Book Review: Cascading Logic
Cascading Logic: A Machine Control Methodology for Programmable Logic Controllers by Gary Kirckof, P.E., published by the ISA.
My rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
Summary: A good but imperfect book
Cascading Logic is a unique book: it is the only intermediate level PLC programming book that I found (I have not found any advanced PLC books).Â Sometime I should discuss why I think there are so few intermediate and advanced books (basically, PLC market size and fragmentation), but here is what I expect for each level:
- Beginner book: an overview of PLC programming, and some discussion on how to do tasks.
- Intermediate book:Â how to put a complete PLC program together and why you should do things a certain way (best practices).
- Advanced book: how to write the best PLC program, tips and tricks, covers advanced applications such as motion control, interfacing to advanced sensors (such as machine vision), analog I/O, and using advanced PLC instructions.
At $89 for a 206-page book, Cascading Logic is not a good value (unless you can find it used for a decent price), but it is still very much worth reading if you program PLCs professionally.
So what do I think?
- It’s the only PLC book I found which covers how you should program a PLC (the best practices of PLC programming).
- It’s not for beginners (in PLC programming or automation); a beginner would have a hard time following the examples.
- The book is well written overall, but the style is terse.
- The book builds on concepts to show a pretty complete program that covers most areas needed for a real machine (including operation, startup, errors, maintenance) and how to write code that canÂ be easily understood and updated.
- The examples are too narrowly focused on automotive assembly machines; automation is a very broad field.Â My PLC usage has nothing in common with the author’s examples.
- The book only uses basic PLC instructions that all PLC have.Â Overall, this is a plus, since it makes the book applicable to all PLCs, and thus a good starting point for any PLC programmer.
- The book only covers basic systems with pneumatics, binary sensors,Â and clutched motors.
I’m very glad I bought the book.Â I have a lot of thoughts on PLC and PC automation programming, but I need to finish a series or two first…