I’m an industry service engineer for food packaging machines rather than an automation specialist, however can present you with few hints.
For those automation systems to function, you have to first use a clear and detailed mechanical plan effortlessly details finalized. Whenever you achieve this, you must specify the kind of motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. This lets you know the number and kinds of motors and actuators you may need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).
Per 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(a lot more like conveyors, liquid tank level control pumps or rollers).Servo motors need Servo drivers to regulate their precise movement.
They’re your output devices, you’ll need your input devices to get set out. This is level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches along with other devices as needed. The reason i’m stating out this routine would be to let you define the specifications essential 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 you have the CPU which is master brain that is supplemented with I/O device which can be slotted in like cards. Additional complex systems which needs servo motor could have servo card in order 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 work out you IO devices list, then have the necessary software and hardware needed. You may want additional hardware needed for for fancy touchscreen display HMI, line automation and internet based diagnostic and asset monitoring functions. That’s how a guy with mechanical background can approach complex automation problems.
The solutions may differ depending on different manufacturer offering especially if you use beckhoff based systems. A sensible way to start will be to focus on existing machines so that you will discover the basics. Then go get yourself a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand the market industry can give. I suggest visitors to go through Omron catalogues. There is also a free of charge automation online course that will educate you on the child steps needed.
You have to be capable to design complete PLC systems: architecture design, hardware specfications and selection, logic narratives, logic programming, connection drawings. Everything. Perhaps you just need to additional training on the information every bit of it technology, on the way to program or properly connect them, yet it’s not too difficult, a fantastic mechanical engineer should probably excel with this every other engineer. The key element of control system design is always to comprehend the process you’re going to control as well as the goals you wish to achieve.