- April 15, 2016
By: Bill Lydon, Editor
The IEC 61131-3 software standard is being used worldwide to train industrial automation programmers and BE.services has created an interactive online learning program to help future programmers master the skills.
By: Bill Lydon, Editor, Automation.com
The IEC 61131-3 software standard is being used worldwide to train industrial automation programmers and BE.services has created an interactive online learning program to help future programmers master the skills. I had the opportunity to learn more about the new new course from BE. Services’ Dimitri Philippe, Founder & CEO, and Dr. Kenneth Ryan, Director of Education and primary developer of the course materials.
The Learning Management System is called BE.educated, a Software as a Service (SaaS) product, allowing users to access the course material on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Be.educated is currently offered in both German and English,
As there are a large number of products from many vendors that conform to the IEC 61131-3 programming standard as noted on the PLCopen website member listing , users that learn IEC 61131-3 functions and syntax can transition to using offerings from any vendor, and vendors can provide their own Integrated Design Environment software. The first IEC 61131-3 course offering from BE.Services is based on 3S-Smart Software Solutions GmbH, CODESYS software design environment, however, they intend to keep adding online training programs based on the different vendors’ IEC 61131-3 software design environments.
Learning process The learning process consists of teaching theory, demonstration in the software, online quizzes, and online exercises and students that successfully finish the program earn certificates. Dr. Ryan, the prime developer of materials, has deep and broad experience in the field. His background includes being one of the founders of the Center for Applied Mechatronics at Alexandria Technical and Community College in Alexandria, Minnesota. He founded the first PLCopen-certified, university-based IEC 61131-3 curriculum and training center in North America (one of only four such centers globally) and he has taught IEC 61131-1 programming skills to hundreds of professionals at companies like Eaton, Bosch Rexroth, Danaher, Parker, Yaskawa, Liebherr and Hyundai Motor Company.
The IEC 61131-3 and CODESYS training program leaves nothing out, starting with an introduction to the IEC 61131 standard and progressively guiding students through all the necessary skills to become competent automation programmers. The structure of the program allows new technicians and engineers to start at the basics and the online, self-paced nature can allow experienced people to use it to focus on specific skill sets they need to be more effective. The IEC 61131-3 program has 47 modules totaling 45 hours of instruction, including:
- IEC 61131 Standard Basics
- CODESYS Fundamentals
- IEC 61131 Language Usage
- Structured Text (ST), Instruction List (IL), Continuous Function Chart (CFC), Ladder Diagram (LD), Function Block Diagram (FBD); Sequential Function Chart (SFC)
- Structuring Projects
- Visualization (Integrated HMI)
- Industrial Communications Configuration
- Off-line and Online Monitoring & Debugging
The BE.services platform SaaS incorporates features that can be used by an individual user, and by company engineering and training managers. These managers can schedule sessions, monitor the progress of the team, and incorporate the ability to run instructor-led training online. The training system provides certificates if the student has a composite score of 75% or more, and companies adopting the training program can set their own desired score requirements.
The BE. services learning concept uses a variety of information to keep the student focused. A mix of theory and practice is followed by quizzes to control learning efficiency
To further illustrate the need for programs like BE.educated’s new IEC 61131-3 course, Philippe cited a number of advantages that he feels has driven e-learning to become over a $56 billion industry with rapid growth, including:
- Optimization of timing – no need to block a full day or week to get training done.
- Personalized Training – students learn only the modules they need without going through the whole program.
- Self-paced – students learn at their own pace not at the pay is the slowest member of the group.
- Monitoring of activities – tracking of the learning progress, tests, and certificates allow measuring the learning activities.
- Standardization – consistent training is delivered all students.
Learn more about the BE.educated program and methods:
- The advantages of e-learning vs traditional training for automation engineers.
- Video preview of BE.educated and the IEC 61131-3 / CODESYS training course
- LinkedIn article by Dimitri Phillipe
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