In the group of specialists from the automation industry, there are certain rules that are not written down. They are only repeated in playful forms and transmitted verbally. I would like to quote a few rules and sayings here.
The automation specialist never says “I cannot do it, I don’t know how to do it”. If the automation specialist doesn’t know, he will find out – because the automation specialist knows how to find out!
Of course, as automation specialists, we can not knowing something and don’t know how to do something. This is all about having a solid foundation to learn something in a quick way. By analog, we are able to recognize the problem, diagnose the cause and suggest the solution. In the first contact with the control systems, we can have an impression that it exceeds our competences and capabilities. In spite of anxiety and fears, these are very good emotions that come from… technical instinct. However, it doesn’t mean that we have to be scared of the topic/problem, wring our hands in despair and say “I can’t do it”. Automation specialist can almost always manage with everything. The only issue is the right approach to solving the problem. We have to keep common sense and approach to work with humility to unknown control systems. Self-confidence is not recommendable because it can be the main reason for later defects and problems. We have to often spend many hours, days or even weeks for the precise analysis of the project, completing documentation, arrangements with clients. Only when we know the system well, we can get ready for modifications and modernizations. However, we CAN NOT underestimate the exact tests of the system after implemented changes. It is necessary to predict and check the system behavior, even in the most absurd situations.
Mistakes and anomalies that appear after the customer has received the object!
Where does it come from? Most often, we are not able to check everything in the workshop or on the desk of a PLC programmer. Each object has its own rights and it has to integrate with everything before it starts to work. Many, if not every, irregularities will be detected by the operators of the object. For us, the automation specialists, some operations that are performed by people using our objects would never come to mind. Therefore, it’s said that the PLC/HMI program, or the object itself, must be immune to ignorance.
Things I will not test, will not work!
This is a very good rule. Sometimes, in the routine tests work, for instance, for control cabinet, it happens to forget about something. Sometimes we’ll not check any function because of the laziness or because there weren’t any problems before. Then we go to the project, install the cabinet, run the control system and…? Failure! The things, you haven’t checked during work, aren’t working now. Time is chasing, you’re far away from home, the investor stands over your shoulder because he had to stop the production, etc. Still, you could check it earlier, couldn’t you?
It’s not worth saving money!
At least, not on equipment, tools and devices in automation. Material saving in our industry come back just like a boomerang – in the form of multiplied costs. During analyzing the offer, we choose the contactor A instead of B, because A is 4times cheaper. The thing is that after finished work by contactor A, everything is falling down after three months. After the each service visit, there is lack of any improvement. Sometimes it can happen that, due to the lack of their competence, something will be damaged again. It happens in the way, that the object is streamlined by the local maintenance specialists. This rule also applies to low-cost and disposable devices and tools. It’s better to invest in everything at the beginning.