28537 - Control System Engineering and Technology T

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Academic Year 2021/2022

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);

- software tools and standards to implement control and automation.

Beside, the students have to achieve the following capabilities:

- to design and develop automation software for medium-complexity applications;

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

- to choose typology and size of electric drives for motion control applications (“electric drives” are a particular kind of actuators).

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

(Some of the contents could be revised)


Material given by the teacher, available on Insegnamenti On Line (copies of the slides, instructions for the exam, 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.
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 Insegnamenti On Line as soon as possible, to check they can download the material and to receive messages about the course sent by the instructor.  

The adopted slides are in English (mainly), at the following link slides in Italian are still available:
The slides in Italian are not updated since several years, then they do not cover the topics of the course completely.


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 CAD tool to design logic control of automation systems according to IEC61131-3 languages.

Some parts of the course and exercises are presented only by using the blackboard (for such parts, students are recommended to take their own notes or to ask for notes to classmates).

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 (in italian) in a specific document on Insegnamenti On Line. Students are asked to read very carefully such document (which can be downloaded by any UniBO student, even without subscribing the above mentioned distribution list).

Teaching tools

PC and Videoprojector for presentations.

A CAD tool is adopted to develop and simulate logic control applications.

Office hours

See the website of Andrea Tilli