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I’m a field service engineer for food packaging machines instead of an automation specialist, however i can provide few hints.

For those automation systems to be effective, you need to first have a very clear and detailed mechanical plan effortlessly details finalized. Whenever you do so, you must specify the type of motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. This allows you to understand the number and kinds of motors and actuators you’ll need(servo, ac single phase, ac 3 phase, pneumatic actuator).

For every motors you may want 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.

These are your output devices, then you need your input devices being put down. This could be level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches and other devices as required. The reason i’m stating out this routine is usually 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 you have the CPU the master brain that’s supplemented with I/O device that may be slotted in like cards. Additional complex systems which needs servo motor will 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 workout you IO devices list, then have the necessary hardware and software needed. You may want additional hardware necessary for for fancy touch screen HMI, line automation an internet-based diagnostic and asset monitoring functions. That’s that the guy with mechanical background can approach complex automation problems.

The solutions varies based on different manufacturer offering particularly if you use beckhoff based systems. A great way to start can be to focus on existing machines so that you educate yourself on the basics. Then go have a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand what the market industry has to offer. I usually suggest website visitors to go through Omron catalogues. Next to your skin a totally free automation web based course that can show you the infant steps needed.

You should 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 extra training around the specifics of each piece of equipment, on how to program or properly connect them, but it’s not nuclear physics, a good mechanical engineer should probably excel with this because other engineer. The key facet of control system design is to understand the process you are going to control as well as the goals you need to achieve.

Doug Wilcox

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