I’m an area service engineer for food packaging machines and never an automation specialist, on the other hand can present you with few hints.
For all those automation systems to be effective, you have to first have a very clear and detailed mechanical plan with all details finalized. If you do this, you should specify the motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. Each day be aware of number and types of motors and actuators you need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).
For each motors you may 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(more like 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 being put down. This can be level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches and also other devices as needed. The main reason i’m stating out this routine is usually 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 comes as reconfigurable rack chassis. Basically there is a CPU the master brain which is supplemented with I/O device which 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 workout you IO devices list, then obtain the necessary software and hardware needed. You may want additional hardware needed for for fancy touchscreen technology HMI, line automation an internet-based diagnostic and asset monitoring functions. That’s that the guy with mechanical background can approach complex automation problems.
The solutions varies depending on different manufacturer offering especially if you use beckhoff based systems. A great way to start will be to work with existing machines so that you can study the basics. Go get a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand what the marketplace is offering. I suggest individuals to go through Omron catalogues. There is also a totally free automation online course that may teach you the baby steps needed.
You ought 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 on the specifics of every bit of apparatus, concerning how to program or properly connect them, however it is not too difficult, a great mechanical engineer should probably excel with this as any other engineer. The most important facet of control system design is usually to see the process you are likely to control and also the goals you wish to achieve.