I’m an industry service engineer for food packaging machines rather than an automation specialist, but i can provide few hints.
For many automation systems to be effective, you must first have a clear and detailed mechanical plan effortlessly details finalized. When you achieve this, you should specify the sort of motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. This allows you to have in mind the number and kinds of motors and actuators you may need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).
For each and 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(more like conveyors, liquid tank level control pumps or rollers).Servo motors need Servo drivers to regulate their precise movement.
These are generally your output devices, then you need your input devices to get put down. This can be level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches as well as other devices if required. The key reason why i’m stating out this routine is usually to enable you to define the specifications essential for your control system hardware requirements. All PLC manufacturers layout their product line-up according to system complexity.
Most PLC hardware comes as reconfigurable rack chassis. Basically there is an CPU the master brain that’s supplemented with I/O device which can be slotted in like cards. Additional complex systems which needs servo motor could have servo card to connect 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 work out you IO devices list, then have the necessary hardware and software needed. You will need additional hardware necessary for for fancy touchscreen display 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 according to different manufacturer offering particularly if use beckhoff based systems. The best way to start can be to work on existing machines so you study the basics. Go obtain a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand what industry is offering. It’s my job to suggest visitors to go through Omron catalogues. They also have a no cost automation online course which will coach you on the newborn steps needed.
You need to be capable of design complete PLC systems: architecture design, hardware specfications and selection, logic narratives, logic programming, connection drawings. Everything. Perhaps you just need some additional training around the information every bit of kit, on the way to program or properly connect them, yet it’s not too difficult, an excellent mechanical engineer should probably excel with this every other engineer. The most important facet of control system design is always to understand the process you’re going to control as well as the goals you would like to achieve.