A Tale of Three Students

Pre-Covid class

As I approach the one year anniversary of the tornado and the onset of Covid-19, I can’t help but think of how my training approach has changed.

Automation Training classes have been few and much smaller, and of course they are “socially distanced”, so the most students I have had at a time for the past year has been six.

Because I need to fill my time when I am not working on the Automation Academy or doing systems integration, I can take on one student at a time. What I have found interesting is that the last three students I have had are not exactly PLC students at all. but more of “system integration” students. Two are building their own automated systems and one is from a plant where he is in charge of rebuilding/finishing a machine.

While we certainly have covered PLC and HMI programming, a lot of other topics and skills have had to be included. Electrical design, sensors, panel fabrication and safety are just a few of these.

I find it interesting that the members of the Automation Academy have also pointed me more in the systems integration direction, yet if I look for system integration classes online I don’t find any.

Does that mean there is an unfilled niche for this type of training?

I hope so, I am certainly set up to do it, and the Academy seems to be headed that way also.

By the way, a shout out to the three students:

  • Lucas: Designing a dust collection control system and building/programming everything himself. Lucas will be a guest on the next Mastering the Machine webinar talking about his system.
  • Stephen: Programming and rebuilding an assembly machine for his company.
  • Sam: Designing and building a filling system.

Hit me up if you need this type of training or anything else related to machine building, system integration or controls. I have been doing this since the early 1990s and can help you improve your skills.

And the Automation Academy is a very inexpensive way to brush up on your skills also! there are videos on five different PLC platforms, downloadable software and files, and a community where you can discuss industrial automation topics and get help!


Electrical Engineer and business owner from the Nashville, Tennessee area. I also play music, Chess and Go.