OK guys here it is. I have been reading over a lot of these forums and there are so many questions out there about this kind of thing that I'm going to answer a few and see where it goes from here. I have been a journeymen for 10 years, had a great teacher show me how to do a lot of different things in the field after trade school, went to a ton of classes on all sorts of things and think I'm pretty good at this stuff (pat self on back). There are not very many of us left, I'm the youngest by about 20 years at the plant I work at.
1. What experience should I have?
I have never seen a machine shop yet that has only 1 type of controller. Most will have a few things run with a PLC (either Allen Bradley, Seimens or some other off brand that you have never heard of), depending on there size a few CNC's of course with different types of controllers (FANUC, Mitsubisi, Seimens or whatever) Plus as of 15 years ago a lot of Machine builders have windows running over another type or controller (Mazak, Mori Seiki, G & L) This is not something that you are going to walk in off of the street and know how to do, sorry! Each controller is different, each model year of the same companies controller is different and companies make different levels of each controller based on your machine builders needs. Most of these machines run between 150k for the very bottom of the line up to millions of dollars for the top (not including tooling and other add ons). These companies are willing to pay a lot of money to keep them running but you have to know what your doing!