Training Workshops
Always Free for SME members, US Veterans and SME students
Interested in attending?
Join our Meetup Group to receive notifications when we announce new workshop dates!
November 9, 2018
May 2019
3 days, 5 hours per day
Locations Available
Online (Audit Only) Dallas-Fort Worth
Certificate Partner
Training Materials

PLC Foundations

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) are a staple of manufacturing operations of every kind. PLCs are specialized industrial computers that control everything from a single robot to massive assembly lines and even entire plants. PLCs use a variety of programming languages - the most popular being Ladder Diagrams. Understanding how PLCs work and how to interact with them is crucial for the modern manufacturing engineer and technical student.


  • Programming experience in another language is helpful, but not required.

Pre-Workshop Checklist

  • Bring a laptop computer running Microsoft Windows. Unfortunately, for this workshop, macOS and Linux laptops will not work.


Day 1

We will dive right in to how PLCs work, their major internal elements, their common industrial applications, safety guidelines and some common troubleshooting pointers. Participants will each be supplied with an actual PLC to interact with throughout the workshop.

Day 2

This day will start with some preliminaries around reading PLC Ladder Diagrams. Afterwards, we will start learning how to program PLCs using Ladder Diagrams. Fundamental PLC instructions will be presented.

Day 3

This day is a journey into more advanced PLC instructions, addressing and topics. HMI programming will be introduced and studied in detail.


Why should I attend?

Manufacturing is changing rapidly. Very rapidly. Workshops are carefully chosen, developed and periodically updated with content directly corresponding to evolving industry needs. If you are a student, these skills sets can give you an edge in the job marketplace. If you are a manufacturing professional, these workshops are designed to help you grow in your career.

How does this workshop compare to online courses like those found on Udemy, Coursera, edX and others?

We offer a more physical, peer-based and individualized approach to learning. Although the Internet is ubiquitous nowadays, manufacturing and engineering are still very face-to-face and physical team-based. Our workshops are designed to be small so participants can collaborate to solve challenging problems and build professional relationships - just like you will find out in industry.

Some of our workshops even use real, physical hardware which is crucial sometimes for understanding industrial technology.

That said, although we cannot vouch for any online courses, there is nothing inherently bad in participating in those programs. In fact, they can be a good way to supplement your knowledge further!

How much does this workshop cost?

For current SME members, US Veterans and students, the workshops are free. For non-SME members, there may be a fee associated with the workshop (the fee varies with the type of workshop).

If you are a student, but not a SME student member, you are may also participate for free!

Really. What's the catch?

No catch. The overall goal of the SME Virtual Network is to narrow the skills gap. Freely available industry-driven training is essential to achieving that goal. More than that, these workshops provide an opportunity to connect with your peers and build lifelong industry relationships.

Is there a No-Show Policy?

Currently, we do not have an official policy. However, if we start to encounter substantial amounts of no-shows, we will have to implement one.

If you register for a workshop, please try to attend every day. Not doing so potentially deprives another student or professional of a workshop seat that could have been utilized.

When will this workshop be offered? Where will the workshop be held? Where can I register?

Please join our Meetup Group for workshop announcements! You will be able to register there when workshops open up.

How "hands-on" is this workshop?

Very. The only way to learn advanced manufacturing and engineering technology is to learn-by-doing. We realize that so we strive to divide up workshops into 15-30 minute lecture segments and between those segments the class is challenged to work on actual projects. Besides, no one wants to sit in a classroom all day to hear someone talk the whole time.

How many seats are available?

For the physical workshop session, there is strict maximum of 10 seats available. This allows workshop instructors the time to individually assist workshop participants with questions.

If you will be joining us virtually, there is no seat limit.

Please join the waitlist if the workshop is full and you are interested. A spot might open up! We also use the amount of people on the waitlist as a gauge on how quickly we should run a workshop again.

Will hardware be provided to workshop attendees?

Yes. The SME Virtual Network will supply all of the necessary hardware and cables. You are only responsible for bringing the items in the Pre-Workshop Checklist (if applicable).

Will the written materials be available after the workshop ends?

Yes. In fact, all workshop materials will be be open-sourced and permissively licensed on our GitHub Organization. You can also help us fix bugs and suggest improvements for subsequent workshops!

Will food and drink be provided during each workshop day?

Yes. At the very least, light refreshments will be available for the workshop participants.

Is a workshop completion certificate provided?

Yes. As long as you attend and participate physically in every day of the workshop, you will receive a Certificate certified by the workshop partner. At this time, certificates are only issued for workshop participants that can attend the physical sessions.

Can non-SME members participate?

Yes, and we would love for you to join us! However, at this time, we are prioritizing SME members, US Veterans and students for the physical, certificate workshops. The good news is that we broadcast all workshops publicly on our YouTube Channel and you may join us at anytime there.

What does "Audit Only" mean?

Audit Only means that you can work along with the class, access all of the training materials and even participate in the discussions (via our Discord Chat Server, for example), but we do not offer a certificate to virtual workshop participants at this time.

What does "ETA" mean?

Estimated Time of Arrival. Some workshops are being developed for the first time while others are undergoing significant updates per the feedback of past workshop participants and/or suggestions from our industry or educational partners. While those updates are happening, there is an estimated time when the workshop will be offered again.

For workshops that are indicated "Available Now", please join our Meetup Group to see when the next workshop session will be offered.