I’m an area service engineer for food packaging machines and never an automation specialist, however can give you few hints.
For many automation systems to be effective, you should first have a clear and detailed mechanical plan effortlessly details finalized. Once you accomplish that, you should specify the sort of motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. This lets you have in mind the number and types of motors and actuators you need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).
For each and 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.
These are your output devices, you will need your input devices to become put down. This could be level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches and also other devices as needed. The reason why i’m stating out this routine is always to let you define the specifications required for your control system hardware requirements. All PLC manufacturers layout their product line-up determined by system complexity.
Most PLC hardware comes as reconfigurable rack chassis. Basically there is an CPU the master brain that’s supplemented with I/O device that may 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 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 online diagnostic and asset monitoring functions. That’s the way a guy with mechanical background can approach complex automation problems.
The solutions varies based on different manufacturer offering particularly if use beckhoff based systems. A good way to start is to work on existing machines so that you learn the basics. Go get yourself a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand the market industry is offering. I suggest visitors to go through Omron catalogues. There is also a no cost automation web based course that can teach you the infant steps needed.
You should 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 some additional training for the specifics of each bit of apparatus, concerning how to program or properly connect them, but it’s not nuclear physics, a good mechanical engineer should probably excel on this as any other engineer. The main facet of control system design would be to comprehend the process you’re going to control and the goals you want to achieve.