We do a lot of machine( CNC ) relocation's and I am looking for some training on backing up all different kinds of PLC's and drivers. Is this something you could do? We don't need to know how to fix or trouble shoot at this time just how to back up and obtain a program for it.
The process is simple, implementation in your situation can be a nightmare and costly. (If you can’t have in-plant maintenance to do it for you.)
The PLC Program Backup process:
1. Plug into the PLC or PAC with your laptop. 2. Go online with the PLC or PAC. 3. From the top left pull-down menu, select [File], then [Save As] 4. Take note what folder in the computer you save the file to, so when restoring, you can find the correct PLC program to put back in the PLC or PAC.
1. Plug into the PLC or PAC with your laptop. 2. Navigate to the file on your laptop you previously saved before the move. Open it. 3. From the pull-down menu, find and select [Download] 4. Put PLC back in the “Run” mode.
TIP: After backing up the program, replace PLC or PAC battery. (If this can be done without powering down PLC, and often if you just do it quick enough, the program won’t be lost.) But you always back up the PLC program before replacing the battery, just in case something goes wrong during that process. If the machine runs fine after you replace the PLC battery, odds are it will retain the program during the entire move of the CNC. Saving you the time of restoring the program after the move of the machine.
So the above is the good news in my reply, now for why the actual implementation in your scenario, of moving multiple CNCs with “different kinds [brands] of PLCs” can be a nightmare and costly. (If you don’t get plant maintenance to do it for you.)
1. Each brand of PLC or PAC have their own unique software and way to navigate to functions of getting online with the PLC and of download backup copy of PLC program to PLC.
2. So you will have to get familiar with multiple brands of PLC software.
3. You will need to purchase software for each PLC brand, and with some brands, a separate PLC or PAC software for model series within that brand. Each software package can cost from $300 to $8000 !!
(So for example one CNC PLC is AB SLC500, you need RSLogix 500 software $4,000, another CNC has a PAC RSLogix 5,000, that an additional $6,000, another CNC has a Fanuc PLC (GE Series 90-70 PLC, maybe PACSystems RX3i, etc.) another couple thousand, etc.) If you have 30 CNCs, it is feasible you may need 50,000 – 100,000 in software just to back up copies of all of them. If you have plant maintenance backup and restore them all, the odds are they were doing that already and already own copies of all the required software. Plus you need to have CNC's NC software and copy those programs too! (some CNC NC operator interface will have option to copy both NC program and PLC Program. Older ones wont.)
4. You may need unique proprietary cables to connect to PLC and PACs. If so, they can cost around $200 each. Luckily most PLC, PACs use a standard RS232 or Ethernet cable for only $20. (Maintenance would already have those cables too.)
5. Each brand/model may have their own unique idiosyncrasies with software and hardware, that you would have to learn either ahead of time (like we teach them about in our AB/Rockwell PLC training. Things PLC OEMs are hesitant to point out. ), or the school of hard knocks and costly way.
TIP2: PACs (Process Automation Controllers) are good candidates for process control of CNCs because they have built in motion control. With the newer CNCs in a plant, it is more likely you will find a PAC controlling instead of a PLC. So when you are moving an entire plant, that fact makes it even more important you clearly understand the difference between a PLC and a PAC!