I’m an area service engineer for food packaging machines instead of an automation specialist, but i can present you with few hints.
For all automation systems to work, you should first have a clear and detailed mechanical plan wonderful details finalized. Whenever you do so, you must specify the type of motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. This enables you to know the number and types of motors and actuators you need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).
For each motors you will need relay contactors (for single speed discrete/on-off type motors like blower fans and liquid pumps), VFD for speed controllable ac 3-phase motors(much more conveyors, liquid tank level control pumps or rollers).Servo motors need Servo drivers to regulate their precise movement.
They are your output devices, you will need your input devices to be lay out. This can be level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches along with other devices as required. The main reason i’m stating out this routine is to let you define the specifications essential for your control system hardware requirements. All PLC manufacturers layout their product line-up depending on system complexity.
Most PLC hardware is sold as reconfigurable rack chassis. Basically you have the CPU the master brain which can be supplemented with I/O device that may be slotted in like cards. Additional complex systems which needs servo motor will have servo card for connecting with servo driver, communication bus cards like CAN-BUS, PROFIBUS and DEVICENET and sensor cards for special sensors like RTD temperature sensors and level sensors.
So figure out you IO devices list, then obtain the necessary software and hardware needed. You may want additional hardware needed for for fancy touchscreen technology HMI, line automation and internet based diagnostic and asset monitoring functions. That’s the way a guy with mechanical background can approach complex automation problems.
The solutions could differ according to different manufacturer offering particularly if you use beckhoff based systems. A good way to start will be to work on existing machines so that you discover the basics. Go obtain a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand the marketplace has to offer. It’s my job to suggest visitors to go through Omron catalogues. Next to your skin a no cost automation online course that will educate you on the infant steps needed.
You ought to be in a position to design complete PLC systems: architecture design, hardware specfications and selection, logic narratives, logic programming, connection drawings. Everything. Perhaps you simply need some additional training around the details of every bit of apparatus, on the way to program or properly connect them, but it is not nuclear physics, an excellent mechanical engineer should probably excel for this every other engineer. The main facet of control system design is to understand the process you are going to control and the goals you wish to achieve.