I’m an area service engineer for food packaging machines and never an automation specialist, on the other hand can give you few hints.
For all automation systems to work, you need to first have a very clear and detailed mechanical plan effortlessly details finalized. When you achieve this, you should specify the type of motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. Each day know the number and types of motors and actuators you’ll need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).
For every motors you might 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 manage their precise movement.
These are your output devices, you will need your input devices to get set out. This could be level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches and also other devices if required. The reason why i’m stating out this routine would be to permit you to define the specifications needed for your control system hardware requirements. All PLC manufacturers layout their product line-up based on system complexity.
Most PLC hardware comes as reconfigurable rack chassis. Basically there is a CPU which is the master brain that is supplemented with I/O device that could be slotted in like cards. Additional complex systems which needs servo motor will 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 exercise you IO devices list, then obtain the necessary software and hardware needed. You may need additional hardware needed for for fancy touchscreen HMI, line automation and internet-based diagnostic and asset monitoring functions. That’s that the guy with mechanical background can approach complex automation problems.
The solutions varies determined by different manufacturer offering specifically if you use beckhoff based systems. A great way to start can be to work on existing machines so you educate yourself on the basics. Go get yourself a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand what the market industry provides. I always suggest individuals to go through Omron catalogues. They likewise have a free automation web based course which will show you the newborn steps needed.
You have to be able to design complete PLC systems: architecture design, hardware specfications and selection, logic narratives, logic programming, connection drawings. Everything. Perhaps you simply need extra training around the information each piece of it technology, regarding how to program or properly connect them, yet it’s not brain surgery, an excellent mechanical engineer should probably excel about this just like any other engineer. The most crucial facet of control system design is to understand the process you will control along with the goals you need to achieve.