I’m a field service engineer for food packaging machines instead of an automation specialist, on the other hand can give you few hints.
For those automation systems to work, you should first use a clear and detailed mechanical plan effortlessly details finalized. Whenever you accomplish that, you need to specify the sort of motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. This lets you be aware of number and kinds of motors and actuators you need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).
Per motors you may 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(similar to conveyors, liquid tank level control pumps or rollers).Servo motors need Servo drivers to control their precise movement.
These are generally your output devices, you will need your input devices to get set out. This is often level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches and also other devices as needed. The key reason why i’m stating out this routine is usually to allow you to define the specifications essential for your control system hardware requirements. All PLC manufacturers layout their product line-up based on system complexity.
Most PLC hardware is sold as reconfigurable rack chassis. Basically there is a CPU the actual master brain which is supplemented with I/O device that can be slotted in like cards. Additional complex systems which needs servo motor may 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 exercise you IO devices list, then get the necessary software and hardware needed. You may need additional hardware needed for for fancy touch screen HMI, line automation an internet-based diagnostic and asset monitoring functions. That’s the way a guy with mechanical background can approach complex automation problems.
The solutions may differ depending on different manufacturer offering especially if you use beckhoff based systems. A sensible way to start can be to work with existing machines so you learn the basics. Then go get yourself a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand the marketplace provides. I suggest individuals to go through Omron catalogues. There is also a free automation web based course which will coach you on the baby steps needed.
You have to be capable to design complete PLC systems: architecture design, hardware specfications and selection, logic narratives, logic programming, connection drawings. Everything. Perhaps you simply need extra training for the details of every piece of apparatus, regarding how to program or properly connect them, but it’s not brain surgery, a fantastic mechanical engineer should probably excel for this just like any other engineer. The main part of control system design is usually to see the process you will control along with the goals you wish to achieve.