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I’m an area service engineer for food packaging machines and never an automation specialist, however can provide few hints.

For all automation systems to function, you need to first use a clear and detailed mechanical plan effortlessly details finalized. If you do this, you have to specify the kind of motions involved, e.g.: linear or rotary. This allows you to know the number and types of motors and actuators you will 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 manage their precise movement.

These are your output devices, then you need your input devices to get put down. This is level sensors, flow sensors, proximity switches along with other devices as needed. The main reason i’m stating out this routine is always to let you define the specifications necessary for your control system hardware requirements. All PLC manufacturers layout their product line-up determined by system complexity.

Most PLC hardware is sold as reconfigurable rack chassis. Basically there is a CPU the master brain that is supplemented with I/O device that could be slotted in like cards. Additional complex systems which needs servo motor will 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 have the necessary software and hardware needed. You may need additional hardware essential for for fancy touchscreen display 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 varies according to different manufacturer offering specifically if you use beckhoff based systems. The best way to start may be to focus on existing machines so that you will learn the basics. Then go obtain a few catalogs from reputable manufacturers to understand the market provides. I suggest website visitors to go through Omron catalogues. They likewise have a totally free automation online course that can teach you the infant steps needed.

You have to be able to design complete PLC systems: architecture design, hardware specfications and selection, logic narratives, logic programming, connection drawings. Everything. Perhaps you simply need additional training on the details of every bit of equipment, on how to program or properly connect them, however it is not too difficult, a fantastic mechanical engineer should probably excel with this every other engineer. The most important element of control system design is to see the process you will control along with the goals you wish to achieve.

Doug Wilcox

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