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Introduction to Industrial

Automation and Control


• To define Automation and Control and explain the differences in the sense of the terms
• To explain the relation between Automation and Information Technology
• To underline the basic objectives of a manufacturing industry and explain how
automation and control technologies relate to these
• To introduce the concept of a Product Life Cycle and explain how Automation and
Control technologies relate to the various phases of the cycle
• To classify Manufacturing plants and categorise the different classes of Automation
Systems that are appropriate for these

Understanding the Title of the Course

Let us first define the three key words in the title, namely,


In a general sense the term “Industry” is defined as follows.

Definition: Systematic Economic Activity that could be related to
Manufacture/Service/ Trade.
In this course, we shall be concerned with Manufacturing Industries only.


The word ‘Automation’ is derived from greek words “Auto”(self) and “Matos”
(moving). Automation therefore is the mechanism for systems that “move by itself”.
However, apart from this original sense of the word, automated systems also achieve
significantly superior performance than what is possible with manual systems, in terms
of power, precision and speed of operation.

Definition: Automation is a set of technologies that results in operation of machines

and systems without significant human intervention and achieves performance
superior to manual operation

A Definition from Encyclopaedia Britannica

The application of machines to tasks once performed by human beings or,

increasingly, to tasks that would otherwise be impossible. Although the term
mechanization is often used to refer to the simple replacement of human labour by
machines, automation generally implies the integration of machines into a self-
governing system.
It is perhaps correct to expect that the learner for this course has already been exposed to
a course on Control Systems, which is typically introduced in the final or pre-final year of
an undergraduate course in Engineering in India. The word control is therefore expected
to be familiar and defined as under.

Definition: Control is a set of technologies that achieves desired patterns of variations

of operational parameters and sequences for machines and systems by providing the
input signals necessary.

It is important at this stage to understand some of the differences in the senses that these two
terms are generally interpreted in technical contexts and specifically in this course. These are
given below.
1. Automation Systems may include Control Systems but the reverse is not true. Control
Systems may be parts of Automation Systems.
2. The main function of control systems is to ensure that outputs follow the set points.
However, Automation Systems may have much more functionality, such as computing
set points for control systems, monitoring system performance, plant startup or shutdown,
job and equipment scheduling etc.

Automation Systems are essential for most modern industries. It is therefore important to
understand why they are so, before we study these in detail in this course.

Industrial Automation vs. Industrial Information Technology

Industrial Automation makes extensive use of Information Technology. Fig. 1.1 below shows
some of the major IT areas that are used in the context of Industrial Automation.

Fig. 1.1 Major areas of IT which are used in the context of Industrial Automation.
However, Industrial Automation is distinct from IT in the following senses

A. Industrial Automation also involves significant amount of hardware technologies, related

to Instrumentation and Sensing, Actuation and Drives, Electronics for Signal
Conditioning, Communication and Display, Embedded as well as Stand-alone Computing
Systems etc.
B. As Industrial Automation systems grow more sophisticated in terms of the knowledge
and algorithms they use, as they encompass larger areas of operation comprising several
units or the whole of a factory, or even several of them, and as they integrate
manufacturing with other areas of business, such as, sales and customer care, finance and
the entire supply chain of the business, the usage of IT increases dramatically. However,
the lower level Automation Systems that only deal with individual or , at best, a group of
machines, make less use of IT and more of hardware, electronics and embedded

Apart from the above, there are some other distinguishing features of IT for the factory that
differentiate it with its more ubiquitous counterparts that are used in offices and other business.

A. Industrial information systems are generally reactive in the sense that they receive stimuli
from their universe of discourse and in turn produce responses that stimulate its environment.
Naturally, a crucial component of an industrial information system is its interface to the
B. Most of industrial information systems have to be real-time. By that we mean that the
computation not only has to be correct, but also must be produced in time. An accurate result,
which is not timely may be less preferable than a less accurate result produced in time.
Therefore systems have to be designed with explicit considerations of meeting computing
time deadlines.
C. Many industrial information systems are considered mission-critical, in the sense that the
malfunctioning can bring about catastrophic consequences in terms of loss of human life or
property. Therefore extraordinary care must be exercised during their design to make them
flawless. In spite of that, elaborate mechanisms are often deployed to ensure that any
unforeseen circumstances can also be handled in a predictable manner. Fault-tolerance to
emergencies due to hardware and software faults must often be built in.

