Industrial Automation?

I'm getting pretty tired of bullshit in IT and want to do something more hands-on. I've received several offers from companies that do PLC and industrial automation work in the automotive and manufacturing industries. What is this work like anons? Has anyone done it before?

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  1. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    It's the same IT bullshit except now you have to worry about microcontroller resourcing and electrical signals

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      From the people I've met so far, IA has much more of a based population working in it and I've yet to run into pajeets.

  2. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    I worked for 2 years, oil and gas, Siemens simatic and ABB 800xA, it's not bad, but depends on how good things are in the industry. Worked 95% of the time in the office and remaining in the Kazakhstan steppe.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      I've heard lots of travel involved, which is a bit of a turn off, but 2 or 3 companies I've talked to so far only do local work, could just be my area though.

  3. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    what salary?

  4. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    it is like programming in scratch (the kids thing) but there are lots of money involved

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      So lots of no code environments?

      I worked for 2 years, oil and gas, Siemens simatic and ABB 800xA, it's not bad, but depends on how good things are in the industry. Worked 95% of the time in the office and remaining in the Kazakhstan steppe.

      What do you do now, why did you leave, if you did?

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        >So lots of no code environments?
        it is code just with a limited instruction set and no compiler.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        >What do you do now, why did you leave, if you did?
        I'm a C++ software developer in another country now, I left because of stagnation in the industry at that time in KZ - "golden time" when customers were willing to pay more and invest into more projects was over.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Yeah, one of the most universal programming languages for PLCs is called LADDER.

      Adapted from when engineers would create purely electromechanical logic diagrams.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladder_logic

      If you want to learn this shit just get a Chinese siemens S7 224XP clone or a mitsubishi plc clone.

      The siemens clones use Step 7 Microwin (SP9) for programming (just pirate it), best run in a Windows XP environment for proper communication with the PLC.

      You can use an simple simulator to get started.

      I recommend getting a Siemens PLC (clone) as the programming software is much more user friendly than GK Works or whatever else Mitsubushi has.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Forgot to mention that you would need a special cable for Siemens ones.

        https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005005467568192.htm

  5. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Get used to answering overreacting brainlets with "have you tried turning it off and back on?"
    >>muh production numberinos!!!

  6. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    It's drudgery, but well-paying drudgery if you do field service work as a contractor. I've been to most of the nuclear plants in the country, for example. That world is just...bizarre.

    The vast majority of your work will be with Allen-Bradley (and sometimes Siemens) controllers. AB is notorious for zero backwards compatibility, so a lot of your work will be on legacy gear. The majority of your time will be spent fixing bugs in the HMI. The sexy stuff, like actually architecting the ladder logic and implementing the process into the PLCs, is rare, but it's definitely the most fun.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >bizarre
      care to elaborate?

  7. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    anon, looks like you got some good responses in here but be VERY careful about what company you end up joining. I left that world because the last job I was at I was forced to work 7 days a week, 14-16 hours a day, with no OT for about six months straight. All the companies that do install work are scammers from what I've seen, sometimes the maintenance bros that don't travel have it good, but they are practically on call 24/7 365. So that might not be your thing.

    The posts about no pajeets is a total lie, they are starting to break into the industry now too and it was my first experience of how bad indians are. They will claim they are better than you because they went to Malaka-Lakabad Technically Technical University for the Technically People, and try to plug 300v bus power into 24v field devices. As well as the average indian backstabbing in the office.

    The worst part though is the electricians. No company in the US hires american electricians, its always mexicans with 'dubious' skill. Most of the time they are rude, will attempt to power on the machinery you are working on without asking, pretend they don't speak english, yet somehow speak perfect english when they shit talk you to the sight foreman or manager.

    Everyone I've seen thats gone into the automation world either loves it, because work is their life and they can't imagine having free time to pursue hobbies or enjoy anything. Or they are stuck there because they have no way out and quickly develop alcoholism to cope. I got paid ok money but for the effort it just wasn't worth it. Like others said it will most likely be like your current IT job but now you work in a loud, hot, factory where having a folding chair is illegal (union rules). In most cases I worked at you weren't even working very hands on with anything, the electricians unions were the only ones allowed to have tools or actually physically work on anything. You basically are just a code monkey.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >union rules

      Reminds me of an old coal plant I went to. Weird place with weird rules--like a hick nuclear plant that has an extra chromosome. Holy frick was that place a thrill. And boy those big fellas get unpleasant if you threaten a union job.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Thanks anon, I have heard some horror stories, but there are so many firms in my area doing this work that I can probably shop around for a good fit. One company I did talk to though wanted me basically only home on weekends for 3-6 month stints while traveling with the builds, I turned it down.

