Learning PLC Programming Online in 2020: Programming Languages Types

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We can all agree that understanding and learning everything about the programmable logic controller is highly essential and challenging. Therefore, it is vital to know how to start and which programming language you should learn first.

Generally, you can find numerous programming languages that you can use for creating particular PLC programs. Most of them require specific software made for the brand of controller you are using.

Learning all of them is the first step you should take towards becoming a professional programmer. At the same time, you will be able to implement and create the perfect programs that will handle the industrial applications you wish to work on.

Therefore, before finding the proper PLC Training, you need to conduct comprehensive research so that you can determine which language is the best to start with.

Different Types of PLC Programming Languages

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If we consider IEC or Electro-technical Commission standard, we can easily classify programming languages for PLCs into five different types:

  • Ladder Logic
  • Structured Text
  • Instruction List
  • Sequential Function Chart
  • Function Block Diagram

It is vital to remember that all of them come with international acceptance, which is an important factor you need to consider. However, ladder logic is the most commonly used in the industry due to numerous factors you will learn in the further text.

We decided to present you with a basic guide on all languages that we have mentioned above.

  1. Ladder Logic

Ladder logic or ladder diagram is the most common solution that you can use to program PLCs with ease. The main reason for its popularity is the convenience and simplicity when compared with other types that you can choose. 

Generally, it appears similar to an electric circuit diagram, which makes it appealing for engineers and technicians because the transition is much more convenient than other languages.

Benefits of Ladder Logic

  • It comes with specific programming symbols that come with particular actions you can easily remember
  • You will get convenient logic construction as well as a highly reliable solution when compared with other languages that you can use for PLCs
  • Simple to read and learn 
  • Convenient for troubleshooting
  • A similar representation that you can use for discrete logic
  • You will be able to shut it down without using hardware devices including switch or plug
  1. Instruction List

When compared with ladder logic, you will be able to use the Instruction List as well to handle different programming actions. Generally, it uses mnemonic code, which features the syntax inside so that you can remember it without any additional hassle.

When compared with other types, you will know that the AB brand tends to use strictly this particular language, which makes it stand out from other brands you can find on the market.

Benefits of Instruction List

  • It requires less memory than other programming languages that you can use
  • High execution speed
  • Simple to remember
  1. Structured Text
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We have to start by saying that this particular language uses high-end syntax for the operation, which makes it appealing for some programmers and people that transitioned from PC programming. 

At the same time, the syntax comes with conditions, variables, loops, and operators, depending on the program you wish to execute. That way, you will reduce the hassle and increase the overall effectiveness of the controlling system within the industrial settings.

Advantages of Structured Text

  • When compared with other choices that you can use for programming PLCs, this particular one is highly convenient for understanding for both professionals and beginners.
  • Since it features the standard coding format, it is simple to modify and edit it to prevent troubleshooting issues that may happen
  1. Function Block Diagram

The first thing you should know about the function block diagram is its similarity with ladder logic, especially when it comes to writing it from scratch. It uses boxes that feature a wide array of lines and codes that you can put inside the particular function you wish to create.

As you can see, it is graphical language so that you can create a vivid and compelling PLC execution, especially if you wish to create a particular system that will handle the operations all across the factory.

Advantages of Function Block Diagram

  • Since it is graphical, you can rest assured, because it is simple to program and understand when compared with other types that you can use for PLC programming purposes. Keep in mind that you do not have to be an expert in specific textual languages and algorithms to handle the control with ease.
  • The best thing about it is the ability to reuse the function blocks throughout the program. Since you can make the separate copies each time you call them, you will be able to reduce the time spent overwriting by reusing the same block over and over again, which is not something you will get with structured text.
  • Since you can find numerous multiple processor-based systems, you will be able to execute parallel functions simultaneously with ease. You can easily represent the parallel logic, which is not something you will get with textual languages. 
  1. Sequential Function Charts

Finally, we have to mention the sequential function chart, which is another graphical language that does not use texts and syntax to handle the programming process. 

It is a popular solution because you can accurately provide the control requirements so that you can prevent the further hassle.

You may click here to know more about this particular programming language.

Advantages of Sequential Function Charts

  • The first benefit of this particular language is the ability to understand it with ease. It comes with the ability to visualize the entire process, especially when you start with the simulation of the procedure you wish to implement. 
  • The general effectiveness of it is to create active parts during the execution. The best thing about it is the ability to troubleshoot it in real-time in case something happens so that you can prevent downtime.

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