Role of automation in industry

Manufacturing processes, basically, produce finished product from raw/unfinishedmaterial

using energy, manpower and equipment and infrastructure.
Since an industry is essentially a “systematic economic activity”, the fundamentalobjective
of any industry is to make profit.
Roughly speaking,
Profit = (Price/unit – Cost/unit) x Production Volume (1) So profit can be
maximised by producing good quality products, which may sell at higher price, in larger
volumes with less production cost and time. Fig 1.2 shows the major parameters that
affect the cost/unt of a mass-manufactured industrial product.
Fig. 1.2 The Components of per unit Manufacturing Cost

Automation can achieve all these in the following ways,

Figure 1.4 shows how overall production time for a product is affected by various factors.
Automation affects all of these factors. Firstly, automated machines have significantly lower
production times. For example, in machine tools, manufacturing a variety of parts, significant
setup times are needed for setting the operational configuration and parameters whenever a
new part is loaded into the machine. This can lead to significant unproductive for expensive
machines when a variety of products is manufactured. In Computer Numerically Controlled
(CNC) Machining Centers set up time is reduced significantly with the help of Automated
Tool Changers, Automatic Control of Machines from a Part Program loaded in the machine
computer. Such a machine is shown in Figure 1.3. The consequent increase in actual metal
cutting time results in reduced capital cost and an increased volume of production.

Fig. 1.3 A CNC Machine with an Automated Tool Changer and the Operator
Console with Display for Programming and Control of the Machine
Fig. 1.4 The major factors that contribute to Overall Production Time

• Similarly, systems such as Automated Guided Vehicles, Industrial Robots, Automated

Crane and Conveyor Systems reduce material handling time.
• Automation also reduces cost of production significantly by efficient usage of energy,
manpower and material.
• The product quality that can be achieved with automated precision machines and
processes cannot be achieved with manual operations. Moreover, since operation is
automated, the same quality would be achieved for thousands of parts with little
• Industrial Products go through their life cycles, which consists of various stages.

• At first, a product is conceived based on Market feedbacks, as well as Research and

Development Activities.
• Once conceived the product is designed. Prototype Manufacturing is generally needed to
prove the design.
• Once the design is proved, Production Planning and Installation must be carried out to
ensure that the necessary resources and strategies for mass manufacturing are in place.
• This is followed by the actual manufacture and quality control activities through which
the product is mass-produced.
• This is followed by a number of commercial activities through which the product is
actually sold in the market.
• Automation also reduces the over all product life cycle i.e., the time required to complete
(i) Product conception and design (ii) Process planning and installation (iii) Various stages
of the product life cycle are shown as in Figure 1.5.

Fig. 1.5 A Typical Industrial Product Life Cycle

Economy of Scale and Economy of Scope

In the context of Industrial Manufacturing Automation, Economy of Scale is defined as follows.

Economy of Scale

Definition: Reduction in cost per unit resulting from increased production, realized
through operational efficiencies. Economies of scale can be accomplished because as
production increases, the cost of producing each additional unit falls.

Obviously, Automation facilitates economy of scale, since, as explained above, it enables

efficient large-scale production. In the modern industrial scenario however, another kind of
economy, called the economy of scope assumes significance.

Economy of Scope

Definition : The situation that arises when the cost of being able manufacture multiple
products simultaneously proves more efficient than that of being able manufacture single
product at a time.
Economy of scope arises in several sectors of manufacturing, but perhaps the most
predominantly in electronic product manufacturing where complete product life cycle, from
conception to market, are executed in a matter of months, if not weeks. Therefore, to shrink the
time to market drastically use of automated tools is mandated in all phases of the product life
cycle. Additionally, since a wide variety of products need to be manufactured within the life
period of a factory, rapid programmability and reconfigurability of machines and processes
becomes a key requirement for commercial success. Such an automated production system also
enables the industry to exploit a much larger market and also protects itself against fluctuations
in demand for a given class of products. Indeed it is being driven by the economy of scope, and
enabled by Industrial Automation Technology that Flexible Manufacturing (i.e. producing
various products with the same machine) has been conceived to increase the scope of
Next let us see the various major kinds of production systems, or factories, exist. This would be
followed by a discussion on the various types of automation systems that are appropriate for each
of these categories.

