I’m an area service engineer for food packaging machines rather than an automation specialist, however i can provide few hints.
For many automation systems to be effective, you need to first have a clear and detailed mechanical plan with all of details finalized. When you accomplish that, you have to specify the type of motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. This allows you to understand the number and types of motors and actuators you will need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).
Per 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 manipulate their precise movement.
They’re your output devices, you will want your input devices to get set out. This is 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 allow you to define the specifications essential 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 you will find the CPU the actual master brain which is supplemented with I/O device that may be slotted in like cards. Additional complex systems which needs servo motor will have servo card for connecting 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 hardware and software needed. You will need additional hardware required for for fancy touchscreen display HMI, line automation an internet-based diagnostic and asset monitoring functions. That’s the way a guy with mechanical background can approach complex automation problems.
The solutions could differ depending on different manufacturer offering particularly if use beckhoff based systems. A good way to start is to develop existing machines so you educate yourself on the basics. Go get yourself a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand what the marketplace provides. I always suggest website visitors to go through Omron catalogues. They likewise have a free of charge automation online course that will coach you on the baby steps needed.
You should be able to design complete PLC systems: architecture design, hardware specfications and selection, logic narratives, logic programming, connection drawings. Everything. Perhaps you just need extra training about the specifics of every piece of apparatus, on the way to program or properly connect them, but it’s not brain surgery, an excellent mechanical engineer should probably excel with this just like any other engineer. The most crucial facet of control system design is to comprehend the process you are going to control along with the goals you need to achieve.