has been wider development in VR software. This makes the technology more accessible to a much broader audience as it rapidly evolves.

VR’s Effect on the Industry

There are different significant uses of VR in industrial automation. One is the creation of virtual simulations of production lines, assembly processes, and operating procedures. This enables engineers and operators to experience the manufacturing process from start to finish in a virtual environment. This improves their understanding of the process and reduces the risk of errors. One report by ResearchAndMarkets, estimates the market to grow from $4.08 billion in 2020 to $9.51 billion by 2025.

Another way VR is advancing industrial automation is through the use of digital twin technology. A digital twin is a virtual model of a physical system. It provides real-time data and insights into the system’s performance. This allows manufacturers to monitor and optimize the performance of their machines in real time, reducing downtime and improving efficiency. MarketsandMarkets, predicts, the digital twin market to grow from $5.72 billion in 2018 to $35.8 billion by 2023.

Furthermore, VR is also being used in training and education in the industrial automation sector. Companies can create immersive training environments for employees. This allows them to experience realistic scenarios without putting themselves or others at risk. Additionally, this not only improves employee safety but also helps employees acquire new skills faster and more effectively.

Virtual reality is advancing industrial automation by providing a safer, more efficient, and more effective way to train employees. It simulates production processes and optimizes machine performance. VR’s versatility and ability to provide real-time data and insights make it a vital tool in the industrial automation industry.

Company Spotlight: FANUC

FANUC, (aka FANUC Corporation), is a Japanese multinational corporation. They specialize in the manufacturing and sale of robotics, automation, and CNC (computer numerical control) systems. Founded in 1956, the company has a long history of becoming one of the manufacturing industry’s leading players.

The Beginning

Like any good industry story, FANUC began with three engineers. Seiuemon Inaba, Ichiro Kigawa, and Takeshi Nakamura worked at the Fujitsu Fanuc factory in Japan before establishing FANUC in 1956. The company’s first product, a computerized numerical control (CNC) system, automated turning raw materials into finished products. This revolutionary system significantly increased the efficiency and precision of manufacturing processes. According to the company’s website, Fanuc produced the first CNC system in 1958.

Throughout the 1960s and 70s, FANUC continued expanding its product line, developing new CNC systems and other automation technologies. Specifically, the 1970s saw FANUC focus on establishing itself as a leading manufacturer of numerical control (NC) systems. The company’s sales during this decade were modest, as it was still building its brand and reputation in the market. According to the company’s official website, FANUC’s focus on innovation and customer satisfaction helped it establish a strong foundation in the NC systems market. The company also began to establish a global presence. They opened subsidiaries in Europe and the United States. According to MarketsandMarkets FANUC had established itself as a major player in the global CNC market by the 1970s.

Ending the Century Strong

The 1980s saw FANUC entering the robotics market with the launch of its first industrial robot, the FANUC Robot M-1. The M-1’s success established FANUC as a leading player in the robotics industry. In a report from Technavio, by the early 1980s, FANUC had become one of the leading suppliers of industrial robots in Japan. The company continued expanding its robotics product line throughout the 1980s and 1990s, developing new robots for a variety of industrial applications.

The New Millenium

In the early 2000s, FANUC continued to innovate and grow, expanding into new markets and developing new technologies. The company launched a series of collaborative robots, designed to work alongside human operators. It also began developing AI-powered systems. By the early 2000s FANUC had become one of the leading suppliers of collaborative robots in the world.

Today, FANUC stands as a global leader in the manufacturing industry. They provide products and services used in a wide range of industries. This includes automotive, aerospace, electronics, and medical devices. The company has a strong reputation for innovation and quality, and it continues to invest in R&D to develop new technologies that can improve the efficiency and productivity of manufacturing processes. According to a report from Frost & Sullivan, FANUC is the world’s largest supplier of industrial robots, holding a market share of over 30%.

The company has a long and storied history that has seen it become one of the leading players in the global manufacturing industry. FANUC has established itself as a company dedicated to innovation, quality, and efficiency. They continue to invest in R&D, developing new technologies that can improve the efficiency and productivity of manufacturing processes.

Industrial Automation: Job Growth

The industrial automation sector has seen significant job growth in the past decade. A report by MarketsandMarkets, estimates the global industrial automation market to reach $296 billion by 2023. From 2018 to 2023 the CAGR saw a growth of 6.6%. The adoption of Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, rising labor costs, and a growing need for improved efficiency and productivity have been contributing factors.

This growth in the industrial automation market has also led to an increase in job opportunities in the sector. The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) found industrial automation jobs increased by 2.6 million worldwide between 2010 and 2016. The study also predicted continued job growth in the sector reaching 2.8 million by 2019.

