I’m a field service engineer for food packaging machines rather than an automation specialist, but i can provide few hints.
For all those automation systems to be effective, you must first have a clear and detailed mechanical plan with all details finalized. Whenever you do so, you should specify the sort of motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. Each day be aware of number and types of motors and actuators you’ll need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).
For every 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(a lot more like conveyors, liquid tank level control pumps or rollers).Servo motors need Servo drivers to manipulate their precise movement.
These are generally your output devices, you will want your input devices to be set out. This is often level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches and other devices as needed. The reason i’m stating out this routine is always to permit 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 there is an CPU the master brain which is supplemented with I/O device that can be slotted in like cards. Additional complex systems which needs servo motor can 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 receive the necessary hardware and software needed. You will need additional hardware essential for for fancy touchscreen HMI, line automation and internet-based diagnostic and asset monitoring functions. That’s what sort of guy with mechanical background can approach complex automation problems.
The solutions could differ determined by different manufacturer offering especially if you use beckhoff based systems. The best way to start is to focus on existing machines so that you educate yourself on the basics. Go have a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand the market industry can give. It’s my job to suggest visitors to go through Omron catalogues. They also have a totally free automation web based course that can teach you the infant steps needed.
You have to be capable of 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 specifics of every piece of kit, on how to program or properly connect them, but it’s not nuclear physics, a great mechanical engineer should probably excel about this every other engineer. The most important facet of control system design is usually to comprehend the process you are likely to control and also the goals you need to achieve.