28537 - Control System Engineering and Technology T

Academic Year 2022/2023

  • Docente: Andrea Tilli
  • Credits: 9
  • SSD: ING-INF/04
  • Language: Italian
  • Moduli: Andrea Tilli (Modulo 1) Andrea Tilli (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Automation Engineering (cod. 9217)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the Course, the students have to know the basics of engineering and technology of modern industrial control and automation systems. In particular:

- typical architectures of industrial control and automation systems;

- main components of industrial control and automation system (sensors, actuators, control units, interface electronics, communication systems);

- basics of "logic control": automata definition, software tools and standards to implement control and automation.

Beside, the students have to achieve the following capabilities:

- to design and develop "logic control" for medium-complexity applications;

- to carry out a preliminary design of analog/digital electronics for sensor signals acquisition.

Course contents

The Course can be divided in two main areas:

- architectures and components of industrial control and automation systems;

- automata for industrial control and automation ("logic control"): software tools and standards for their development and implementation.

In the first area, hardware architectures of control and automation systems are briefly introduced, mapping the “functional schemes” (from Automatic Control theory and properly widen) 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 development of automation sequences (discrete events - "logic control") are presented. The design and the SW implementation of automation sequences according to the IEC61131-3 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 development tool (Integrated Development Environment - IDE) 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, characteristics.
    Most common sensors for automation:
    Temperature: termocouples, RTD.
    Electric current: resistive shunt, TA, Hall-effect based.
    Position/speed: resolver, encoder, LVDT.
    Strain: strain gauges.
  • Interface electronics:
    Differential and instrumentation amplifiers. Multiplexer and Sample/Hold. A/D D/A converters.
    Simple acquisition chains for analog sensors: examples and exercises.
  • Introduction to hardware platforms for automation-oriented computation:
    Industrial PC; Microcontrollers and DSP. PLC. Industrial PC.
  • Software infrastructures for automation and control:
    Introduction to real-time system for control applications;
    Execution model.
  • Common control units in automation:
    embedded vs. industrial controllers (PLC, DCS).
    Common functional/technological architectures for process and manufacturing industries.
    A few details on PLC.
  • Logic control: operating sequences of plant and machines.
    General design concepts - functional design: abstractions and high expressivity.
    IEC-61131-3. Its SW languages. Focus on Sequential Function Chart (SFC - good abstraction and expressivity) and its execution model on PLC.
    Development tool for design and simulation (IDE): Codesys.
    Examples and exercises on the development of logic control.
    Logic control design methodology based on the Generalized Actuators (GA)
    Presentation of the projects to be prepared for the exam.
  • Basics of communication systems in automation: Fielduses.
  • Addition subjects (not requested for the exam): for these parts teaching material will be given (and recorded lessons, if possible, but no standard lessons will be be taught):
    1) Relevant actuators for automation: electric drives. Basics, electric motor types and control techniques classification. Selection procedure.
    2) Basics of Motion Control systems. Basic concepts and architectures and PLC-Open programming standard.

(Some of the contents could be revised)


Material given by the instructor, available on Virtuale (copies of the slides, a few handwritten notes, instructions for the exam and the interaction with the instructor, material for the projects, examples of questions and exercises, etc.).
In order to download such material, students are expected to have this course in their study plan or to use "self-enrolment" option.This self enrolment is password protected. The password will be given by the instructor in the first class of the course. Students not attending such class are recommended to ask for the password to classmates or by an email to the instructor, reporting name, surname, university code and adding the tag [ITSC-pwd] in the subject.
Students are recommended to join the course on Virtuale as soon as possible and check out that webpage regularly, to download the material and to receive messages about the course sent by the instructor. These messages are fundamental for the course and the instructor will assume that all of the students are receiving them (no excuses will be accepted).  
The adopted slides are in English, mainly. Some of the material is in Italian. The lessons and the exams will be in Italian.
As reported in Teaching methods, it is essential for students to integrate the material with their own notes. 



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 spent to introduce a development tool (IDE - Codesys) to design logic control of automation systems according to IEC61131-3 languages. In these classes, some exercise will be presented for student assisted practice, therefore students wil be requested to use their own laptops. Currently, no access to computer labs is foreseen, but it cannot be excluded. Therefore, according to UniBO safety rules, the attendance of the following e-learning modules is advisable: Moduli 1 e 2 di formazione sulla sicurezza nei luoghi di studio, [https://elearning-sicurezza.unibo.it/] (please, contact UniBo administration office for English versions of such courses).

Some parts of the course and exercises are presented only by using the blackboard. In addition, for the parts covered by the teaching material, some additional data and comments are given during the classes. Because of that, students are recommended to take their own notes or to ask for notes to classmates, who are attending classes.
In the most critical pandemic period, thanks to some new computer infrastructures, pdfs of what written during the classes have been made available to the students (and lesson recordings, as well). However, the students are recommended to their own notes or to ask for notes to classmates (two main motivations: 1) likely, after the most critical pandemic period, lesson recordings and lesson "virtual board" pdfs will be no longer available; 2) despite the above mentioned extra aids, student notes, taken during classes, are crucial).

IMPORTANT: For any communication to the instructor, students are requested to use email (no Virtuale messages - Virtuale will be used by the instructor only, to reach out to all of the students, no Teams messages, etc.). In addition, students are requested to put the tag [ITSC-T] in the email subject, otherwise the email might be lost. Also, it is needed to put the course tutor in cc, as well as other people according to what requested by instructor during classes or what reported in the instruction file in Virtuale.  
Please, pay attention to what reported in Readings/Bibliography about the subscription to Virtuale, in order to able to receive messages from the instructor (and to download the teaching material).



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 one exercise:
- the exercise concerns the interface electronics to acquire sensor signals; 

2. Presentation of a logic control project to handle the automation 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.

Important: in order to do the exam parts it is MANDATORY to be registered in the exam session lists in Almaesami, by the closing date of the specific lists. No exceptions will be possible (also for the logic control project presentation, all of the group members are requested to be registered in the list, otherwise the whole group will be cancelled out). Students are expected to pay much attention to their registration in the exam lists and the related deadlines. 
Some messages might be sent to the list of Students registered for a particular exam session (in particular, after the closing of the list). These messages are fundamental for the exam arrangement (they include some mandatory instructions), therefore Students are recommended to read them carefully.

Further important information (in italian) in a specific document in Virtuale. Students are asked to read very carefully such document. The rules reported in such document are mandatory (for the definition of logic control project groups, for the confirmation of the final mark, etc.).

Teaching tools

PC and Videoprojector for presentations.

A development tool (IDE) is adopted to design and simulate logic control applications.

Office hours

See the website of Andrea Tilli


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This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.