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dervinosdoom
Jan 23, 2014




I've been working with PLCs, HMIs, and SCADA systems for 5 years now, any other goons work with any of the previous systems?

I work at a systems integrator near all the steel mills in the NW Indiana area

I work 99% on Rockwell Automation/Allen Bradley systems, from ancient rear end PLC2s to modern L8x series controllogix PLCs and all of the PLCs in-between.
I design cabinets, program both PLCs and HMIs and go out on troubleshooting calls basically anywhere there's a PLC or HMI.

Tell me your preferred PLC and preferred programming structure. I do nothing but ladder logic because it is a requirement for a majority of the projects I am on.

Also tell me you're most hated communication protocol. Mine is Controlnet because if one of your com cards decides it doesn't want to work anymore, you lose all your devices!

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joebuddah
Jan 30, 2005


I do Ingition development. I hate lack of documentation. When setting up a networked device, put all the important files, and basic information on a shared / networked drive.

Important things are install drivers, pdf manuals , ip address and physical location!

I hate telegraph type communication. Like on netstal machines. I love opcua. So easy,

joebuddah fucked around with this message at 00:33 on Jun 26, 2021

dervinosdoom
Jan 23, 2014




I've heard good things about ignition, too bad I do 99% RA FactoryTalk View ME & SE. I mean the software isn't bad, but I would like to try new things that aren't IFIX.

TheGreenBandit
Dec 22, 2006

President of the United States of Boogers


I do automation on water and wastewater systems, as an on-site engineer. We use mostly Allen Bradley systems with iFix, but we're in the process of dumping it to move to Ignition. We've also got a small fleet of old Bristol Babcock 3330 era controls around that we're slowly replacing.

Ask me all about the aborted failure of a product that was iFix WebHMI, and committing to it 100% as an organization a year before GE straight up halted all development on it . I can't say I'm sad though, our reasons for sticking with iFix were organizational momentum, and their failure gave us justification to make the jump off of their garbage platform to Ignition.

Seriously though, going from iFix and it's flat tag structure paradigm to a PlantPax/Ignition combination has been awesome. Also, because we had committed to WebHMI (which was just an HTML5/OPCUA skin on top of the terrible legacy iFix PDB), we are committing to HTML5 SCADA via Ignition's Perspective, and ignoring the legacy Vision client entirely.


joebuddah posted:

I do Ingition development.

Are you doing any Perspective development yet, or just Vision? Curious to hear others' take on the differences.

joebuddah
Jan 30, 2005


Perspective is great for the most part. As long as you don't need the client to access local serial ports. The version we are on doesn't support it. I hope they are working on a fix.

For the clients the only issue is resizing. Some people still have the old square lcds, some have new hd wide screens. While the web browser does auto adjust somethings. Some objects don't shrink or grow correctly. Which is easily solved by having the same monitor type. ( We have some departments that refuse to replace any thing that isn't broke. I just finished a crusade to purge the last XP computers)


The real issue is the perspective designer. Lol .
The designer object trees collapse a lot, and you have to make sure your custom variables / attributes are marked as persistent. It's annoying, but still beats java updates or using the client launcher

TheGreenBandit
Dec 22, 2006

President of the United States of Boogers


I want to take a minute to talk about SCADA, and poo poo all over iFix, specifically WebHMI.

For those of you know who aren't "up" on controls engineering / PLC / SCADA stuff, everything revolves around Tags. A tag is a bit of data, like a pressure, or a state (whether a motor is on or off). These are basically like variables in programming, with different datatypes (FLOATs/INTs/BOOLEANs/Strings etc...). In your typical SCADA setup, you have two main pieces:

PLCs are like small computers with lots of I/O ports (for devices to connect and receive commands) and use logic to make the connected devices do things (like open a valve when a tank gets low, or stop the reactor if it gets too hot).

HMI software (also called SCADA), which are the fancy displays you see in power plants or other control rooms. HMI lets humans interact with the PLCs and see what's going on, or send commands (like start a pump, or overdose all the chemicals in drinking water if you're a hacker).

Tags by definition must be communicated between the PLCs and HMI software. In the year 2021, one might think that this would be simple, and largely with modern protocols such as OPCUA or Ethernet/IP, you would be right.

