Last Updated S012019


Unit Code ME602
Unit Duration 1 Term (online) or 1 Semester (on-campus)

Master of Engineering (Industrial Automation)
Duration: 2 years  

Year Level Two
Unit Creator / Reviewer Dr. Steve Mackay
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites ME502 Programmable Logic Controllers
ME503 Industrial Process Control Systems
Credit Points


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 hours
     Practical / Lab - 1 hour (where applicable)
     Personal Study recommended - 7 hours (guided and unguided)

Unit Description and General Aims

This system based subject moves quickly from the fundamentals to advanced concepts and technologies used in contemporary SCADA systems and DCSs. There is some perceived overlap between SCADA systems and DCSs and this treatment will examine this issue in considerable depth allowing the practitioner to proficiently apply his/her knowledge to a project in deciding on the best approach to follow. The subject covers SCADA systems hardware and software, a review of typical DCS and SCADA systems, examines DCS controllers and configuration. It then moves onto the quickly changing topic of industrial communications systems. Structured programming based around the 61131-3 standard is then examined in depth. Topics cover alarm system management, configuration, reporting, and maintenance. The final part of the course comprises the examination of the implementation of a complete system.
Students will undertake case studies of SCADA and DCS projects and operations.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Evaluate and specify SCADA systems and associated interfaces based on types of
    process supervision and data acquisition to be achieved.
    Bloom’s Level 5
  2. Evaluate and specify DCSs to ensure efficient and optimum operation of plant.
    Bloom’s Level 5
  3. Develop process control functions and algorithms for SCADA / DCS applications to
    meet plant’s supervisory control needs.
    Bloom’s Level 6
  4. Compare and contrast DCS and SCADA systems for optimal application in a given
    Bloom’s Level 5
  5. Evaluate data communication needs for processes using SCADA / DCS systems
    connected over multi-level hierarchies through network.
    Bloom’s Level 5
  6. Plan and manage selection, design, installation, configuration and programming by
    teams of technologists and engineers for supervisory needs including alarm
    management functions for operation and control of process plants.
    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 (Quiz)

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

Example Topic: on “Specification of DCS and
SCADA systems for a specific application” (defined
by the lecturer).

Due After Topic 4 20% 1, 2, 3

Assignment 2 - Project Midterm.

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

(Typical report 2,500 words maximum, excluding
references. This Project will include a progress
report; literature review, hypothesis, schedule,
challenges and future work)

Example Topic: on “Specification of the overall
architecture for a DCS or SCADA system for a
specific application as defined by the lecturer.”

Due After Topic 8 25% 2, 3

Assignment 3 - Final Project

Type: Report (Final Project)

(Typical thesis 5,000 words, excluding references, figures and tables) Continuing the mid-term initial submission.

Due After Topic 11 35% 2,3,5

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

Continuous 15% 4, 5, 6

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

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

Continuous 5% 1 - 6

Prescribed and Recommended Readings

Required textbook

  • B.R Mehta, Y.J.Reddy, Industrial Process Automation Systems-Design and Implementation. Elsevier,2015.


    K. Sharma, Overview of Industrial Process Automation, 2nd Edition. Elsevier, 2011. ISBN: 978-0128093030

Reference Materials
Number of peer-reviewed journals and websites (advised during lectures). Some examples are listed

1. IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control
2. IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
3. IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement
4. IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Magazine
5. Automation World Magazine
6. Manufacturing Automation Magazine
7. Managing Automation
8. Examples include but not limited to:;
9. IDC notes and Reference texts as advised.
10. Other material advised during the lectures

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

SCADA systems hardware

1. Considerations and benefits of SCADA systems
2. Remote Terminal Units
3. Input and output modules
4. PLCs as RTUs
5. System reliability and availability

Topic 2

SCADA systems software and protocol

1. SCADA system software
2. SCADA system protocols
3. New technologies in SCADA systems
4. The twelve golden rules
5. OPC integration

Topic 3

Typical DCS and SCADA Systems

1. Honeywell PlantScape
2. Foxboro I/A series DCSs
3. Delta V system
4. Citect
5. Wonderware
6. Intellution iFIX
7. Comparison of vendors

Topic 4

Basic DCS controllers and their configuration

1. Identification of the controller boards
2. Discrete, logic, sequential and batch control
3. Control Modes
4. Tracking and initialization in control slots used for cascade control
5. Control functions and control algorithms
6. Sequential programs for batch processing
7. Phase logic programming and interfaces
8. Logic block functions in advanced controllers
9. DCS controller configuration

Topic 5

Communication for DCS and SCADA systems

1. Topologies
2. Ethernet
3. Network interconnection components (including Industrial Firewalls)
5. SCADA, DCSs and the Internet with remote engineering
6. ProfiBus and ProfiNet
7. Foundation FieldBus

Topic 6

Programming of DCS and SCADA systems

1. IEC-1131-3 language definition
2. Functions and function blocks
3. Data types, variables, functions, programs
4. Structured text and statements
5. Function block diagram and execution control
6. Ladder diagrams, instruction list and sequential function chart

Topic 7

Alarm system management

1. Functions of an alarm system
2. Structure of a good alarm system
3. Strategy for alarm system design and maintenance
4. Measurement, generation, and processing of alarms
5. Alarm displays
6. Testing of alarms

Topic 8

Configuration and reporting (for both DCS and SCADA)

1. System database
2. Configuration of control functions, operator/monitoring functions
3. Configuration of system hardware and software
4. Documentation
5. Commissioning
6. Alarm reporting, generation and acceptance

Topic 9


1. Maintenance requirements of system and system elements
2. Requirements for in-built diagnostic and maintenance routines
3. Requirement for installation of UPS system
4. Recovery of following power outage

Topic 10

Implementation of a Complete System

1. System strategy
2. Automation plan
3. Project implementation
4. Installation and commissioning
5. Change management

Topic 11


1. Introduction
2. SCADA systems in Mining
3. SCADA systems in Transport
4. DCSs in pulp and paper environment
5. DCSs in petroleum-refining environment
6. DCSs in oil and gas processing environment
7. Industrial Network Security Application

Topic 12

Project and/or 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, 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


Knowledge and Skill Base


Comprehensive, theory-based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.


Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline.


In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline


 Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.


 Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.


Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.


Engineering Application Ability


Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem-solving.


Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.


Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.


Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects.


Professional and Personal Attributes


Ethical conduct and professional accountability.


Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.


Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanour.


Professional use and management of information.


Orderly management of self, and professional conduct.


Effective team membership and team leadership.

Software/Hardware Used


  • Software: Factory Talk View Studio, mod_RSsim; WinTr from

  • Version: N/A

  • Instructions:  N/A

  • Additional resources or files: N/A


  • N/A