28556 - Control Systems Technologies

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Moduli: Christian Conficoni (Modulo 1) Matteo Cacciari (Modulo 2) Matteo Sartini (Modulo 3)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2) Traditional lectures (Modulo 3)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Automation Engineering (cod. 9217)

Learning outcomes

Structure and use of the main hw/sw tools for control systems in automation (PLC,....). Introduction to the design of automation sw.

Course contents

The Course can be divided in two main areas:

- architectures and components of industrial control and automation systems;

- software tools and standards to implement industrial control and automation.

In the first area, hardware architectures of control and automation systems are briefly introduced, mapping the classical “functional schemes” of the Automatic Control theory in “technological schemes”. Afterwards, the main classes of devices used in control and automation are introduced. For each class some components are considered, enlightening selection and sizing criteria.

As far as the second area is concerned, the main issues related to the software implementation of control algorithms (continuous events) and automation sequences (discrete events) are presented. The design and the SW implementation of automation sequences according to the IEC61131 standard is deeply analyzed. Particular attention is paid to the implementation on PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers), which are a standard-de-facto in automation systems. By means of a CAD tool for design and simulation of automation sequences, many examples are presented to the students. This is also instrumental for the students to carry out the automation sequence design for a specific plant, as required to take the examination.

Detailed list of arguments:

- Technological architecture of control systems.

- Transducers: definitions, classification (sensors and actuators), characteristics.

- Most common sensors for autiomation.

Position: potenziometer, resolver, encoder.

Speed: encoder, resolver, dynamo.

Strain, Force and Pressure: strain gauges.

Temperature: termocouples, RTD

Electric current: resistive shunt, Hall-effect based.

- Interface electronics:

Differential and instrumentation amplifiers. Multiplexer and Sample/Hold. A/D D/A converters.

- Introduction to digital control unit in automation

Microcontrollers and DSP. PLC. Industrial PC.

- Software for control and automation

Introduction to real-time system for control applications

Automation sequences for plant and machines

General criteria for automation and control SW design. IEC-61131.

Automation sequence design. Examples. CAD tool for automation sofware design and simulation.

Brief introduction to advanced design methodology for automation software

- Brief introduction to communication systems in automation

- An important kind of actuators for automation: electric drives

Main features of electric drives, different electric motors and control algorithms.

Introduction to motion control. Choice of typology and size of an electric drive depending on the motion task.

- Introduction to Motion Control Systems

Basics and architectures

A standard for programming


Material provided by the teachers.


Bonivento, Gentili, Paoli "Sistemi di automazione industriale - Architetture e controllo" McGraw-Hill, ISBN 88-386-6440-4 (In Italian; recommended, but not mandatory; the part on sensors and interfacing electronics is not covered in this book)

Bonfatti, Monari, Sampieri "IEC 1131-3 Programming Methodology" CJ International (For further details on logic control and PLC programming).

Teaching methods

Traditional classes, supported by PC presentations.

Some classes are used to introduce a CAD tool to design logic control of automation systems according to IEC61131-3 languages.

Some parts of the course and exercises are developed only by using the blackboard

Assessment methods

Examination is composed by three parts, the first and the second are mandatory, while the third is optional:

1. Written examination (3.5 hours long) with some open questions with "short" answers and two exercises:

- the first concerns the interface electronics to acquire sensor signals;

- the second concerns the choice of typology and size of electric drives;

2. Presentation of an automation software project to control a specific plant (each project can be carried out by groups with three students at most)

3. Oral examination with some deep questions on the subject of the Course.

Further important information are provided in a specific document uploaded on the same platform containing the course slides. Students are asked to read it very carefully.

Office hours

See the website of Christian Conficoni

See the website of Matteo Cacciari

See the website of Matteo Sartini