I’m an area service engineer for food packaging machines instead of an automation specialist, however can give you few hints.
For all automation systems to function, you have to first have a clear and detailed mechanical plan effortlessly details finalized. Whenever you do this, you should specify the sort of motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. This lets you know the number and kinds of motors and actuators you 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(much more conveyors, liquid tank level control pumps or rollers).Servo motors need Servo drivers to control their precise movement.
They’re your output devices, you will need your input devices to become set out. This is level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches and also other devices as needed. The main reason i’m stating out this routine is always to let you define the specifications necessary for your control system hardware requirements. All PLC manufacturers layout their product line-up depending on system complexity.
Most PLC hardware is sold as reconfigurable rack chassis. Basically you will find the CPU the actual master brain that’s supplemented with I/O device that can be slotted in like cards. Additional complex systems which needs servo motor may 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 figure out you IO devices list, then have the necessary hardware and software needed. You may need additional hardware required for for fancy touch screen HMI, line automation and online diagnostic and asset monitoring functions. That’s that the guy with mechanical background can approach complex automation problems.
The solutions could differ determined by different manufacturer offering especially if you use beckhoff based systems. The best way to start can be to develop existing machines so you learn the basics. Go get yourself a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand what industry provides. It’s my job to suggest individuals to go through Omron catalogues. There is also a free of charge automation online course which will teach you the baby steps needed.
You have 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 to additional training for the details of every bit of kit, on how to program or properly connect them, but it is not rocket science, an excellent mechanical engineer should probably excel for this every other engineer. The main facet of control system design is always to view the process you’re going to control along with the goals you want to achieve.