I’m an industry service engineer for food packaging machines and not an automation specialist, however can provide few hints.
For those automation systems to function, you should first possess a clear and detailed mechanical plan wonderful details finalized. When you achieve this, you have to specify the sort of motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. This lets you be aware of number and types of motors and actuators you will need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).
Per motors you will 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 manage their precise movement.
These are generally your output devices, then you need your input devices to become lay out. This can be level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches along with other devices when needed. The reason why i’m stating out this routine is to enable you to define the specifications needed 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 which is master brain which is supplemented with I/O device that may be slotted in like cards. Additional complex systems which needs servo motor can 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 get the necessary hardware and software needed. You might need additional hardware essential for for fancy touchscreen display 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 may vary according to different manufacturer offering particularly if use beckhoff based systems. A great way to start may be to develop existing machines so that you will learn the basics. Then go have a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand the market has to offer. I suggest individuals to go through Omron catalogues. There is also a free automation web based course that may show you the infant steps needed.
You ought to be able 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 for the more knowledge about every bit of it technology, regarding how to program or properly connect them, but it is not rocket science, a fantastic mechanical engineer should probably excel on this because other engineer. The most crucial facet of control system design is always to view the process you’re going to control as well as the goals you need to achieve.