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Versione italiana
Academic year
Ingegneria dell'automazione
Didactic period
Primo Semestre

Training objectives

The course is concerned with the industrial application of automatic control, with particular emphasis to the packaging machine field. The course is divided into two parts. The focus of the first part is in the logical control of machine, with particular emphasis on PLC (programmable logical controller) programming languages (following IEC61131-3 norm). The second part concerns with sensors, electrical and pneumatic components of an industrial plant.

The most important acquired knowledges are:
- PLC, PLC cards, general carachteristics, I/O addressing
- IEC 61131 international regulation and programming languages
- Kinematic chains and mechanisms for motion transmission
- Eletrical and pneumatic components of an industrial plant

The most important abilities (how the student will be able to apply the acquired knowledges)are:
- to be able to write a PLC control software using SFC, LADDER and ST
- to be able to select the most suitable sensors for an industrial plant
- to be able to sketch a basic eletrical and pneumatic scheme


Mathematics (derivatives and integrals), Physics (force, torque, power etc), Automatic control systems principles.

Course programme

Introduction to industrial automation, Programmable logic controller (PLC), PLC modules, programming languages under regulation IEC61131-3 (LD, ST, IL, SFC, FBD), electrical schemes and most important electromechanical components of a control cabinet, principles of pneumatics

Didactic methods

Lessons are:
- theoretical lessons on every area of the program
- laboratory lessons (4 or 5 lessons, 2 hours for each one) using Codesys, a free software for automatic machines programming and simulation (SFC, LADDER and ST). Each student has a personal computer and works alone

At the end of every theoretical subject some exercises (taken from previuos written exams) are solved to prepare students for the final exams

Learning assessment procedures

Starting from academic year 2020/2021 the exam is:
1) 1 SFC programming exercise
2) 1 Ladder programming exercise
3) 1 exercise related to the scaling of a variable
4) 1 exercise related to the drawing of an electrical scheme
5) 1 exercise related to the drawing of a pneumatic scheme
The first two exercises can be replaced with a software project using Codesys, creating the simulation of an automatic machine

Untile the academic year 2020/2021 the exam is:
1) a written examination with 1 exercise on LADDER, 1 exercise on SFC, 1 exercise on motion control and 5 written theoretical questions (3 hours)
2) a written examination with 1 exercise on motion control and 5 written theoretical questions (2 hours) plus a software project using Codesys, related to themes that the teacher publishes every year.

In the first case the grade is the one of the written exam, in the second case is the average grade of the two tests (written + Codesys project).
It is necessary to reach a sufficient level in every of the three areas of the exam (theory, programming in ladder + SFC, motion control) to obtain a final grade of 18/30.

Passing the examination means the student has acquired the knowledge specified in the educatonal goals.

The exam can be taken in English

Reference texts

Pdf lecture notes (available on the unife Industrial Automation web page) concern all the course theoretical areas and are sufficient to study for the exam.

Additional information about motion control can be found here:
G. Canini e C. Fantuzzi: "Il controllo del moto per Macchine Automatiche", Pitagora, Bologna 2003

Additional information about PLC and programming can be found here:
Karl-Heinz J. and M. Tiegelkamp "IEC61131-3: Programming Industrial Automation Systems", Springer, Germany, 2001.
Teacher's handouts