Manufacturing roles aren’t the only jobs increasing in the industrial automation sector. Additionally, industrial automation technologies have led to a growing need for skilled professionals in other areas. These include engineering, programming, and data analysis, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment of industrial engineers, for example, projected 8% growth from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.

In addition, the industrial automation sector is also a significant contributor to the growth of the economy. The IFR estimates that every robot installed in the manufacturing industry creates an average of 1.6 jobs. Furthermore, the increasing adoption of industrial automation technologies is also expected to lead to new jobs. These areas can include the installation, maintenance, and repair of automation systems.

In conclusion, the industrial automation sector has seen significant job growth in the past decade, driven by the increasing adoption of Industry 4.0 and IoT technologies, rising labor costs, and a growing need for improved efficiency and productivity. Experts continue to expect this growth in the coming years, leading to an increase in job opportunities not just in manufacturing roles but also in areas such as engineering, programming, and data analysis.

Harassment in the Work Place

Workplace harassment is a pervasive problem that affects individuals across all industries. In a survey conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men reported experiencing harassment in the workplace. This number is likely even higher, as many incidents go unreported.

In an effort to address this issue, many companies have begun implementing harassment training programs. A 2020 study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that approximately 90% of companies with 50 or more employees provided some form of harassment training. This is a significant increase from just a few years prior. One 2018 survey found that only about 60% of companies offered such training.

Another report done in 2019 by EMBROKER found that 19% of EPLI (Employment Practices Liability Insurance) claims were due to workplace harassment. In 2020 the number in claims drastically spiked 115%.

Harassment training can be effective in reducing incidents of harassment in the workplace. A meta-analysis of research on the topic found that such training can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of the harassment. However, it is important for companies to ensure that their training programs are comprehensive and tailored to the specific needs of their workforce.

Progress has been made in addressing workplace harassment, but it still remains a significant issue. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 37% of women and 13% of men reported experiencing some form of harassment or discrimination at work. This highlights the need for continued efforts to address harassment in the workplace. This includes training programs and other measures to promote a safe and inclusive work environment.

The History of “The New Year”

For thousands of years, New Year celebrations have changed and evolved. Some of the oldest celebrations evidently located in ancient civilizations such as Mesopotamia and Egypt.

In Ancient Times

Ancient Mesopotamia celebrated the new year around the time of the vernal equinox, around March 21st. The Akkadian people, who lived in ancient Mesopotamia, celebrated the new year with a festival called Akitu. This festival included crowing a king and honoring the gods.


Ancient Egypt celebrated the new year around the time of the inundation of the Nile, which typically occurred in the month of September.

One of the most important of these was the festival of Wepet Renpet, which honored the god, Ra. During this festival, the Pharaoh would lead a procession to the temple of Ra and offer sacrifices to the god.

Other rituals and ceremonies associated with the Egyptian new year included the reading of the “Book of the Dead.” These were a collection of spells and incantations used to protect the deceased in the afterlife. There also existed an “Opening of the Mouth” ceremony. This gave the deceased the power to speak and eat in the afterlife.

The Egyptians also celebrated the new year with feasts and celebrations. They would decorate their homes and temples with flowers and other decorations. They also held large banquets in honor of the gods.


The Roman calendar, which was based on the movements of the moon, originally had only ten months. They celebrated the new year on March 1st, calling it the “New Year’s Day of the Consuls.” Later, the Romans reformulated the calendar and the new year moved to January 1st.

A variety of traditions and customs marked the Roman new year. One important tradition, the exchange of gifts, brought good luck for the coming year. The Romans would also decorate their homes with greenery and other decoration. Like the Egyptians, they also held feasts and parties to celebrate the new year.

The Roman Empire also marked the new year by performing religious rituals. The Romans believed that the gods had a special role to play in the new year. They offered sacrifices and perform other rituals to honor them.

Medieval Europe

The celebration of the New Year in Medieval Europe landed on different dates depending on the region. The British Isles celebrated the new year on March 25th, the feast of the Annunciation. For the Catholic Church, December 25th was the feast of the Nativity. They celebrated by singing Christmas carols and exchanging gifts.

Overall, the celebration of the new year in medieval Europe was a time of renewal and a time to look forward to the future. It was a time to come together with family and friends and celebrate the blessings of the past year.


In Africa, the celebration of the new year varies among different tribes and cultures. Some African tribes mark the new year as a time of renewal and celebrate with rituals, ceremonies, and feasts.

For example, the Ashanti people of Ghana celebrate the new year with the festival of Homowo, which is a time to honor their ancestors and give thanks for the blessings of the past year. During this festival, the Ashanti people hold traditional dances, perform rituals, and prepare special foods.

Other African tribes celebrate the new year with different traditions and customs. The Zulu people of South Africa mark the new year with the Umkhosi woMhlanga, or Reed Dance, which is a celebration of womanhood and fertility. The Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania celebrate the new year with the Eunoto, a rite of passage for young warriors.