Types of production systems

Major industrial processes can be categorized as follows based on their scale and scope of

¾ Continuous flow process: Manufactured product is in continuous quantities i.e., the

product is not a discrete object. Moreover, for such processes, the volume of production
is generally very high, while the product variation is relatively low. Typical examples of
such processes include Oil Refineries, Iron and Steel Plants, Cement and Chemical

¾ Mass Manufacturing of Discrete Products: Products are discrete objects and

manufactured in large volumes. Product variation is very limited. Typical examples are
Appliances, Automobiles etc.

¾ Batch Production: In a batch production process the product is either discrete or

continuous. However, the variation in product types is larger than in continuous-flow
processes. The same set of equipment is used to manufacture all the product types.
However for each batch of a given product type a distinct set of operating parameters
must be established. This set is often referred to as the “recipe” for the batch. Typical
examples here would be Pharmaceuticals, Casting Foundries, Plastic moulding, Printing

¾ Job shop Production: Typically designed for manufacturing small quantities of discrete
products, which are custom built, generally according to drawings supplied by customers.
Any variation in the product can be made. Examples include Machine Shops, Prototyping
facilities etc.

The above types of production systems are shown in Figure 1.6 categorized according to
volumes of production and variability in product types. In general, if the quantity of product is
more there is little variation in the product and more varieties of product is manufactured if the
quantity of product is lesser.
Fig. 1.6 Types of Production Systems

Types of Automation Systems

Automation systems can be categorized based on the flexibility and level of integration in
manufacturing process operations. Various automation systems can be classified as follows

¾ Fixed Automation: It is used in high volume production with dedicated equipment, which
has a fixed set of operation and designed to be efficient for this set. Continuous flow and
Discrete Mass Production systems use this automation. e.g. Distillation Process,
Conveyors, Paint Shops, Transfer lines etc. A process using mechanized machinery to
perform fixed and repetitive operations in order to produce a high volume of similar

¾ Programmable Automation: It is used for a changeable sequence of operation and

configuration of the machines using electronic controls. However, non-trivial
programming effort may be needed to reprogram the machine or sequence of operations.
Investment on programmable equipment is less, as production process is not changed
frequently. It is typically used in Batch process where job variety is low and product
volume is medium to high, and sometimes in mass production also. e.g. in Steel Rolling
Mills, Paper Mills etc.

¾ Flexible Automation: It is used in Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) which is

invariably computer controlled. Human operators give high-level commands in the form
of codes entered into computer identifying product and its location in the sequence and
the lower level changes are done automatically. Each production machine receives
settings/instructions from computer. These automatically loads/unloads required tools
and carries out their processing instructions. After processing, products are automatically
transferred to next machine. It is typically used in job shops and batch processes where
product varieties are high and job volumes are medium to low. Such systems typically
use Multi purpose CNC machines, Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) etc.

¾ Integrated Automation: It denotes complete automation of a manufacturing plant, with all

processes functioning under computer control and under coordination through digital
information processing. It includes technologies such as computer-aided design and
manufacturing, computer-aided process planning, computer numerical control machine
tools, flexible machining systems, automated storage and retrieval systems, automated
material handling systems such as robots and automated cranes and conveyors,
computerized scheduling and production control. It may also integrate a business system
through a common database. In other words, it symbolizes full integration of process and
management operations using information and communication technologies. Typical
examples of such technologies are seen in Advanced Process Automation Systems and
Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM)

As can be seen from above, from Fixed Automation to CIM the scope and complexity of
automation systems are increasing. Degree of automation necessary for an individual
manufacturing facility depends on manufacturing and assembly specifications, labor conditions
and competitive pressure, labor cost and work requirements. One must remember that the
investment on automation must be justified by the consequent increase in profitability. To
exemplify, the appropriate contexts for Fixed and Flexible Automation are compared and

Fixed automation is appropriate in the following circumstances.

A. Low variability in product type as also in size, shape, part count and material
B. Predictable and stable demand for 2- to 5-year time period, so that manufacturing
capacity requirement is also stable
C. High production volume desired per unit time
D. Significant cost pressures due to competitive market conditions. So automation systems
should be tuned to perform optimally for the particular product.

Flexible automation, on the other hand is used in the following situations.

