Last Updated S022020


Unit Name Instrument and Control Engineering Practices
Unit Code BIA306S
Unit Duration 1 Semester

Bachelor of Science (Engineering)

Duration 3 years    

Year Level Three
Unit Creator / Reviewer N/A
Core/Sub-Discipline: Sub-discipline
Pre/Co-requisites BIA204S, BIA207S, BIA208S
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 give students a systematic view of the professional tasks and practices employed in the engineering of automation systems. The aim is to enable the students to recognize the context of any particular engineering task within the discipline field by having knowledge of a typical C& I project life cycle. Knowledge of well-established top-down design procedures will assist in the development of a professional and responsible approach to working within a project team, to provide automation solutions.

The subject matter covered in this unit will include: the development of an automation system – beginning with consideration of the industrial context of the application, and the influences affecting the design of the control system equipment; the project life cycle stages; functional design specifications; control system architecture; and, implementation of hardware and software solutions.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Prepare a set of design guidelines and objectives for an automation system that will be appropriate for the industrial context and business objectives of the application.
    Bloom's Level 6
  2. Describe the characteristic features and performance expectations of automation systems according to the industry that they serve.
    Bloom's Level 2
  3. Design a project plan for the implementation of an automation system.
    Bloom's Level 6
  4. Generate control system architecture diagrams for integrating field instrumentation with control units, operator interfaces, and data acquisition systems.
    Bloom's Level 6
  5. Produce an outline functional design specification for a small automation application.
    Bloom's Level 6
  6. Compare alternative design proposals for an automation system and justify the most suitable version for the required lifetime of the plant.
    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: Automation needs in industry sector; understanding of equipment selection and matching.

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, 2

Assessment 2

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

Example Topic: Automation system implementation. Automation needs of a given manufacturing process and project plan to deliver the solution

Students may provide solutions to simple problems on the listed topics

Due after Topic 6 20% 3

Assessment 3

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

Example Topic: Selection of appropriate types of automation equipment based on functional design specifications. Or Simulate - design a simple automatic control function complete with operator displays and alarm and data recording.

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% 1, 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


  • M. P. Groover, Automation, Production Systems, and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, 4th Edition. Pearson, 2015. ISBN: 9781292076126


  • Fundamentals of Industrial Automation, Revision 2, IDC Technologies, Perth.
  • J. Stenerson, Industrial Automation and Process Control. Prentice Hall, 2002. ISBN-13: 9780130330307.
  • Reddy, YJ 2015, Industrial Process Automation Systems - Design and Implementation, Elsevier, ISBN 978-0-12801-098-3. 
  • Caro, D 2014, Wireless Networks for Industrial Automation, 3rd edn, ISA, ISBN 978-0-876640-18-0. Online version available at: 

Journal, website

Notes and Reference Texts

Knovel library:
Other material advised during the lectures

Unit Content

Topics 1 and 2

Industry sectors and their automation needs

1. Machinery automation (typical requirements of a single machine, such as an injection moulding machine)
2. Manufacturing (factory) automation (production lines and cell manufacturing concepts)
3. Application and role of robotics
4. Concepts of manufacturing systems
5. Characteristics of mining automation
6. Chemical Process Automation (characteristic features and functional requirements)

Topics 3 and 4

Automation system components and choices

1. Terminologies used across the automation field
2. Automation controllers with examples of DCS, SCADA, PLC
3. Control Room Displays, Machinery User Interfaces, Data Capture Devices
4. Review of control and automation preferences by industry sector

Topic 5

Typical functions and services of an automation system

1. Local and remotely controlled operations
2. Human-Machine Interface (HMI) for local supervision
3. Area supervision and control room operations including alarm management
4. Production recording and performance monitoring

Topic 6

Development of the Functional Design Specification

1. User requirements specification
2. Functional design specification (key elements and their impact on the project)
3. Software user requirements specification

Topics 7 and 8

Equipment selection practices

1. PLC system benefits
2. DCS Solution benefits
3. Instrumentation networks and maintenance facilities
4. Consideration of expansion and lifetime support for hardware and software

Topic 9

Documenting the automation requirements

1. Standards for system representation, instrumentation, and application software
2. Presentation of control system functionality on the P&ID
3. Instrument and signal lists
4. Exercises in defining instrument and control functions

Topics 10 and 11

Engineering stages of the automation system

1. Typical PLC and DCS system project life cycle stages from FDS to commissioning
2. The duties of clients and contractors
3. The role of the systems integrator
4. Cost estimating principles and key components of cost in automation

Topic 12

Topics 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: Citect SCADA

  • Version: N/A

  • Instructions:  N/A

  • Additional resources or files: N/A


  • N/A