Learning outcomes of the course unit
Knowledge and understanding:
by means of frontal lessons, the student acquires the method and knowledge required to describe, and understand methods and devices for industrial automation and its design, implementation and validation aspects. Student will learn the structure and operating principle of the automatic machines and the main subsystems that enable automated operation. It will also learn the main automation drive dimensioning techniques, the main programming language of industrial controllers, and the operating principle of the most widely used commercial monitoring, control and data acquisition programs (SCADAs).
Applying knowledge and understanding:
through practical classroom exercises connected to some important topics, students learn how to apply the acquired knowledge in a real context of design, as well as in multidisciplinary or non-familiar areas. The student will have in particular to apply the acquired knowledge of the dimensioning and choice of drive system catalogs, the implementation of ladder language automation programs and the implementation of supervisory and data acquisition applications in the GE iFix environment.
The student should be able to understand and evaluate critically the main automation systems and the adequacy of a specific design solution to realize a given production cycle. In particular, he has to be able to evaluate the opportunity to adopt rigid or flexible automation systems, wired logic or programmed logic systems and feedback controlled or uncontrolled actuators. It will also be necessary to know the adequacy of a given controller to the complexity of the problem assigned and the size of a given actuator in relation to the load characteristics.
Through the front lessons and the assistance of the lecturer, the student acquires the specific vocabulary inherent in industrial automation, controllers, actuators and sensors. It is expected that at the end of the course the student will be able to interpret the design requirements for the automation of a facility and to transmit, in oral and written form, the main contents of the course, such as ideas, engineering issues and related solutions.
The student who has attended the course will be able to deepen his knowledge of automation through the autonomous consultation of specialized texts, commercial catalogs and technical manuals, even outside the strictly lectured topics, in order to effectively address the insertion into the world of work or undertake further training paths.
There are no mandatory propedeuticities.
Course contents summary
The course offers a general introduction to the topic of Industrial Automation with a specific focus on automated systems for production and logistics.
Main topics treated during lessons and exercises are:
- The automated machines and the design of motion
- Motor-load coupling
- The mechanisms commonly adopted: selection criteria, performance
- Description, selection criteria and performance of the most common
- Examples of applications
- Exercises: selection and sizing
- PID Controllers
- Axis control, examples and applications
- Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC)
- The programming languages according to IEC 61131
- Examples of applications and programming exercises
- The acquisition systems, monitoring and supervision
- Programming of a commercial SCADA
- Introduction to Industry 4.0
- Methods and algorithms for Intelligent Manufacturing
- Examples of applications and laboratory exercises
All the powerpoint presentations and the other content used during the lectures are available on Elly at the beginning of the course, as well as other useful documents. Among them, it worths mentioning the collection of the exam from the past years which contains a comprehensive set of exercises useful to study for the final exam.
In addition to the shared material, the student can personally study some of the topics discussed during the course in the following books:
Proficy HMI / SCADA iFIX - UNDERSTANDING iFIX Version 5.0 August 2008
Allen Bradley SLC 500 ® Instruction Set Reference Manual
Automating Manufacturing Systems with PLCs, Hugh Jack, http:
E. Kiel (Ed.), Drive Solutions – Mechatronics for Production and Logistics, Springer, ISBN 978-3-540-76705-3
B.ALLOTTA L.PUGI – Meccatronica: Azionamenti elettrici ed oleodinamici, Società Editrice Esculapio, ISBN: 9788874889228
The course counts 9 CFUs (one CFU, University Credits equals one ECTS credit and represents the workload of a student during educational activities aimed at passing the exams), which corresponds to 72 hours of lectures. The didactic activities are composed of frontal lessons alternating with exercises. During the frontal lessons, the course topics are proposed from the theoretical and design point of view. During classroom exercises in labs students will use didactic and commercial software programs and they will apply theoretical knowledge to an exercise, a real case study, or a project. If conditions are favorable, seminars are held by managers of corporations who report concrete experiences in real case studies. The slides and notes used to support the lessons will be uploaded to the Elly Platform. To download the slides from Elly is required to enroll in the online course.
All the shared material is part of the didactic material. For non-attending students, it is important to stay up-to-date on the course through the Elly platform, the only communication tool used for direct teacher / student contact. On this platform, day by day, the topics discussed in the lesson are pointed out and registered, providing the students with an index of the contents for the final exam
Assessment methods and criteria
At the beginning of the course, each student can opt to take a written test or to execute a group project.
The test will assess the knowledge of all the contents explained in class and included in the slides available to students.
It will be also tested the ability to apply the course content to simple exercises: calculating actuators for production machinery, programming
with PLC and SCADA systems to be solved on paper.
The test will consist of closed questions (5 question, 1 point each), one open-ended question (5 points) and 4 exercises (5 points each). The sum of these scores is the overall grade of the examination expressed as a grade of out of 30.
During the course of the exam, no document or computer use is permitted. It is possible and recommended to use a pocket calculator.
The test results are published on Elly and put on record by the lecturer, usually within one week from the test.
The group project is agreed with the lecturer at the beginning of the course and consists of a practical problem inherent in the main contents of the lessons. The project is completed with the delivery of the work done (e.g. source code of a program, CAD drawing of components, etc.) and a technical report of the work carried out.
The project is evaluated as follows:
Project development (max 10 points): understanding of the project requirements and objectives, prerequisite analysis, definition of functionality, performance and constraints; design; realization; integration, test and validation;
Working method (max 10 points): independency, proactivity, creativity; research, analysis, evaluation and selection of different solutions; systematicity and essentiality; communication within the group and with the tutor;
Results (max. 5 points): fulfillment of the original project's objectives;
Documentation (max 5 points): structure; completeness and correctness; style;
The project result is published on Elly and put on record by the lecturer, usually within one week from the delivery.
An exam is deemed to be passed successfully if the final grade is equal to or higher than 18/30. In the event of a full grade (30/30), the Examination Board may grant honours (lode) on the basis of the clarity and accuracy of the answers provided (or, in the case of the project, of the quality of the documentation)