Last Updated S012019


Unit Name Power and Drive Controls
Unit Code BIA304S
Unit Duration 1 Semester

Bachelor of Science (Engineering)

Duration 3 years    

Year Level Three
Unit Creator / Reviewer D M Macdonald/ S P Maj
Core/Sub-Discipline: Sub-discipline
Pre/Co-requisites BIA205S, BIA209S
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 a comprehensive knowledge of controls meant to regulate the power flow to electrical machinery used in typical industrial operations. The subject matter covered in this unit will include: the different production processes used in industry and the control requirements for machinery used in these processes; speed control of different types of motors used in manufacturing activities such as metal forming, rolling, manufacturing of paper, and etc.; the control of heaters used in machinery such as moulding and extrusion presses; and, the control of heating furnaces and welding controllers. The scope of the unit will also include a study of power electronic devices, their basic control strategies and characteristics, the equipment configurations in which these devices find applications, and the control functions used in power electronic equipment to achieve precise operational control.       

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe the different types of manufacturing processes and their control requirements with an emphasis on lowering power consumption.
    Bloom's Level 2
  2. Detail power electronic device types used for controlling the output of electrical equipment industrial applications.
    Bloom's Level 5
  3. Describe the circuits for rectification and inversion and their application in motor controls.
    Bloom's Level 4
  4. Specify the use of DC motors in different industry segments and the control strategies adopted.
    Bloom's Level 6
  5. Specify the use of AC motors in different industry segments and the control strategies adopted.
    Bloom's Level 6
  6. Evaluate the principles of industrial heating and welding and their control requirements.
    Bloom's Level 5

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: Manufacturing processes and control requirements.

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: Power electronic devices and circuit applications.

Students may provide solutions to simple problems on the listed topics

Due after Topic 6 20% 2, 3

Assessment 3

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

Example Topic: Motor speed control and Welding applications. Simulation on Motor speed control.

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% 4, 5

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


  • Bralla, JG 2007, Handbook of Manufacturing Processes - How Products, Components and Materials are Made, Industrial Press, ISBN 978-1-60119-933-1. 
  • Phipps, CA 1999, Variable Speed Drive Fundamentals, 3rd edn, Fairmont Press Inc., ISBN 978-1-61583-295. 
  • Rashid, MH 2018. Power Electronics Handbook. 4thedn. Elsevier, ISBN: 978-0-12-811407-0


Erickson, CJ 1994, Handbook of Electrical Heating for Industry, IEEE, ISBN 13: 9780780304208.

Notes and Reference texts

Knovel library:

IDC notes and Reference texts as advised.

Other material advised during the lectures

Unit Content

Topics 1 and 2

Industrial manufacturing processes and control methods

1. Basics of industrial manufacturing (batch processes and assembly lines)
2. Metal forming (hot and cold)
3. Metal cutting/stamping
4. Forging and casting
5. Machine tools (Turning, shaping/planning, drilling, boring, grinding, and milling)
6. Die casting and moulding operations
7. Heat treatment
8. Welding
9. Heating furnaces
10. Melting furnaces
11. Plating and coating
12. Interlocks and controls in different machines
13. Automation in manufacturing

Topic 3

Power electronic devices used in industrial equipment

1. Principle of operation and characteristics of semiconductor diodes
2. Principle of operation and characteristics of power transistors
3. Principle of operation and characteristics of thyristors and triacs
4. Principle of operation and characteristics of GTO devices
5. Principle of operation and characteristics of IGBTs and IGCTs
6. Important specifications of semi-conductor devices and their relevance in selection.

Topic 4

Rectifiers and their control

1. Half wave, full wave and bridge rectifiers with diodes and their waveform (single and 3 phase)
2. Half-controlled and fully-controlled 3 phase rectifiers and waveform
3. Pulse circuit for thyristor control
4. Snubber circuits and their design
5. Protection of devices using semi-conductor fuses
6. Power factor and harmonic problems in the supply circuit due to rectifier operation

Topic 5

Inverters and their control

1. Inversion by switching and inversion by voltage synthesis
2. GTO thyristors as invertors
3. Transistors and IGBTs as inverters
4. Voltage and current source inverters
5. Pulse-width modulation type voltage source invertors
6. Line-commutated inverters for high power motors

Topic 6

DC motors and their control

1. DC motor operating principle
2. DC motor types based on field supply (shunt, series, compound)
3. Speed/torque characteristics
4. DC motor control and constant torque/constant power mode of control
5. Armature voltage control using thyristor rectifiers
6. Field voltage control
7. 4-quadrant operation

Topics 7 and 8

AC motors and control

1. Single phase AC motors-operating principle
2. 3 phase motors-types
3. 3 phase motor operating principle (rotating magnetic field)
4. Starting of cage motors-controls (direct and assisted starting)
5. Soft-starters using power thyristors
6. Slip ring motors construction
7. Starting using rotor resistance control
8. Synchronous motors and their starting
9. Speed control of AC motors VVVF type
10. 4-quadrant AC drives
11. Braking using resistance and regenerative braking
12. Slip power recovery type of drives for wound rotor motors

Topic 9

Welding control

1. Basics of electric welding
2. Resistance welding (spot, seam) and controls
3. Current control for DC arc welding using rectifiers
4. AC Arc welding and control of welding machines
5. Welding in the automobile manufacturer
6. Overview of robotic control of welders in production lines

Topic 10 and 11

Heaters, furnaces, and control methods

1. Resistance heating
2. Control of resistance heaters (on/off and voltage control methods)
3. Radiant heating and its control
4. Induction furnace and its application in melting
5. High-frequency induction heating and control
6. Dielectric heating
7. Power source for induction/dielectric heaters
8. Heating furnaces and temperature control (heat treatment operations)
9. Arc furnace for melting and control of arc current/length
10. Voltage problems due to arc furnaces
11. Voltage compensation using Static VAR compensators (SVC)
12. SVC for voltage correction and load balancing



Topic 12

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: MATLAB

  • Version: N/A

  • Instructions:  N/A

  • Additional resources or files: N/A


  • N/A