Last Updated S012019


Unit Code ME504
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
Core/Elective: 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 instrumentation systems deployed for the automation of industrial processes. The subject combines measurement theory and physics to establish a deep understanding of the leading transducer applications. Students will be able to describe the key features of widely used measurement techniques and will be able to show how transducers are combined with microprocessor devices to create robust and reliable industrial instruments such as pressure transmitters, flow metering systems and temperature transmitters. The subject will introduce students to the latest practices in industrial instrument communication networks including wireless technology and field bus. They will undertake case studies to prepare and evaluate instrumentation solutions for industrial automation problems including the evaluation of energy saving options in fluid control devices.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate how the generalized measurement system can be realized in typical examples of industrial instrumentation.

          Bloom’s Level 6

  1. Apply physical principles to discuss the static and dynamic response characteristics of a transducer.

          Bloom’s Level 6

  1. Analyze specific measurement problems, describe the appropriate sensing principles and propose suitable instrumentation.

          Bloom’s Level 5

  1. Summarize and compare the most widely applied signal transmission technologies for industrial instrument installations in small to medium manufacturing plants.

          Bloom’s Level 5

  1. Choose appropriate control valve designs for a given flow or pressure control application.

           Bloom’s Level 6

  1. Compare energy saving benefits of variable speed pumps and valves for fluid control.

           Bloom’s Level 5

  1. Design a typical process instrumentation system by using graphical symbols and numbering codes in accordance with the International Standards ANSI/ISA- S 5.01 and S 5.02.

           Bloom’s Level 6



Student assessment

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

Assignment 1 - Project Midterm

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

(Typical report 1,500 words maximum, excluding references. This Project will include a progress report; literature review, hypothesis, schedule, challenges and future work)

Example Topic: “Planning and specification of an instrumentation system for a pressure control loop in a continuous process”

After Topic  7 20% 1, 2

Assignment 2

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

Example topics: To be suggested by lecturer

After Topic  9 20% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Assignment 3 - Final Project (Typical thesis 4000 words, excluding references, figures and tables).
Example Topic: Review and recommend an instrumentation system concept for a multistage processing plant with a large number of process variables.

After Topic 12 40% 3, 4, 6, 7

Practical Participation

Example: May be in the form of quizzes, class tests, practical assessments, remote labs, simulation software or case studies

Continuous 15% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

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

Continuous 5% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Prescribed and Recommended Readings

Required textbook(s)

  • Holman, J., 1978, Experimental Methods for Engineers (Mcgraw-Hill Series in Mechanical Engineering) – ISBN: 978-0073529301
  • Patranabis D., 2010, Principles of Industrial Instrumentation 3rd Edition: Tata McGraw-Hill – ISBN: 978-0070699717
  • EIT course notes
  • Engineering Standard ANSI/ISA Instrument Symbols and Identification

Recommended textbook(s)

  • Dunn, W., 2005, Fundamentals of Industrial Instrumentation and Process Control: McGraw-Hill Education – ISBN: 978-0071457354
  • Morris, A. S., 2001, Measurement and Instrumentation Principles, 3rd Edition: Butterworth-Heinemann – ISBN: 978-0750650816
  • Du, W. Y., 2014, Resistive, Capacitive, Inductive, and Magnetic Sensor Technologies: CRC Press – ISBN: 978-1439812440
  • Lipták, B. G., 2005, Instrument Engineers' Handbook, 4th Edition, Volume Two - Process Control and Optimization: CRC Press – ISBN: 978-0849310812

Reference Materials

  • Number of journals and websites (advised during lectures).
  • Examples of journals including the International Journal of Instrumentation

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

Introduction to instrumentation and measurement systems

1. The generalized measurement system and its relationship to control systems
2. Dimensions, SI units and reference standards
3. Introduction to instrumentation systems as used in industry.

Topic 2

Measurement principles

  1. Measurement ranges, linearity and sensitivity.
  2. Measurement error and uncertainty analysis
  3. Statistical methods for measurement
  4. Analogue instruments and measurement principles
  5. Digital measurement principles
  6. Dynamic measurements and response factors.

Topic 3

Electrical measurement principles

  1. Electromagnetic forces and waveform measures
  2. Basic analog and digital meters
  3. Principles of differential and operational amplifiers
  4. Signal conditioning, filtering and noise reduction methods

Topic 4

Transducer principles

  1. Potentiometers and inductive sensors
  2. Piezo-electric sensors
  3. Photoelectric sensors
  4. Capacitance and vibration sensors 
  5. Other sensors

Topic 5

Signal processing and signal transmission

  1. Principles of signal processing for measurement
  2. Data acquisition systems
  3. Principles of industrial transmitters and analogue signal transmission methods
  4. Microprocessors and intelligent transmitters, HART digital transmission systems
  5. Introduction to Fieldbus and wireless data transmission for industrial applications

Topic 6

Force and pressure measurements

  1. Principles of force and mass measurement
  2. Elastic elements and strain gauges
  3. Overview of pressure measurement methods.
  4. Diaphragm gauges and sensors
  5. Thermal conductivity methods

Topics 7 and 8

Industrial flow measurement techniques

  1. Principles of fluid flow
  2. Flow-obstruction methods (orifice, flow nozzle, venturi)
  3. Pitot tubes and their applications)
  4. Leading process flow metering methods (Vortex, Magnetic, Ultrasonic, Thermal)
  5. Integration and selection of flowmeters for process automation

Topic 9

Control valves and actuators

  1. Introduction to pipeline flow and the role of the control valve
  2. Installed flow characterization of control valves
  3. Valve sizing for liquids, gases and steam flow control
  4. Comparative features of variable speed pumps versus control valves for fluid flow control.

Topic 10

Level measurement techniques for liquids and solids

  1. Introduction to level measuring challenges in industry.
  2. Liquid level by hydrostatic head
  3. Microwave and radar methods for solids
  4. Ultrasonic and radiation methods
  5. Storage tank gauging and linearization
  6. Mass measurements using load cells

Topic 11

Temperature measurement techniques

  1. Physical principles
  2. Resistance temperature detectors and thermocouples
  3. IR and UV radiation temperature sensing.

Topic 12

Instrument systems engineering

  1. Instrumentation project scope in support of automation
  2. Instrumentation symbols, notations and numbering systems
  3. Industrial installation practices and standards
  4. Remote monitoring and diagnostics in process instrumentation

Software/Hardware Used - Only for Internal Use


  • Software: Smartdraw, AutoCAD P&ID (Plant 3D) 

  • Version: N/A

  • Instructions:  N/A

  • Additional resources or files: N/A


  • N/A