AMT’s Controls Engineering Manager was featured in the July 2021 article “System integrators and hardware suppliers look at the mechanics of controls updates” by Wayne Labs of Food Engineering.
Terry Meister was recently interviewed by Wayne Labs, senior technical editor at Food Engineering, who asked how AMT provides updates to their end users. “Updates, unless they are safety updates, are left to the end user,” said Terry. “Most software updates on PLCs are for added features and simplicity, also to ensure it works with newer hardware versions.”
With that in mind, Terry finds that most of AMT’s customers want the same software revision on all systems in the plant if possible. “This allows them to standardize the software on laptops and for all their maintenance people and technicians. When an update is desired at a plant level, they will update the controls specification and role that out to any new projects.”
While having the customers update the software is the norm, not all customers have the means to do so. “If a customer does not have the resources to update the software and has reason to do so, AMT will have a technician go the plant and perform the work,” Terry said. “Having someone who is not a PLC programmer try to update the software is taking a risk. When done wrong, it has the potential to “brick” the processor.”
Regardless of who is performing the updates, AMT always recommends backing up a system before updating. “This is important on PCs, but a must on PLCs,” Terry said. “If anything happens to the PLC when it is updating (say you are downloading new firmware), you will want a backup. We never count on our backups or customers backups as being the latest and greatest. Always back up before updating.”
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