      I've been talking to companies on and off and while this seems to be the norm, I have met a few that seem to have normal schedules, I just don't know what the work is fully like. I also personally haven't seen any jeets, but I do see some foreigners that make me question the safety, are these jobs really dangerous? I've worked in sketchy situations before, but there is so much red tape in the automotive world (a majority of the work seems to be in Ford and Chrysler plants for example) that I think I would be ok.

      I have a friend of a friend type connection where they own their own integrator firm and they told me travel would only be limited to stuff around my area, nothing out of state and OT is there if I want it, but not fully required unless its a huge commission crunch. They offered me a position, but I ultimately declined maybe a year ago due to a bunch of personal shit going on as well as being burned out from chasing contracts and whatnot in IT for the last 10 years, should I try to reach back out to them?

      It seems like it's a big switch, but all of the people I've met so far seem to be pretty based old white guys and I sort of miss this type of environment (I worked in manufacturing many years ago) where I don't have to deal with the onions shit like I do working in IT.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Yeah the work is that dangerous, at every plant I've been to (mostly automotive, GM/Ford, Tesla with the meme truck, Volvo, to name the most common) safety was just a suggestion while the site manager is around. Some work sites are better and thats generally the smaller jobs. Millwrights are generally bros that won't let you get hurt, very cool guys in general.

        Keep your eye on the electricians though. For some reason they think they are a genius for figuring out how to splice cables together and barely read an electrical diagram. So they will ignore you to your perile. They will also steal your tools, laptop, parts, anything not nailed down, then blame it on you. So be prepared to play fricking Sherlock Holmes tracking down your crates of parts all around the plant.

        The foreigner automation engineers you have to watch out for are unironically the Chinese the most, and then the Indians, and finally there are a few Mexican controls/automation guys. For some reason Mexican electricians are morons but the automation guys seem pretty good. The older guys are all old White guys and generally really chill and intelligent. Apparently the job used to be better for family life, but its getting hurt bad because not enough people want to take the jobs now.

        If you decide to go for those jobs, make sure to get that schedule in writing in the contract. I was stupid and trusted the boss, and then got stuck in without an escape hatch for a while.

        If you want to learn though, you can pick up some cheap but still industry standard PLCs and IO modules at automation direct DOT com, they are basically hardened Arduino microcontrollers with a slightly braindead programming "language" of ladder logic, but once you get your head wrapped around it it does click very fast.

        Good luck anon, if you do make the switch I hope you don't get hurt. Try to save a bit first to pay off some rent and bills in case you need to jump out.

  8. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    I do it in a mine in Australia. It's literally the farthest away from onions office environment you could ever imagine. On my first day my supervisor said if he ever got cancer he would get an AK, go to a trans rally and shoot them all, then kill himself. That was my first conversation with him.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Oh and also we are 99% white dudes and very rarely the odd asian since PajeetBlack folk thankfully see manual labour as below them.

  9. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    It's better to pick up C, microcontroller programmer (Atmel / PICs), and one subfield (audio/dsp, rtos, controls), also learn some software like Eagle or Spice.
    There's lots of work in the embedded world, though it doesn't pay as well as web stuff.
    PLC is extremely boring. At least with embedded dev/hardware design you get a bit more variety.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      From my experience, it's harder to find a competent PLC guy than a competent Atmel guy. It's one thing to get a code monkey to write ladder code, but a completely different one to get a guy who knows how to design failsafe logic and can tell the difference between a Pt100 and a K-type sensor.
      And DSP programming is very specific to a particular processor line so you might have to move far away to get that one single job in the whole country that requires a pro TigerSHARC developer.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Boring? I use a couple ControlLogix 5580s literally for my house.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        You are a world-class homosexual on the cutting edge of prostate stimulation technology.

        anon, looks like you got some good responses in here but be VERY careful about what company you end up joining. I left that world because the last job I was at I was forced to work 7 days a week, 14-16 hours a day, with no OT for about six months straight. All the companies that do install work are scammers from what I've seen, sometimes the maintenance bros that don't travel have it good, but they are practically on call 24/7 365. So that might not be your thing.

