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Career in Industrial Automation, Programmable Logic Controls and Industrial HMIs.

Develop your career keeping in mind future Technologies Yes, it is, no doubt 'Data is Oil' for the future, those who develop their skills and associate themselves in professions like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Management, IoT and Blockchain will surely remain ahead in the industry. Being an electrical engineer, I would ask what about the basics and most conventional engineering, the Electrical? And the immediate branches Electronics and Industrial Automation. Many people believe that these are evergreen technologies and one needs to develop a very strong core concept before getting advance knowledge of the newest technologies to develop a never depleting professional career.

Thus, I would also believe that acquiring skills in Industrial Automation is a pathway to go and learn more about the newest data management technologies. Why industrial automation remains important We talk about intelligent data handling, managing, analyzing and cloud-based wireless transfer of data; However, the first thing is to fetch the data from the source. One of the important functions of Programmable Logic Controls (PLC) is to collect data from source via digital or analog hardwired lines, the PLC then execute different logic based on the industry-specific processes and then transfer the data to bigger intelligent data management devices.

This function and scope of PLCs is not going to be replaced in the near future. From Oil and Gas to Cement, Food Processing, Textile, Water Technologies, Steel, Automotive, Chemical, Power plants, etc., all kinds of industries heavily rely on different kinds and types of PLCs for their operation. Interested to know more about learning outcomes in Industrial Automation? Once engineers start learning these PLCs, it will polish their analytical and imagination skills, programmer needs to understand the process and then based on programming language of his choice, he needs to develop the logic, the most common programming languages are ladder logic (LD), Function Block Diagram (FBD), Sequential Function Charts (SFC), Structured Text (ST) etc.

Based on a number of devices connected in the process, suitable and compatible PLC hardware is selected; every manufacturer offers customized Central Processing Unit (CPU) for specific applications. In addition, there are different types of PLC designs e.g. standard PLCs, fail-safe PLCs, redundant PLCs etc. to cater to different ambient conditions. While doing communication with different devices, it helps engineer to learn different industry protocols and standards and their interfacing.

All logics and programs are incomplete without controlling and viewing, and this requirement is fulfilled through Human Machine Interface, there is usually separate software for HMI and it is not mandatory that in one project both PLC and HMI (industrial PC) comes from the same brand. In IPCs, you will get the opportunity to convey your process operation in the most convenient and eye-catching manner to the users.

It is also the medium to take the user input into the automated system. Way forward? Once you have accomplished good skills in PLC programming and HMI Software development, the next step is to go for big SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) projects, where the project involves a much larger number of devices to read and communicate. After designing some heavy SCADA projects, one is ready to continue in mastering skills towards Data management and analytics which we foresee the most opportunistic area in the future or can continue with its role in SCADA which itself has big industrial applications.

Who are Industry leaders in PLCs and HMI? There is an interesting story behind the invention of PLC, I would cut it short, it was Richard E. Morley who founded Bedford Associates and invented the first programmable logic controller or PLC with the brand name of MODICON which was later acquired by Schneider. Presently Siemens, Schneider, Allan Bradley are world-leading brands followed up by a number of companies who have their market share and presence in different parts of the world. Some brands are known for high-end specs and target for a premium segment like Oil and Gas, Pharmaceutical, Electronics manufacturing etc. How can you quickly enhance your skills in Industrial Automation? If you are doing a degree program then the university may offer theoretical and practical courses, usually, the universities have DEMO / Simulation hardware available in the Labs, the student can practice on these units.

In order to learn theory, one can access the number of tutorials available online but you eventually need practical hands-on experience to master the skills in programming. How Enercon Systems intend to help? Our country lacks optimum infrastructure in its rural and urban areas, while as part of the global village, every new technological invention is accessible to our industry. The major industries in the country are textile, Pharmaceutical, Automotive, Chemical, Cement, Steel etc., with the ever-increasing population of 200 million plus, we see positive growth in the industrial sector as more consumers to reach for power and other household needs. With intent to return back to our society, we have started our initiative by taking some time out of our busy schedule and design a course which helps young engineers to pursue their career in Industrial Automation.

We are not a training institute but a multinational industrial organization who originated from the United States and re-expanded from Singapore in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines and Myanmar, we work in Power plant controls where we design systems using different brand of PLCs to control Gas and Diesel Generators, we ensure that all power sources run together and share the load, these Generators run 24hours and dedicated operators do the monitoring of the system with Industrial Human Machine interfaces.

In some cases, we also do power management optimization, which means if the user has multiple sources like solar, Utility Grid, Generation through Gas / Diesel Generators/turbines, our system ensures that power is produced through most efficient, available and economical means. This all is done via the utilization of PLC as the brain and integrating different components and devices from various manufacturers for different applications. At Enercon Systems, we have the leverage to share our field knowledge with students as we specialize in customized integration and industrial automation solutions.

In addition to the basics, we offer practical hands-on learning experience where students get exposure to the completed real industrial projects for exercise and practice. Who can benefit from our Course? Engineering students, fresh graduates and early professionals and industries can benefit from our course if you want to know about our company and the course we offer, refer to our website (Imran Zafar is PEC registered professional Engineer, he is graduate from NED University Karachi, Pakistan in Electrical discipline. An active member of IEEEP Pakistan, He is serving as Director of Enercon Systems Pakistan and Country Manager for Enercon Asia Pte Ltd, Singapore in Pakistan.)
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Publication:Pakistan Engineering Review
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jan 24, 2020
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