Not with iFix however. iFix originates from a program called Fix32, which is old as dirt and was a decent program for the early 90s. At the time, PLCs were expected to have few tags, and to use them in iFix, you'd put them in a translation table (called Database), with a 30-character limit for the translated Tag name within iFix. When Fix32 transitioned to iFix, they decided to basically take all the old Fix32 legacy code, and bury it underneath a shiny new interface. This worked about as well as one might expect. Fast forward 20 years, and iFix, now owned by GE, had changed exactly 0% and nobody sane was buying into it. Since HTML5 had been a thing for about 4 years, they decided to actually do a thing with iFix, and make it pretty for the new fancy "Internet Of Things". They licensed a decent IOT framework ThingWorx, and slapped it on top of the old iFix code, with some fancy OPCUA shims to make the drat thing actually work, kind of. They called their platform the very original name "WebHMI".

ThingWorx/WebHMI, being a shim on top of iFix, requires yet ANOTHER translation on top of the original iFix translation table. This one uses "Asset Models" to template tags, though advanced features are missing such as "copy and paste", or "test outside of production". Also, the 30-character tag name limit in the iFix translation table STILL applies, so fancy things such as keeping your naming consistent across your PLC, and two translations is not possible.

I'm not actually sure if there were any other customers of WebHMI aside from us. We as an organization went all-in on WebHMI as a platform, using the ever reliable sunk costs fallacy. Not that it matters much, since GE killed WebHMI as a product three years after we invested in it, and has now switched to their totally different not at all just another shim on top of legacy iFix "Operations Hub". They tried to convince us to spec it in our upcoming projects despite at the time lacking such features as "being able to read tags from PLCs" and "not being alpha release". We politely told them to shove it.

TLDR: don't use iFix.

dervinosdoom
Jan 23, 2014




For the most part, all GE is trash in my opinion. IFIX, Rx3i, Rxi. All junk. Proficy is a garbage program made by morons.

I've used Schneider electric screens and they're ok to work with an AB PLC, gotta do PLC5 mapping to get the tags to work.

I do mostly PLC and HMI work, little SCADA and I like using maple systems/weintek HMIs, they'll talk to drat near anything, cheap, and the latest programming software is free. It's not hard to program.

Automation Direct C-More screens are pretty good too. Little more expensive, but the newest software is free too. It's not hard to use either.

I do like Factorytalk ME because you don't have to put it on a panelview! It'll work on a regular pc! Then you can do custom sizes! I did work for a dredge company and their application was 11520 x 1080 (6 monitors!) across!

wipe up or ship out
Nov 5, 2008


Hi everyone! I am an automation engineer, in eastern europe, and have the great job of reviving all the garbage that western europe sends our way. I’m talking about machines with step5, eberle pls, pilz pssu 3k and other ancient hardware that nobody wants anymore. I was lucky enough to work with new machines that run on Twincat 3 and all I learned is that this beautiful world of control engineering is nothing but garbage. Everything new is either overly complicated and needs 20 different licenses to do one thing and all the old stuff has 0 support.

A special shout out to beckhoff’s terrible hardware thats built to last 2 months tops.

PS: Thank you siemens for selling us an ipc that runs wincc rt on a loving cpu that seems to be from 2008 (i think it has a celeron in it).

babyeatingpsychopath
Oct 28, 2000
Forum Veteran

Sorry, I work in a manufacturing plant and all of our machines are separate.

"Full-line integration" is a guy walking the length of the line pushing start/stop buttons or plugging/unplugging equipment.

A lot of our control boxes are relay ladder logic, but with actual relays. We have three-and-a-half machines with PLCs in them, though we just got three shiny new (2013) Bosch machines with ethernet-controlled motor drives in them that I can't wait to fondle.

Actually, a bunch of the standalone gear is pretty computerized; the metal detectors, automatic scales, and inkjet printers are really tightly integrated pieces of standalone equipment. They're always working and have straightforward plain-english warning and caution messages, so I don't have any complaints about those things.

