Last Updated S012019


Unit Name Automation Systems and Supervisory Control
Unit Code BIA207S
Unit Duration 1 Semester

Bachelor of Science (Engineering)

Duration 3 years    

Year Level Two
Unit Creator / Reviewer N/A
Core/Sub-Discipline: Sub-discipline
Pre/Co-requisites BIA205S, BIA206S
Credit Points


Total Course Credit Points 81 (27 x 3)

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload (Total student workload including “contact hours” = 10 hours per week; 5 hours per week for 24 week delivery)
Pre-recordings / Lecture – 1.5 hours
Tutorial – 1.5 hours
Guided labs / Group work / Assessments – 2 hours
Personal Study recommended – 5 hours

Unit Description and General Aims

The objective in presenting this unit is to impart to students knowledge of automation and supervisory control schemes of entire systems. The subject matter covered in this unit will include an in-depth study of Applied PLC principles. This information will then be contextualized in Distributed Control Systems (DCS) and Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. SCADA systems will subsequently be examined in considerable depth covering: fundamentals – hardware, alarms interfaces, and etc.; plant-wide communication systems; and, Object Linking for Embedding Process Control (OPC).

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Evaluate Applied PLC principles in relation to process control systems, manufacturing processes, DCS, safety instrumented systems (SIS), data communications etc.
    Bloom's Level 5
  2. Demonstrate a good understanding of DCS system layout, configuration, programming, interface, reporting and maintenance.
    Bloom's Level 6
  3. Examines SCADA system fundamentals including configuration, hardware, software, interface etc.
    Bloom's Level 4
  4. Evaluate the Wide Area Network (WAN) technologies for SCADA systems.
    Bloom's Level 5
  5. Apply Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) for Operator Process Control (OPC).
    Bloom's Level 3
  6. Design safe and secure systems after evaluating security threats
    Bloom's Level 6

Student assessment

Assessment Type When assessed Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Practical / Remote Lab / Simulation

Example Topic: Applied PLC.

Students may complete a quiz with MCQ type answers and solve some simple equations to demonstrate a good understanding of the fundamental concepts

Due after Topic 3 15% 1

Assessment 2 

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Practical / Remote Lab / Simulation

Example Topic: Distributed Control Systems.

Students may provide solutions to simple problems on the listed topics

Due after Topic 6 20% 2

Assessment 3

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Practical / Remote Lab / Simulation / Project / Report

Example Topic: SCADA (principles of operation, system-wide connectivity). Students will provide answers to questions related to SCADA configuration, hardware, software, interface, communication standards and WAN or use software simulations on SCADA.

Students may complete a quiz with MCQ type answers or solve some simple problems or using software to complete a practical.

Due after Topic 9 20% 3, 4

Assessment 4

Type: Examination

Example Topic: All topics

An examination with a mix of detailed report type questions and/or simple numerical problems to be completed in 3 hours

Final Week 40% 1 to 6

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

Example: Presentation, discussion, group work, exercises, self-assessment/reflection, case study analysis, application.

Continuous 5% 1 to 6

Prescribed and Recommended Readings




Practical Distributed Control Systems for Engineers and Technician, IDC Technologies, Perth.
Practical SCADA Systems for Industry, IDC Technologies, Perth.


Practical Programmable Logic Controllers for Automation and Process Control, IDC Technologies, Perth.


IDC Technologies, Practical Fundamentals of OPC, IDC Technologies, Perth.

Shaw, WT 2006, Cybersecurity for SCADA Systems. PennWell, ISBN 978-1-61583-977-3. Online version available at:

Stouffer, K, Falco, J, Kent, K 2006, Guide to Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Industrial Control Systems Security, NIST, Special Publication 800-82. Online version available at:

Unit Content


Topics 1 and 2

Applied PLC

1. Process control systems (operator interfaces, sensors, signal conditioning, actuators, controllers)
2. Manufacturing processes (continuous, batch, individual)
3. Centralised and Distributed control systems
4. Control systems (open and closed loop)
5. Controllers (on/off, Proportional, Integral, Derivative, PID)
6. Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) and Safety Integrity Levels (SILs)
7. System check out and testing
8. Data communications (RS-232, RS-422/423, RS-485, Modbus, DH+)

Topics 3, 4 and 5

Distributed Control Systems (DCS)

1. DCS fundamentals (basic controller, smart instruments, layout, communications, SCADA comparison)
2. Controller configuration and programming (IEC 61131-1 open programming languages)
3. Operator interface (process windows, ergonomics, and etc.)
4. Alarm management (Safety Integrity Level, alarm structure)
5. Reporting (log and report configuration)
6. Maintenance and management (diagnostic routines, UPS, recovery procedures)

Topics 6 and 7

SCADA – Part 1

1. Fundamentals of SCADA (Remote Transmission Units, Human Machine Interfaces, Intelligent Electronic Devices)
2. SCADA systems (software, hardware, alarms, database, and etc.)
3. Configuring and connecting

Topics 8 and 9

SCADA – Part 2

1. Principles of layered communication standards (OSI, TCP/IP)
2. Local Area Network (LAN) technologies
3. WAN technologies (multiplexing, ISDN, Frame relay, X25, SDH, Sonet)
4. Industrial communications protocols Modbus, DNP3)
5. Security (authentication, encryption, firewalls)

Topic 10

SCADA – Part 3

1. Object Linking and Embedding for Process Control (OPC)
2. Fundamental principles of OPC (client server, logical object model, Unified Architecture, specifications, interfaces)
3. Management and maintenance (system specification, commissioning, documentation, troubleshooting, and etc.)

Topic 11

Secure and Safe Systems

1. Security threats and counter measures (devices, standards, and etc.)
2. Safe systems and redundancy

Topic 12

Project and Unit Review

In the final week, students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work and to clarify any outstanding issues. Instructors/facilitators may choose to cover a specialized topic if applicable to that cohort.

Software/Hardware Used


  • Software: N/A

  • Version: N/A

  • Instructions:  N/A

  • Additional resources or files: N/A


  • N/A