By Clarence Klassen
There are a lot of problems dealing with the software used to program drives and drive controllers. It seems I have spent 40 hours this past month installing and re-installing this control software on my notebook PC.
Most industrial software runs on Windows© operating system. This is complicated by the various versions of Windows and the firmware version of the drive being controlled.
For one job, the software was written in the 11980’s and would only run correctly in a virtual machine loaded with DOS. Even in the virtual machine, things were not quite perfect and communications with the drive were lost at the most inopportune times.
A separate current version of the software had issues in communicating with the drive with a fairly new Windows version. It was necessary to get an updated driver that was compatible.
One day my communications software stopped communicating with a drive controller. Re-installing this driver did not solve the problem. Downloading a completely new version of the driver and installing it re-established communications. I do not know what happened to break an installation that had worked well for the past month.
During the month, my computer lost the license for some industrial software. The same thing happened with a colleague. The help desk provided a fresh license.
The industry is not doing much to help in the area of quick software installations that work the first time. It takes perseverance. A lot of time is spent watching computers reboot, not knowing if the problem will be solved this time. The web helps find solutions. A lot of time spent doing what I consider unproductive work.