I’m an industry service engineer for food packaging machines instead of an automation specialist, however can provide few hints.
For many automation systems to function, you need to first possess a clear and detailed mechanical plan with all details finalized. If you achieve this, you should specify the sort of motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. This lets you know the number and kinds of motors and actuators you’ll need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).
For each and 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(much more conveyors, liquid tank level control pumps or rollers).Servo motors need Servo drivers to manage their precise movement.
These are generally your output devices, you’ll need your input devices being lay out. This is level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches along with other devices as required. The key reason why i’m stating out this routine is usually to enable you to define the specifications necessary for your control system hardware requirements. All PLC manufacturers layout their product line-up based on system complexity.
Most PLC hardware is sold as reconfigurable rack chassis. Basically you will find the CPU the actual master brain that is supplemented with I/O device which can be slotted in like cards. Additional complex systems which needs servo motor can have servo card 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 workout you IO devices list, then have the necessary hardware and software needed. You might need additional hardware necessary 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 may differ depending on different manufacturer offering specifically if you use beckhoff based systems. The best way to start is to develop existing machines so you educate yourself on the basics. Then go obtain a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand what the marketplace has to offer. It’s my job to suggest website visitors to go through Omron catalogues. They likewise have a totally free automation web based course that can show you the child 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 on the more knowledge about each bit of it technology, regarding how to program or properly connect them, but it is not nuclear physics, a good mechanical engineer should probably excel about this as any other engineer. The key element of control system design is usually to view the process you are likely to control along with the goals you wish to achieve.