I’m a field service engineer for food packaging machines and not an automation specialist, but i can provide few hints.
For all those automation systems to work, you need to first have a clear and detailed mechanical plan wonderful details finalized. When you accomplish that, you have to specify the motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. This allows you to have in mind the number and types of motors and actuators you will need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).
For each 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(similar to conveyors, liquid tank level control pumps or rollers).Servo motors need Servo drivers to manipulate their precise movement.
These are generally your output devices, you’ll need your input devices to get determined. This can be level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches along with other devices as needed. The key reason why i’m stating out this routine is usually 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 is sold as reconfigurable rack chassis. Basically there is an CPU which is the master brain which can be 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 workout you IO devices list, then obtain the necessary hardware and software needed. You will need additional hardware needed for for fancy touchscreen display HMI, line automation and online 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 specifically if you use beckhoff based systems. A good way to start may be to focus on existing machines so that you will learn the basics. Go get yourself a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand industry is offering. It’s my job to suggest individuals to go through Omron catalogues. They likewise have a totally free automation web based course that can teach you the baby steps needed.
You ought to be able to design complete PLC systems: architecture design, hardware specfications and selection, logic narratives, logic programming, connection drawings. Everything. Perhaps all you need is some additional training about the more knowledge about every piece of apparatus, on the way to program or properly connect them, but it is not brain surgery, a great mechanical engineer should probably excel with this as any other engineer. The most crucial facet of control system design is usually to understand the process you will control along with the goals you need to achieve.