Overall, the celebration of the new year in Africa is a time of renewal and a time to honor the past and look forward to the future. It is a time for families and communities to come together and celebrate the blessings of the past year.

The Modern Celebration

The modern celebration of New Year’s Day on January 1st traces back to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII implemented the calendar as a way to reform the Julian calendar which had become inaccurate over time. Presently, the Gregorian calendar is the uniform system for determining the dates of holidays and other important events.

Today, countries all over the world celebrate New Year with a variety of traditions and customs. Many countries mark New Year’s Eve with parties, fireworks, and the ringing of church bells at midnight. In other countries, New Year’s Day is a time for family gatherings and the exchange of gifts.

The Origins of Santa Clause

The Origins of Santa Clause

The History

Santa Claus is a popular Western cultural figure associated with the Christmas holiday season. Other aliases he goes by are “Saint Nick”, “Kris Kringle”, and “Santa”.

Portrait of Saint Nicholas

Santa Clause’s mythos resides in cultural psyches throughout the world. He is a large man in red. He can traverse the entire Earth overnight at breakneck speeds with his team of flying reindeer to deliver presents. Despite his robust size, Santa can change his body to fit down a chimney. As extraordinary as this mythos sounds like many tall tales, it actually has roots in history.

The modern image of Santa Claus is based on the 4th-century Greek bishop, Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was born in the town of Patara in modern-day Turkey. Nicholas became recognized for his charitable acts during his time as bishop. Most notably, giving gifts to the poor and helping to fund the education of young students. After Saint Nicholas’s death, he became the patron saint of children, sailors, and merchants

Over time, various cultures adopted Saint Nicholas’s legend, each with its own version. In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas was known as Sinterklaas while in Germany he was called Kris Kringle. The Dutch version of the story, Sinterklaas, in the United States, became anglicized to Santa Claus.

Modern Depiction

Actor, Edmund Gwenn’s performance as Santa Clause (Miracle on 34th Street, 1947) is probably one of the most iconic depictions of the character in modern cinema.

The modern depiction of Santa Clause is of a plump, jolly man in a red suit with a white beard and black boots can be traced back to the 19th century. In 1823, Clement Clarke Moore published, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” also known as “The Night Before Christmas”. In his poem, Clarke introduced many of the elements that we now associate with Santa Claus today. This included the red suit, white beard, and the use of a sleigh and reindeer to deliver gifts. Later, in 1870, cartoonist, Thomas Nast’s illustration of the character further popularized this modern image.

Big Red’s depiction hasn’t only been in stories and illustrations, but in tv shows and movies as well. Directors have taken many liberties with retelling and portraying this mythical figure throughout the years. While many films do portray his traditional characteristics of a jolly and cheerful individual spreading holiday cheer, Santa has also been portrayed as a superhero saving the world while brandishing a sword, or even an antihero possessing many deadly skills and killing bad guys in different ways.

The Conclusion

Conclusively, the origins of Santa Clause personify our romanticizing of what a simple act of kindness can become. Saint Nicholas lived as a humble man dedicated to simple charity. However, his story has continuously echoed throughout time as larger than life.

Covid’s Effect on Automation

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the industrial automation industry, with both positive and negative effects.

The Positive

On the positive side, the demand for automation has increased as companies look for ways to reduce the number of workers on the factory floor and minimize the risk of virus transmission. Automation can help to maintain social distancing guidelines and reduce the need for close contact between workers. In addition, many companies have turned to automation to increase the efficiency and speed of their operations in the face of supply chain disruptions and other challenges caused by the pandemic. According to a report by the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), “the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred increased interest in automation as a means to reduce the risk of infection, improve efficiency, and maintain or increase production levels in the face of supply chain disruptions and other challenges.”

The Negative

On the negative side, the pandemic has disrupted the supply chain for automation equipment and components, leading to delays and shortages. Many manufacturers and suppliers have had to deal with disruptions to their operations due to lockdowns and other measures taken to control the spread of the virus. This has made it more difficult for companies to obtain the equipment and components they need to automate their operations. According to the A3 report, “the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the supply chain for automation equipment and components, leading to delays and shortages.”

The pandemic has also had a negative impact on the financial performance of many companies in the industrial automation industry. Many businesses have had to deal with reduced demand and lower revenues due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. This has led to a decrease in investment in automation and a slowdown in the growth of the industry. According to a report by the International Association of Automation (IAA), “the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the financial performance of many companies in the industrial automation industry, leading to a decrease in investment in automation and a slowdown in the growth of the industry.”


Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a mixed impact on the industrial automation industry. While the demand for automation has increased in some sectors, the disruptions caused by the pandemic have led to delays and shortages in the supply chain and have had a negative impact on the financial performance of many companies in the industry.