Our newest piece of equipment is literally a Raspberry Pi with HDMI touchscreen in a stainless-steel case and a "serial" cord running to the equipment, which has a handful of servos, steppers, and solenoids. It appears to have been banged out by six guys in their basement, and the customer support and service help desk bears this notion out.

I have a vision that will eventually integrate all the equipment capable of being on a network to be on a network so that at least all the clocks are in sync. This may happen sometime after we get an air system that has an oil separator/dryer on it so I don't have to walk to every machine in the plant and drain water out of the water separators (if equipped) or pneumatic cylinders.

dervinosdoom
Jan 23, 2014




wipe up or ship out posted:

Hi everyone! I am an automation engineer, in eastern europe, and have the great job of reviving all the garbage that western europe sends our way. I’m talking about machines with step5, eberle pls, pilz pssu 3k and other ancient hardware that nobody wants anymore. I was lucky enough to work with new machines that run on Twincat 3 and all I learned is that this beautiful world of control engineering is nothing but garbage. Everything new is either overly complicated and needs 20 different licenses to do one thing and all the old stuff has 0 support.

A special shout out to beckhoff’s terrible hardware thats built to last 2 months tops.

PS: Thank you siemens for selling us an ipc that runs wincc rt on a loving cpu that seems to be from 2008 (i think it has a celeron in it).

Man,

I hear nothing but good things about Beckhoff! At least on PLC forums, but honestly a lot of them are filled with guys that want to be programmers.

Sorry you deal with all the western european junk, I do trouble calls and get to deal with junk too.

About the licenses, it's loving nuts at this point. I sometimes have to figure out what an end user needs software wise and it's a nightmare with Rockwell. Like holy poo poo awful because they're trying to move to a subscription like licensing it makes me want to die.

joebuddah
Jan 30, 2005


I wish they would include me in the new machine purchase conversation. It's not until after the machine is delivered that they have the idea that they want to view the mes data. When I ask things like is this machine networked, opcua? I get blank stares.

TheGreenBandit
Dec 22, 2006

President of the United States of Boogers


joebuddah posted:

I wish they would include me in the new machine purchase conversation. It's not until after the machine is delivered that they have the idea that they want to view the mes data. When I ask things like is this machine networked, opcua? I get blank stares.

It was a long struggle to get included in these conversations where I'm at now. Especially since some of the projects had been in-planning long before I was around. It took a few blown contingency budgets on silly things like communication and working control strategies, but that and consistent hounding for two years got the Controls team involved in new project planning.

dervinosdoom
Jan 23, 2014




I love going into a project with everything already bought and going "this won't work, this won't work, etc etc." Because they didn't have a controls guy looking over the part sheet first. Or yeah it'll work, but add $10,000 for protocol converters and gateways.

shame on an IGA
Apr 8, 2005

Get into shit, let it out like diarrhea
Got burnt once, that was only gonorrhea




Almost everything in our shop is Siemens S7 with a double handful of S5 still around to keep things interesting. Function Block Diagram 4 lyf.

...actually we just retired our last Windows NT 3.5 machine last year

dervinosdoom
Jan 23, 2014




I like ladder for most. I'll do STL or FB for math.

My first Siemens project is getting shipped to the customer on Monday. Of course I'll be on vacation when they want to install it, but that's not my problem.

We still have DOS computers for talking to old AB PLC 2s, 3s, and SLC 150s.

I love that everything is moving toward ethernet, it gives me hope.

TheGreenBandit
Dec 22, 2006

President of the United States of Boogers


I love the old stuff. Not for working seriously on, but just for farting around. We just decommissioned a few SLC-150s and I've been playing around with them on the handheld programmer. Nothing like editing your program one instruction at a time, and keeping it all in your head.

dervinosdoom
Jan 23, 2014




My buddy does electronics recycling and I just found an old siemens LOGO! PLC in a plastic enclosure! SCORE, still powers up!

Bar Ran Dun
Jan 21, 2006

When there were five in the bed and we all rolled over I said nothing, because I would not fall off.

Hi thread. I’m a marine engineer that graduated from one of the Service Academies.