        The posts about no pajeets is a total lie, they are starting to break into the industry now too and it was my first experience of how bad indians are. They will claim they are better than you because they went to Malaka-Lakabad Technically Technical University for the Technically People, and try to plug 300v bus power into 24v field devices. As well as the average indian backstabbing in the office.

        The worst part though is the electricians. No company in the US hires american electricians, its always mexicans with 'dubious' skill. Most of the time they are rude, will attempt to power on the machinery you are working on without asking, pretend they don't speak english, yet somehow speak perfect english when they shit talk you to the sight foreman or manager.

        Everyone I've seen thats gone into the automation world either loves it, because work is their life and they can't imagine having free time to pursue hobbies or enjoy anything. Or they are stuck there because they have no way out and quickly develop alcoholism to cope. I got paid ok money but for the effort it just wasn't worth it. Like others said it will most likely be like your current IT job but now you work in a loud, hot, factory where having a folding chair is illegal (union rules). In most cases I worked at you weren't even working very hands on with anything, the electricians unions were the only ones allowed to have tools or actually physically work on anything. You basically are just a code monkey.

        OP is just another dung-covered jeet applying for every job posting he can find. Stop replying to these morons and they will go back to their call center.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        See

        If you're American sadly IA is going to be shit for you. Allen Bradley are complete dog shit. In Europe it's more interesting because you have more brands they tend to experiment or push better more morden systems.

        Ladder Logic needs to fricking go. Ladder Mutts seem to think a technician changing code and not versioning it is a valid form of maintenance.

        >"hurr durr, I'm going to learn PLCs"
        These are the words going through the head of every boomer before he decides that he ought to learn how to operate Allen Bradley products.
        Legacy companies managed by boomers still buy this shit, but it is objectively inferior in every way. It is one of the most insane things I witness daily, but it won't last for much longer.

  10. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >What is this work like anons?
    You'll work a lot with boomers, lots of Windows shareware kind of software, modern version control is unheard of etc.

    I guess to the right person it can be comfy. I couldn't handle it and went into Linux kernel dev.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >modern version control is unheard of
      That's the best part

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Yeah you go work there, you'll feel right at home. I'm glad to be gone.

  11. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    it depends a lot on where in the industry you're working. eg technology provider, machine builder / oem, system integrator, or end user.
    it means you could literally be working in clean rooms one week to in the middle of nowhere on a farm the next week, or traveling for months on end.
    even though it can be stressful trying to fix the problem that's costing a production line millions per hour, all in all it's fun and i enjoy the variation a lot.

  12. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Industrial settings hire Bubba and Jed to do this sort of work, the only people I've known to doing PLC/Instrumentation used to be heavy equipment operators/maintainers, or electricians. More emphasis was put on the things they were connecting than the panels/software.

  13. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    If you're American sadly IA is going to be shit for you. Allen Bradley are complete dog shit. In Europe it's more interesting because you have more brands they tend to experiment or push better more morden systems.

    Ladder Logic needs to fricking go. Ladder Mutts seem to think a technician changing code and not versioning it is a valid form of maintenance.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >it's more interesting because you have more brands they tend to experiment or push better more morden systems
      yea fun until the new hardware revision of some controller decides to shit the bed when the stars just align right, and you have to wait a year until the 3 boomer company found the issue (that obviously didnt even exist outside of your mind, since they dint change anything between their revisions)
      frick i'd rather stay on semens and a 30 year old instruction set for the rest of my live

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Wow another turbo idiot on /g pretending to understand industrial tech. Who would of thought?

  14. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Been there, done that.
    Pros:you have possibility to face and familiarize with LOTS of real world technologies. Dairy, beer, grain, oil..
    Cons. IT has bigger salaries,most of integtators specialize in one technology, so it gets boring with time.

    Development principles are bit different. You have switch mindset from event based logic to cyclic

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Forgot to add. There are little options to do qa, uat and other test shit. You have to learn to develop straight in prod. I really liked that

  15. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    I program software for industrial automation and it's all the most terrible, brittle shit imaginable.
    It's kind of comfy as the customers usually just want things to be done somehow and neither know nor give a shit about quality, so if they report a bug you can't be bothered to fix you can just come up with a moronic workaround and they'll put up with it.

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