I’m an area service engineer for food packaging machines instead of an automation specialist, but i can provide few hints.
For all automation systems to be effective, you must first possess a clear and detailed mechanical plan with all details finalized. If you achieve this, you need to specify the motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. Each day be aware of number and types of motors and actuators you will 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 regulate their precise movement.
They’re your output devices, then you need your input devices being lay out. This could be level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches as well as other devices when needed. The main reason 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 according to system complexity.
Most PLC hardware comes as reconfigurable rack chassis. Basically you have the CPU 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 needed for for fancy touchscreen technology HMI, line automation and internet-based diagnostic and asset monitoring functions. That’s how a guy with mechanical background can approach complex automation problems.
The solutions varies depending on different manufacturer offering particularly if you use beckhoff based systems. A sensible way to start can be to work with existing machines so that you learn the basics. Then go get yourself a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand what the marketplace can give. I usually suggest website visitors to go through Omron catalogues. They likewise have a free of charge automation web based course which will show you the newborn 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 all you need is extra training for the details of 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 on this as any other engineer. The most crucial aspect of control system design is to see the process you are likely to control and also the goals you need to achieve.