The old stuff is pneumatic controls and analog. Have y’all discovered cybernetics and systems theory yet?

shame on an IGA
Apr 8, 2005

Get into shit, let it out like diarrhea
Got burnt once, that was only gonorrhea




dervinosdoom posted:

My buddy does electronics recycling and I just found an old siemens LOGO! PLC in a plastic enclosure! SCORE, still powers up!

Those are pretty limited in what they can do but shamefully underappreciated at the same time. For small projects you would think about implementing with hardware relays and timers they can't be beat at the price and the version 8 models with ethernet, solid state outputs and 2 analog input channels are just great

dervinosdoom
Jan 23, 2014




Bar Ran Dun posted:

Hi thread. I’m a marine engineer that graduated from one of the Service Academies.

The old stuff is pneumatic controls and analog. Have y’all discovered cybernetics and systems theory yet?

Dunno,

I have done PLCs on ocean going dredges before. It's always fun when the Coast Guard checks your work

dervinosdoom
Jan 23, 2014




shame on an IGA posted:

Those are pretty limited in what they can do but shamefully underappreciated at the same time. For small projects you would think about implementing with hardware relays and timers they can't be beat at the price and the version 8 models with ethernet, solid state outputs and 2 analog input channels are just great

Sadly I don't have the ethernet version. I'm still going to mess around with it at the office, maybe give the office intern something to work on.

Bar Ran Dun
Jan 21, 2006

When there were five in the bed and we all rolled over I said nothing, because I would not fall off.

dervinosdoom posted:

Dunno,

I have done PLCs on ocean going dredges before. It's always fun when the Coast Guard checks your work

I used to do flag inspections. I’d be out with CG vessels inspections guys a lot (some of the flags like to attend when CG inspects as a port state).

Dignity Van Houten
Jul 28, 2006

abcdefghijk
ELLAMENNO-P


I just left the material handling industry as an automation engineer. gently caress it to death. Plants with zero downtime policy, sites that run 24/7/365, 18 hour work days, everything is always an emergency. Meetings at 8am sunday. 2am sunday. 7pm mon-fri. Calls when you're on call. Calls when you're not on call. Calls when you're already on a call.

Minus Pants
Jul 18, 2004


dervinosdoom posted:

I have done PLCs on ocean going dredges before. It's always fun when the Coast Guard checks your work

Is there any sort of marine controls standard, like ABYC for electrical? Or is that part of the ABYC electrical standard? (I'm in IT but dabble with PLCs a bit, and have some some boat wiring )

dervinosdoom
Jan 23, 2014




Minus Pants posted:

Is there any sort of marine controls standard, like ABYC for electrical? Or is that part of the ABYC electrical standard? (I'm in IT but dabble with PLCs a bit, and have some some boat wiring )

Honestly,

I don't know. I haven't seen any! When I did program for the dredges, I wasn't told about any standards. Just make sure the program worked and didn't nuke the engine!

dxt
Mar 27, 2004
METAL DISCHARGE

I'm a controls engineer in the twin cities, MN area. Been doing it for almost 10 years now. Mostly at smaller custom machine builders/integrators, but had a 3 year stint at an OEM. Worked with several different PLC/HMI makes.

I hate a lot about Allen Bradley (their naming conventions never make any sense and their HMI software is trash), but their ladder editor is the best I've worked with. Just started at a machine builder that mainly does AB a few months ago.

I don't like GE's PLCs (only done a couple of projects with them tho), but the HMIs are nice. I worked for a while at a place that did a weird mish mash of AB PLCs with GE HMIs and Control Techniques drives.

Did a lot of Beckhoff at my last couple of jobs, overall liked it a lot better than AB. Their ladder editor is trash, but I prefer structured text for a lot of different applications. The ability to do a windows app for the HMI or use an HMI enviornment like Indusoft is great as well.

dervinosdoom
Jan 23, 2014




If you hate naming conventions, you'll hate siemens, their part numbers make me want to scream! I do 99% ladder because I'm not the only one looking at the code and for the most part it's easier to troubleshoot when I come to an unfilmiar PLC. I haven't worked with indusoft, I've messed with advancedHMI a little and I own a Maple Systems/Weintek HMI to play around with.

dxt
Mar 27, 2004
METAL DISCHARGE

dervinosdoom posted:

If you hate naming conventions, you'll hate siemens, their part numbers make me want to scream! I do 99% ladder because I'm not the only one looking at the code and for the most part it's easier to troubleshoot when I come to an unfilmiar PLC. I haven't worked with indusoft, I've messed with advancedHMI a little and I own a Maple Systems/Weintek HMI to play around with.

