Last Updated S012019


Unit Code ME503
Unit Duration 1 Term (online) or 1 Semester (on-campus)

Graduate Diploma of Engineering (Industrial Automation)
Duration: 1 year

Master of Engineering (Industrial Automation)
Duration: 2 years  

Year Level 1st
Unit Creator / Reviewer Dr. Srinivas Shastri /Hadi Harb
Core/Sub-Discipline: Core
Pre/Co-requisites None
Credit Points


Grad Dip total course credit points = 24
(3 credits x 8 (units))

Masters total course credit points = 48
(3 credits x 12 (units) + 12 credits (Thesis))

Mode of Delivery On-Campus or Online
Unit Workload 10 hours per week:
     Lecture - 1 hour
     Tutorial Lecture - 1 hour
     Practical / Lab - 1 hour (where applicable)
     Personal Study recommended - 7 hours (guided and unguided)

Unit Description and General Aims

This subject aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the techniques and technologies employed in the automated control of industrial processes. The subject combines the fundamentals of process identification and feedback control design with a broad understanding of the hardware, system architectures and software techniques widely used to implement control solutions. Students will acquire the ability to analyze control problems and create solutions based on the use of modeling techniques and well-established software tools. This ability will help to prepare the students for the advanced control topics to be covered later in the course.

Students will be able to describe the key features of control system equipment practices and their comparative investment costs as used in different sectors of industry. Control techniques for both continuous and batch process control will be covered, Students will undertake case studies to create and evaluate choices of system architectures and equipment solutions in terms of plant availability, initial cost and potential for improvements in plant performance indicators such as energy efficiency and production rates.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject/unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Discriminate between the key features of industrial control systems.
    Bloom’s Level 6
  2. Apply mathematical modeling techniques to identify static and dynamic response characteristics of a continuous process.
    Bloom’s Level 6
  3. Design a feedback control system for a continuous process using transfer functions and stability analysis methods.
    Bloom’s Level 6
  4. Summarize and compare the most widely used industrial control system technologies including PLCs and distributed control systems (DCS).
    Bloom’s Level 5
  5. Generate and compare control system concepts for the automation of a process plant including instrumentation networks in terms of flexibility, availability and cost.
    Bloom’s Level 6
  6. Describe and incorporate into relevant system designs the principles of batch process and manufacturing control system practices as recommended by International
    Standards ANSI/ISA- 88, and ANSI/ISA-95.
    Bloom’s Level 6

Student assessment

Assessment Type
(e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic)
Examination (specify length and format))
(e.g. Week 5)
Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assignment 1

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer
questions / Role Play / Self-Assessment /

Example Topic: To be suggested by lecturer

After Topic 5 15% 1, 2

Assignment 2 - Project Midterm

Type: Report / Research / Paper / Case Study / Site
Visit / Problem analysis / Project / Professional
recommendation / Self-Assessment

(Typical report 1,500 words maximum, excluding
references. This is a progress report with; literature
review, hypothesis, and proposal for workings)

Example Topic: Proposal for the analysis, design and
modeling of a storage tank system

After Topic  7 25% 1, 2, 3

Assignment 3

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer
questions / Role Play / Self-Assessment /

Example Topic: To be suggested by lecturer

After Topic  10 15% 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Assignment 4 - Final Project (Typical thesis 4000
words, excluding references, figures and tables. If a
continuation of the midterm, this should complete the
report by adding sections on: workings,
implementation, results, verification/validation,
conclusion/challenges and recommendations/future

Example Topic: A continuation of the mid-term initial
submission OR a “Control Systems Planning and
Design Project” will be attempted which will include
for justification of the type of equipment to be used in
terms of cost, ease of use and availability when
compared with plant improvement objectives.

Embedded practical component: Students are to
design and simulate a feedback/cascade control
system using Matlab or similar software tools and
include results in final project report.

