DEIPCB613 : Process Control Basics

Nominal duration: 60 hours total time commitment

This time commitment includes the structured activities, preparation reading, and attendance at each webinar, completing exercises, practical assessments and proctored assessments.

It is also expected that students spend additional time on readings, personal study, independent research and learning, practicing on remote labs and required software and working on any projects and assignments.

This module covers the essentials of process control as well as tools to optimise the operation of plants and processes, including the ability to perform effective loop tuning.  Specific aspects are stability, algorithms, cascade control, controller action, feedforward control, and long dead time.


The purpose of the module is for participants to develop a basic working knowledge of modern theory and good practice for control systems and be able to apply effective procedures for tuning control loops in order to optimise the operation of a process or an entire plant.

MODIFICATION HISTORY Original module approved in 2010 (52368WA); April 2014 (52684WA).  This version is Version 3.0


Modules that must be delivered and assessed before this module:

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Modules that must be delivered concurrently with this module:

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Assessors should gather a range of evidence that is valid, sufficient, current and authentic. Evidence can be gathered through a variety of ways including direct observation, supervisor's reports, project work, structured assessments, samples and questioning. This will include short answer questions on the knowledge content, the use of remote and virtual labs, and writing tasks to apply the learning to academic tasks.


Assessor Requirements:

Assessors must satisfy the assessor requirements in the standards for registered training organisation (RTOs) current at the time of assessment.

Assessors must also hold a tertiary qualification in engineering or related field.

The RTO must also ensure that trainers and assessors keep their industry knowledge up to date through ongoing professional development.

Assessment Conditions:

Questioning techniques should not require language, literacy and numeracy skills beyond those required in this module. The candidate must have access to all tools, equipment, materials and documentation required.

The candidate must be permitted to refer to any relevant workplace procedures, product and manufacturing specifications, codes, standards, manuals and reference materials.

Assessments may be open book assessment and may be completed off campus. Invigilation software will be used for some assessments to ensure authenticity of work completed.

Model answers must be provided for all knowledge-based assessments to ensure reliability of assessment judgements when marking is undertaken by different assessors.


On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. Explain basic principles of process control
  2. Identify issues related to process control
  3. Identify the principles of controller action, feedforward control and long dead time
  4. Explain and apply the fundamental concepts of loop tuning
  5. Evaluate and apply tuning rules
  6. Explain characteristics of the process for tuning valve controllers

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes specify what students will be able to do as a result of the learning.


Assessment criteria provide the criteria by which achievement of the learning outcomes will be judged.

1. Explain basic principles of process control

1.1.  Justify the requirement for process control

1.2.  Outline in brief the following attributes of process control (a) PV, (b) SP, (c) CV, (d) Gain, (e) Lag, and (f) DT

1.3.  Compare the application of types of feedback control

1.4.  Explain the principle of set point tracking

1.5.  Explain proportional (gain) action in PID control

2. Identify issues related to process control

2.1.  Outline the principle of control loop stability

2.2.  Compare ideal and real control algorithms

2.3.  Describe cascade control

2.4.  Explain integral (reset) action in PID control

3. Identify the principles of controller action, feedforward control and long dead time

3.1.  Distinguish between direct and indirect action of a controller

3.2.  Explain derivative (reset) action of a controller

3.3.  Outline the principle of feedforward control

3.4.  Explain the concept of combined feedforward and feedback control

3.5.  Identify the effects of dead time of a controlled process

4. Explain and apply the fundamental concepts of loop tuning

4.1.  Outline the basic concepts and building blocks related to process control applicable to loop tuning, with reference to:

(a) PID controllers

(b) P, I and D modes of operation

(c) Load disturbances and offset

(d) Speed and stability issues

(e) Gain and dead time

(f) Process noise

4.2.  Justify the selection of feedback controller modes

4.3.  Describe the method for obtaining the open loop characterisation of a process through experimentation

4.4.  Outline default settings for the following processes:

(a) Liquid level

(b) Gas pressure

4.5.  Compare and contrast the characteristics of the following generic closed loop tuning approaches:

(a) General purpose

(b) Quick and easy

(c) Fine

(d) Simplified Lambda

4.6.  Apply, using simulation software, good practice in setting up control loops for:

(a) Flow control

(b) Pressure control

(c) Level control

(d) Temperature control

5. Evaluate and apply tuning rules

5.1.  Describe and use the basic procedures of the following tuning rules:

(a) Pessen

(b) Short cut open-loop

(c) Simplified Lambda

(d) On-line trial

(e) Ziegler Nichols

(f) Open loop reaction rate

(g) Open loop point of inflection

(h) Open loop process gain

(i) Cohen-Coon

5.2.  Select, using tables, typical tuning settings for various application types

5.3.  Determine tuning rule for a given scenario

5.4.  Apply common rules of thumb used in loop tuning

6. Explain characteristics of the process for tuning valve controllers

6.1.  Describe the effects of hysteresis and how to address it when tuning a loop

6.2.  Describe the effect of stiction and how to address it when tuning a loop

Delivery Mode

Online and face-to-face

Specialised Resources



Software/Hardware Used


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