I’m a field service engineer for food packaging machines rather than an automation specialist, however can provide you with few hints.
For all those automation systems to work, you should first have a clear and detailed mechanical plan effortlessly details finalized. If you do this, you have to specify the motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. This lets you know the number and kinds of motors and actuators you may need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).
For every motors you may want relay contactors (for single speed discrete/on-off type motors like blower fans and liquid pumps), VFD for speed controllable ac 3-phase motors(a lot more like conveyors, liquid tank level control pumps or rollers).Servo motors need Servo drivers to control their precise movement.
They’re your output devices, you’ll need your input devices to get lay out. This is often level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches as well as other devices if required. The reason why i’m stating out this routine is usually to let you define the specifications needed 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 will find the CPU which is the master brain that is supplemented with I/O device that may be slotted in like cards. Additional complex systems which needs servo motor will have servo card to get in touch 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 workout you IO devices list, then have the necessary software and hardware needed. You will need additional hardware required for for fancy touch screen HMI, line automation and online diagnostic and asset monitoring functions. That’s what sort of guy with mechanical background can approach complex automation problems.
The solutions could differ depending on different manufacturer offering particularly if you use beckhoff based systems. A great way to start may be to develop existing machines so that you learn the basics. Then go get yourself a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand industry can give. I suggest visitors to go through Omron catalogues. Next to your skin a free of charge automation online course which will coach 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 additional training around the specifics of every bit of kit, concerning how to program or properly connect them, but it is not too difficult, a fantastic mechanical engineer should probably excel on this every other engineer. The key element of control system design is usually to see the process you are likely to control and the goals you want to achieve.