After Topic 12 40% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

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

Continuous 5% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Prescribed and Recommended Readings

Required textbook

  •  King M. (2011) Process Control: A Practical Approach Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, UK and available in electronic form and in print form: ISBN-13: 978-0470975879

 Recommended Reference Materials

  • Engineering Standard ANSI/ISA-88 Part 1 or IEC 61512-1
  • Engineering Standard ANSI/ISA-95 Part 1 or IEC 61512-1
  • Examples of journals include
  1. Journal of Process Control
  2. Control (Electronic access via

Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two weeks.

Topic 1

Control systems and their relationship to process operations

  1.  Introduction to the purposes of industrial control systems and the role of the control system in
    achieving business objectives.
  2. Characteristic control system features in various industry sectors
  3. Input/output relationships of typical process equipment modules: Tanks, Heat exchangers,

Topic 2

  1.  Process unit operations, flowcharts and the depiction of the control system.
  2.  Outline of process industry equipment units and material flows (mass, temperature, pressure).
  3.  Linear differential equations and Introduction to process dynamics
  4. Pressure and flow characteristics in pipelines and the role of control valves.

Topic 3

Characteristics and dynamics of continuous processes

  1. Laplace transform
  2.  1st and 2nd order processes.
  3.  Block diagram modeling for process models and feedback control.
  4.  Feedforward Control

Topic 4

Fundamentals of feedback control

  1.  Process variables, MVs and set points
  2.  Sensing and actuation using instrumentation
  3. Feedback control characteristic responses of 3 term controllers
  4. Principles of digital control and sampled data systems.
  5.  Introduction to multivariable systems

Topics 5 and 6

Advanced Analysis and design of feedback control systems
(Lab demonstrations and application software tools should be used (MATLAB Control System
Toolbox) in association with this topic.

  1. Frequency domain analysis
  2. Stability and dynamic behaviour of linear systems in feedback control.
  3. Impacts of non-linearity and time delay in feedback control
  4. Digital control algorithms and their effects on control response.
  5. Loop tuning techniques for industrial controllers.

Topic 7

MATLAB Demos & Control Overview

  1. Tuning a Controller with MATLAB
  2. The Nyquist Criterion
  3. Feed Forward Control Overview
  4. Other Control Problems

Topic 8

Characteristics of industrial process control equipment

  1. Single loop digital controllers
  2. PLC based loop and sequence control.
  3. Distributed control systems outline

Topic 9

Automation system functions

  1. Introduction to safety critical control systems (Details in ME 508).
  2. Principles of batch process control based on ANSI/ISA-88)
  3. Introduction to Enterprise-Control System Integration (ANSI/ISA-95)

Topics 10 and 11

Developing the control system specification for a project

  1. Understanding the process and its control and operability requirements
  2. Functional specifications for plant control systems. Alarms, process management, safety trips and emergency shutdown systems.
  3. Role of operators and the design of the control room
  4. Developing the control system architecture
  5.  Control system specification
  6.  Project planning and deliverables

Topic 12

Project and Course 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, to clarify any outstanding issues, and to work on
finalizing the major assessment report.


Engineers Australia

The Australian Engineering Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer, approved as of 2013. This table is referenced in the mapping of graduate attributes to learning outcomes and via the learning outcomes to student assessment.

Stage 1 Competencies and Elements of Competency
1. Knowledge and Skill Base
1.1 Comprehensive, theory-based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.
1.2 Conceptual understanding of mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and
computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline.
1.3 In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering
1.4 Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.
1.5 Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the
engineering discipline.
1.6 Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of
sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.
2. Engineering Application Ability
2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem-solving.
2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.
2.3 Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.
2.4 Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering
3. Professional and Personal Attributes
3.1 Ethical conduct and professional accountability.
3.2 Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.
3.3 Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanor.
3.4 Professional use and management of information.
3.5 Orderly management of self, and professional conduct.
3.6 Effective team membership and team leadership.

Software/Hardware Used


  • Software: Matlab (Toolboxes: Control System Toolbox, System Identification Toolbox, Statistics and Machine Learning Toolbox, Model Predictive Control Toolbox)
  • Version: R2019a
  • Instructions: Install the Student version on your computer OR use the software on Remote lab
  • Additional resources or files: N/A



  • N/A