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Advanced PLC Programming Books

I’ve finished searching for books on advanced Programmable Logic Controller programming.  Mainstream programming languages such as C, C++, Java, and C# have a plethora of advanced books.  However, I didn’t find much on advanced ladder logic.

The book that seems the closest to what I’m looking for is Cascading Logic: A Machine Control Methodology for Programmable Logic Controllers by Gary Kirchof.  I will be able to judge for myself soon, since a reasonably price copy is on its way to me.  (And hopefully I’ll have time to write a review soon.)

The second PLC book that impressed me is Programmable Logic Controllers: An Emphasis on Design and Application by Kelvin Erickson.  It’s meant as a college textbook, but it is pretty comprehensive (>1500 pages) and does have a heavy emphasis on real world techniques.  I couldn’t find it at a reasonable price, so I won’t be reviewing it.

I am surprised by how many PLC programming books are meant as textbooks; I’d say at least half are.  Also, I don’t think any book covers advanced Structured Text, although a book might devote a chapter to it.


1 Majid Pakdel { 11.24.13 at 10:38 pm }

You can find a very excellent book about advanced PLC programming from the following websites:

2 Tony { 11.25.13 at 4:19 pm }

Since I can’t read Persian, I can’t comment any further about the book.

3 Johnathan { 10.11.14 at 8:41 am }

Are these still the two books you would recommend, or three years later have you discovered newer different books that you would recommend for someone who wants to learn advanced PLC programming. I’m a Computer Engineering Technologist so I took some PLC programming while going to Post Secondary but I want to delve more into it even though my job currently doesn’t work with PLCs.

4 Tony { 10.11.14 at 9:09 am }


I now own both books. I have read and reviewed Cascading Logic, and I’ve started on PLCs by Erickson (although I probably won’t finish anytime soon). True, these are my only two PLC books, but I can strongly recommend both books.

They’re a little pricey, so it’s best if you can be a little patient and get one used (my strategy), or get your employer to pay. Also, PLCs by Erickson is typically substantially cheaper from his website than Amazon, etc.

Some more resources:
my PLC related posts, including links to free PLC simulators
PLC posts at Automation Primer
There are also PLC-related forum sites such as (going from memory here) and

I also recommend buying a PLC that has free software (e.g. Panasonic, some Automation Direct models) or that you can get the software for it. My PLCs are all Panasonic: a FP Sigma and a couple FP2’s.

5 Martin { 12.20.15 at 10:42 pm }

I would like to recommend this new book:
Programmable Logic Controllers: A Practical Approach to IEC 61131-3
by Dag Hanssen.
In fact, this is an English translation of a book that is now in it’s 4th edition in Norwegian.
The book is excellent. Hanssen gives a very thorough introduction to the programming languages of IEC 61131-3, but he is also able to bring you to a higher level through a lot of examples. He is also discussing state machines, which I think is excellent.

6 Tony { 12.21.15 at 2:55 pm }

Thanks for the comment. I’ll try to take a look at your recommended book, but it’ll probably be a while (due to time and money limitations). I’d also be interested if the book has good coverage of structured text; it’s an afterthought in most U.S. PLC books.

7 Request for PLC Information and Samples | AutomationPrimer { 03.27.16 at 9:12 am }

[…] friend Tony over on Factory Automation Software Blog has reviewed some books that come the closest, but so far they fall short in several areas. I […]

8 Tony { 04.14.16 at 11:02 am }

Thanks for your tip. I just received my copy of PLCs by Hanssen. I will have more to say later about it (and other PLC books), but after a quick glance, I would say it’s a good introductory textbook. If I were a professor, it’s likely I would use it. However, it is not an advanced book.

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