Mastering the Machine Workshops

The Mastering the Machine Workshops are a series of lectures and hands-on lab exercises with the goal of training students on system integration, design, and programming in industrial automation.

In last week’s post, the process of learning industrial automation skills was described using an image showing how basic skills lead to more advanced ones. These workshops will provide training on different topics using hardware and software at my training facility in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Students will each receive a copy of my Maintenance and Troubleshooting book and one or more of my PLC Programming books. They will also have full access to my tools and equipment, and may also purchase or bring their own components to build their system.

Students will use techniques learned in the class to design and build their own automated system either physically or virtually. They may build a small control panel with a PLC or other controller and use it to control a model or lights, or use software to simulate a full system. This can form the base of a platform they can use for further study.

This first set of workshops will be held Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm, students may sign up for 1 or all 10 days. Attendees will be limited to five for any of the days.


This is a current list of topics to be covered, subject to change.

o Electricity and Electronics

o Schematics

o Electrical CAD

o Microprocessors

o Panel Fabrication

o Maintenance

o Overview


o Tools & Techniques

o Troubleshooting Overview

o Mechanical

o Motors

o Fluid Power

o Mechanisms & Actuators

o Communications

o Serial

o Ethernet


o Networks (Profi, Eth/IP, Modbus)

o Sensors

o Analog/Digital

o Instrumentation

o P&ID

o Data and Numbering Systems

o Decimal

o Hexadecimal/Octal


o Machine Safety

o Regulations, Standards

o Dual Channel Circuits

o Motion Control

o Servos

o Encoders/HSC

o Robotics

o Industries

o Machine Control

o Process Control

o PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers)

o Multi-Platform/Structure

o Automation Direct

o Allen-Bradley

o Siemens

o Beckhoff

o Omron

o PID Control

o HMIs

o Allen-Bradley

o Weinview/Weintek

o WinCC

o Beckhoff

o Advanced HMI


o Machine Vision

o Overview

o Cognex

o Keyence

o Machine Design

o I/O Lists

o Timing Charts

o Applications/Proposals

o OEE and Lean/Six Sigma

Since this is the first such event I have held, it is unknown what guest lecturers or training hardware may be here. One thing I can promise though: You will learn something new! This is an ideal opportunity for people who want to learn advanced material. I have been designing industrial systems and programming for almost thirty years, and can cover any of the topics in the curriculum extensively. This is also a good opportunity for experienced engineers or trainers to learn advanced techniques.

Contact me, Frank Lamb, at for more information.


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