Siemens is the biggest PLC I haven't played with. Not used often in the midwest.

There's definitely advantages to ladder, especially if it's something simple ladder is great for troubleshooting and easier to follow for people who don't code. Even if a project is mainly text I like to do things like run permissions in ladder.

The only experience I have with maple is trying to figure out how to dump a program onto a refurb HMI to replace one in the field that died. Wasn't easy to work with, but also it was a very old version, hopefully a lot better now.

shame on an IGA
Apr 8, 2005

Get into shit, let it out like diarrhea
Got burnt once, that was only gonorrhea




dxt posted:

Siemens is the biggest PLC I haven't played with. Not used often in the midwest.

There's definitely advantages to ladder, especially if it's something simple ladder is great for troubleshooting and easier to follow for people who don't code. Even if a project is mainly text I like to do things like run permissions in ladder.

The only experience I have with maple is trying to figure out how to dump a program onto a refurb HMI to replace one in the field that died. Wasn't easy to work with, but also it was a very old version, hopefully a lot better now.

you'd probably hate Siemens, at least in our shop most everything is a mix of FBD and ST while literally all of the old stuff that's still running on S5 is 100% Instruction List

It's the choice of in-house machine build shops run by EEs who give zero fucks about maintainability

shame on an IGA
Apr 8, 2005

Get into shit, let it out like diarrhea
Got burnt once, that was only gonorrhea




Why can't maintenance department find ASM programmers for $25/hr

dervinosdoom
Jan 23, 2014




dxt posted:

Siemens is the biggest PLC I haven't played with. Not used often in the midwest.

There's definitely advantages to ladder, especially if it's something simple ladder is great for troubleshooting and easier to follow for people who don't code. Even if a project is mainly text I like to do things like run permissions in ladder.

The only experience I have with maple is trying to figure out how to dump a program onto a refurb HMI to replace one in the field that died. Wasn't easy to work with, but also it was a very old version, hopefully a lot better now.

Yeah,

I'm in the midwest and I have only 1 Siemens project. Everything else is AB, but of course I've seen all sorts of other brands IO and drives.

Newer versions of maple screens are better, still not great, but I like that they can talk to about drat near everything!

dxt
Mar 27, 2004
METAL DISCHARGE

shame on an IGA posted:

you'd probably hate Siemens, at least in our shop most everything is a mix of FBD and ST while literally all of the old stuff that's still running on S5 is 100% Instruction List

It's the choice of in-house machine build shops run by EEs who give zero fucks about maintainability

The thing to do when coding using ST is having well commented code that someone with experience should be able to follow along with having a robust HMI that can give maintenance/techs all the information/functions they need to troubleshoot the machine.

Instruction list sounds brutal though.

dervinosdoom
Jan 23, 2014




dxt posted:

The thing to do when coding using ST is having well commented code that someone with experience should be able to follow along with having a robust HMI that can give maintenance/techs all the information/functions they need to troubleshoot the machine.

Instruction list sounds brutal though.

Sadly i do not find robust HMIs in most places I go.

So I probably am a tech/engineer because i do go out and troubleshoot machines and also engineer new machines.

I like being on installs that i engineered and programmed, I know the code the best and can more easily answer questions.

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dxt
Mar 27, 2004
METAL DISCHARGE

dervinosdoom posted:

Sadly i do not find robust HMIs in most places I go.

So I probably am a tech/engineer because i do go out and troubleshoot machines and also engineer new machines.

I like being on installs that i engineered and programmed, I know the code the best and can more easily answer questions.

A lot of places skimp on HMIs or treat them as an afterthought, same with manuals. Definitely not best practice. I try to make them as useful as possible since I'm the one who's going to get a phone call to troubleshoot a machine I did 2 years ago that I don't remember anything about, the less I have to deal with that the better.

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