Solve Your PLC Problems Without Losing the Program

Is your Allen Bradley SLC-500 finally kaput now that you’ve reprogrammed channels on the I/O cards about 10 times? (Did you think we didn’t know you did this? Everyone does this.)  Did your GE Fanuc PLC processor suddenly just “lose” its program?  Has your ABB PLC faulted, the little red light is on and you can’t get your error codes to clear?  Then you would definitely NOT PLC Repairsbe alone.  We hear these tales of woe day in and day out from manufacturing plants and shops of all sizes.

In a nearly perfect world you would perform maintenance checks on your PLCs every month or two, but even if you do this, many of the most common PLC problems are not caused by lack of maintenance.  Machine age and environmental conditions are often at the heart of the problem.  Assuming you have ruled out ridiculously obvious problems such having the wrong cables or loose cable connections, a few of the evil PLC poltergeists include:

  • Power fluctuations or surges
  • Over heating
  • Blown power supplies
  • Blown I/O cards
  • Bad I/O channels
  • Bad cables/loose cable connection

However, another frequent PLC problem is absolutely a maintenance issue – bad batteries.   If you’ve been neglecting to replace your back-up battery, bad things are sure to happen.  If the red fault light indicates battery status you are in danger of losing your program.  If you do not have a current program on hand to reload after you’ve replaced the dead battery, then you are in even more trouble.  (Hint:  If the red battery light comes on don’t down the power!) Get the program backed-up BEFORE you attempt to change the battery(s). Whether you are the boss or the operator, this is not the place you want to be.  Let the finger pointing begin!

In almost all of the above mentioned cases, you will need to remove the unit and have it repaired.  If the PLC unit is still under warranty, you will need to contact the OEM.  If not, you will need the services of a reliable third-party industrial electronic repair shop.

2010 Automation Salary Survey Results are Finally In!

2010 Salary SurveyAt last, Automation.com has released the results of its annual salary survey and this year they collaborated with InTech.  I anxiously await the results of this survey each year because it paints a unique picture of what’s going on in the engineering and manufacturing world.

In a nutshell, job satisfaction has increased among automation professionals with more than 80% indicating they are satisfied with their job – although these days some level of satisfaction can come from just having a job at all.

Participants of this survey work in 40 different industry segments with the majority being in the Engineering Services segment.  Job functions of respondents ran the gamut from Application Engineering, to Consulting Engineering, to Facilities Management, to Plant Engineering to Sales to Training & Education, as well as many others in between.  More than 69% of respondents had a college degree or higher.

For you news bite junkies here are the highlights:

  • Average Salary for respondents in the U.S. for 2010 was $99,540; in Canada, $101,646.
  • The Top Five highest paid job functions were:  Consulting Engineering,
    Engineering Management, Safety Systems Engineering, General or Operations
    Management; Project Management
  • Salary for those who completed a graduate degree was the highest; those who had started but not completed a graduate program commanded only a marginal salary increase so clearly it pays to finish what you start here.
  • By industry segment, the highest average salaries were in Utilities – Pipelines except Natural Gas; in descending order the next highest were Oil & Gas Extraction, Petroleum Refining & Related Industries, Engineering Services, Utilities Combo (Nuclear/Fossil Fuel, etc.),Valves, Fittings, Fabricated Metal Products
  • By U.S. Region, the top salaried region is the Pacific West at an average of $101,877 and the lowest the West North Central Midwest at $93,240
  • By Degree, Electrical Engineering degrees were the highest earners at $109,492 and Liberal Arts the lowest at $91,000 just below IT at $100,000
  • The average salary for males was $100,422; for females $87,351
  • Professionals who were members of industry organizations pulled in higher salaries than those who were not
  • In a change from previous years, the average salary of independent contractors was almost identical to that of direct employees – previously independents received a few thousand dollars more per year
  • More than 30% of respondents say they will retire in the next 10 years and almost 14% in the next five years
  • Unsurprisingly, many respondents feel much greater pressure to increase productivity and reduce costs
  • The top four most important benefits cited by respondents were:  health insurance,pension plans/401K, flexible working hours, and paid time off
  • Average vacation time:  3 weeks per year
  • Most respondents clocked between 41-45 hours perweek work time

There’s more detailed information in this survey so for those of you who are either highly analytical or visual, here’s the link for a ton of nifty charts and graphs on the Automation.com website:  http://www.automation.com/.   For the full article on the InTech website:   http://www.isa.org/InTechTemplate.cfm?Section=InTech_Home1

ACS Industrial Services supports automation, engineering, and manufacturing by providing fast and accurate repairs for a wide range of industrial electronics from plc repairs, to servo motor repairs, to power supplies, monitors & touch screens, test equipment, circuit boards, cnc equipment, drives, encoders, light curtains and much more.  If you have questions or need assistance call our customer service team at 800-605-6419.  We’ve got your back!

Question: When is a Blush Not Red and Not on Your Face?

Industrial Injection Mold Equipment Repair ServicesWhen is a blush not red and not the tell-tale sign of embarrassment?  When it’s a cosmetic blemish on a finished plastic part produced by injection mold equipment, that’s when.  You might recognize it as a whitish spot where the plastic is bent, deformed or stressed beyond the elasticity of the plastic material.  A blush is often seen at the point of injection on the finished part.

Of course, if you are one of our injection mold customers, you will already know this.  You will also know that it takes a lot of big equipment for injection or blow mold manufacturing.  It is also a really cool process to watch…at least it never fails to amaze me!

Not so cool, however, is when your equipment is damaged or defective and production is stopped.  Did your plc fail?  Drive break down?  Temperature controller go rogue?

We receive requests for motor repairs, servo drive repairs, plc repairs, temperature controller repairs, and encoder repairs from our mold manufacturing customers every day of the week.  Let us get our technicians right on these repairs and back to you fully tested and in perfect working order.

No fooling around and no blushing involved.  Just fast, expert industrial repair services for the most important part of our company – our customers!  Call our helpful customer service team at 800-605-6410 or go directly to our website at www.acsindustrial.com where you can request a free evaluation for your damaged equipment.