How to Troubleshoot PLC Problems Remotely?

PLC problems do not mean doomsday. You will be glad to learn that many of them require very little. The best thing is, you will be able to solve them remotely with the help of a remote technician. Let’s examine five common PLC problems, and I will walk you through the process of solving them quickly and easily. 

1. Power Outages

PLC power outages can be a real headache, in particular, if they result in data losses. To ensure your PLC won’t shut down because of a power failure, you can either install a backup power source that kicks in immediately on the onset of a power outage. Alternatively, you have the option of using batteries within your PLC, which power the system long enough for you to shut it down correctly. Checks if everything is done correctly before startup require an expert who knows what might go wrong.

2. Communication Breakdown

On some occasions, the communication between your PLC and surrounding devices breaks down. With PLCs reliant on smart equipment and peripherals, ensuring the connections, including the Ethernet, cables, and WIFI, are stable and secure, is crucial.

The best way to prevent a related break in PLC function is to schedule regular inspections and services. Doing so will cut out any potential downtime due to this PLC issue. Have your technician check and maintain all your connections, making sure that the entire chain of devices is functioning well. It may also be necessary to install firmware patches to sure up the communication between the devices.

3. Input/Output Module System Failure

PLCs commonly produce input/output module system failures, meaning a disconnect occurs between what the PLC’s internal system is indicating and what is happening externally. In such an event, you must first identify whether the issue lies within the PLC or whether the disconnect is down to the physical I/O modules.

Check out the relationship between the PLC program’s instructions and the external Input/Output modules. Once you’ve established the source of the disconnect, isolate the relevant I/O module, and use a program monitoring device to examine the internal status of the problematic module. If the process is risky to start up: find a second opinion, you better think twice.

4. Downtime due to Electrical Noise

PLCs are susceptible to interference from electric noise originating from electromagnetic or radio signals. Both types of interference have the potential to derail the function and curtail the longevity of a PLC. If the PLC is operating close to a similar machine or a powerful motor, electromagnetic interference emerges as a likely issue. Electrical storms also pose a significant risk as do handheld transmitters and antennas.

This common PLC problem can be mitigated through the improvement of grounding, power conditioning, and shielding. Problems like these can occur both incidentally and frequently.

5. Memory Failures

Power outages and electromagnetic interference can cause PLC memory failure. To prevent such an issue, it is best to create and maintain regular backups on devices away from the PLC. Backup devices require safe storage away from humidity, heat, and interference. Without backups, you lose valuable information.

Limitations of Consequences

These are the most common PLC issues. To limit the effects, I repeat it again: make regular back-ups. Note down the date to estimate the possible changes in the interim period. Without a start from the current situation, the outcome is always unclear, even with the help of the best expert.  Record login details and make them clear and available to authorized persons.

Final thoughts:

As an asset owner, you have to make risk assessments, inform your employees what the risks and consequences might be. Make a back-up plan in advance to have a better overview of the possibilities.

As an expert, you need to know what the risks of your actions are, think twice, as all goes wrong you have to explain your actions and the way you handled the risks.

In most cases: find help, a quick fix can cause damage and time delays. Even if you are the expert, a second opinion can alert you to a problem you may have overlooked. Online help is easy these days just call into a remote technician from SupportPoints. They are on standby to come to your rescue.

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