Back to Basics

Aug. 4, 2010
It's That Time of the Year. Time to Get Back to the Books. Back to School Time Is Here
By Katherine Bonfante, Managing Editor, Digital Media

Ahh! Can you smell it? Yes, the smell of brand-new notebooks, books, backpacks and other school supplies. When I was young, shopping for back-to-school supplies was one of my favorite times. Today, I might be too old for this type of shopping spree, but one is never too old to go back to school and learn a bit more.

Soon the alarm clocks will be going off, children will be rushing to catch schoolbuses, and backpacks will return home with worn-out books and endless assignments. But for you, the grown-up pupil, what does "back to school" mean? Your preparation for it might not require a shopping spree. Your school could just be you and a manual or computer screen. But, no matter what, this is the time of the year to refresh your skills and learn a few new ones. is here to help you.

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If you are looking for an in-person, on-demand, or online live training class, stop by our training center ( and research the classes we offer there.

Just next month, there is the safety compliance seminar, "Designing for Safety Compliance in Industrial Control Panels," by UL University ( Sign up for this class and learn how to construct general use of industrial control panels, as well as establishing short-circuit ratings for individual industrial control panels in accordance with the Standard for Industrial Control Panels, UL 508A, 1st Edition.

For those who want to learn more about PLC training, I recommend reading Columnist Jeremy Pollard's article, "Back to the Books: PLC Easy Reader" ( This article takes a look at a book written a few years back by Dr. Kelvin Erickson, Programmable Logic Controllers: An Emphasis on Design and Application. The book talks about a trend happening in the industry: the movement toward using the IEC 61131-3 standard. Read the article and see Pollard's analysis of the book, learn more about the IEC 61131 standard, its languages, the application of the languages and the standard's major benefits.

Keeping up with technological advances can be difficult. Every month, new devices, procedures, software updates or equipment gets introduced into the market. Learning and mastering new technologies take time, and industry professionals question when the right time to learn new skills is. If you are interested in learning object-based programming, consult our experts. Read our article, "Should I Learn Object-Based Programming?" and learn about the advantages and downsides of becoming functional in object-based programming. Read this article at and find out how difficult or trouble-free learning object-based programming could be.

Back to school with can be fun, and  it's free. We can't offer you the new-school-supplies smell, but we have endless machine builder knowledge.