A. Significant variability in product type. Product mix requires a combination of different
parts and products to be manufactured from the same production system
B. Product life cycles are short. Frequent upgradation and design modifications alter
production requirements
C. Production volumes are moderate, and demand is not as predictable
Industrial Automation (Review)

Definition of Automation and its relations with fields of Automatic Control and Information
Technology: It is seen that both control and IT are used in automation systems to realize one or
more of its functionalities. Also, while Control Technology is used for operation of the
individual machines and equipment, IT is used for coordination, management and optimized
operation of overall plants.
The role played by Automation in realizing the basic goal of profitability of a manufacturing
industry: It is seen that Automation can increase profitability in multiple ways by reducing
labour, material and energy requirements, by improving quality as well as productivity. It is also
seen that Automation is not only essential to achieve Economy of Scale, but also for Economy of
Types of Factories and Automation Systems that are appropriate for them: Factories have been
classified into four major categories based on the product volumes and product variety. Similarly
Automation Systems are also categorized into four types and their appropriateness for the
various categories of factories explained.

Two mark Question Answers

1. Why does an automated system achieve superior performance compared to a manual one?

Ans: Because such systems can have more precision, more energy and more speed of
operation than possible manually. Moreover using computing techniques, much more
sophisticated and efficient operational solutions can be derived and applied in real-time.

2. Can you give an example where this happens?

Ans: This is the rule. Only few exceptions exist. How many of the millions of industrial
products could be made manually?

3. Can you explain the above definition in the context of a common control system, such as
temperature control in an oven?
Ans: Consider a temperature-controlled oven as found in many kitchens. A careful
examination of the dials would show that one could control the temperature in the oven. This
is a closed loop control operation. One can also control the time for which the oven is kept
on. Note that in both cases the input signal to the process is the applied voltage to the heater
coils. This input signal is varied as required to hold the temperature, by the controller.

4. Is the definition applicable to open-loop as well as closed loop control?

Ans: Yes

5. Can you give an example of an automated system, which contains a control system as a
part of it?
Ans: Many examples can be given. One of these is the following:
In an industrial CNC machine, the motion control of the spindle, the tool holder and the job
table are controlled by a position and speed control system, which, in fact, uses a separate
processor. Another processor is used to manage the other automation aspects.
Another example is that of A pick and place automated robot is used in many industrial
assembly shops. The robot motion can be programmed using a high level interface. The
motion of the robot is controlled using position control systems driving the various joints in
the robotic manipulator.

6. What are the other parts of the system?

Ans: The other functional parts of the CNC System include:

The operator interface, the discrete PLC controls of indicators, lubricant flow control, tool
changing mechanisms.

7. Try to find an example automated system which uses at least one of the areas of Industrial IT
mentioned in Fig. 1.2. (Hint: Try using the internet)

Ans: Distributed Control Systems (DCS) used in many large Continuous-Flow processes
such as Petroleum Refining and Integrated Steel Plants use almost all components of
Industrial IT

8. Can you give an example of an automated system, some of whose parts makes a
significant application of Industrial IT?

Ans: Distributed Control Systems (DCS) used in many large Continuous-Flow processes
such as Petroleum Refining and Integrated Steel Plants use almost all components of
Industrial IT

9. Can you give an example of an automated system, none of whose parts makes a significant
application of Industrial IT?

Ans: An automated conveyor system used in many large Discrete Manufacturing Plants such
as bottled Beverage Plants use no components of Industrial IT.

10. Can you give an example of an automated system, which is reactive in the sense mentioned

Ans: Any feedback controller, such as an industrial PID controller is reactive since it
interacts with sensors and actuators.

11. Can you give an example of an automated system, which is real-time in the sense mentioned

Ans: Any feedback controller, such as an industrial PID controller is real-time, since it has to
compute its output within one sampling time.
12. Can you give an example of an automated system, which is mission-critical in the sense
mentioned above

Ans: An automation system for a Nuclear Power Plant is mission critical since a failure is
unacceptable for such a system.

13. With reference to Eq. (1), explain how the following automation systems improve industrial
Automated Welding Robots for Cars
Automated PCB Assembly Machines
Distributed Control Systems for Petroleum Refineries

Ans: Some of the factors that lead to profitability in each case, are mentioned.
Automated Welding Robots for Cars
Increased production rate, Uniform and accurate welding, Operator safety.
Automated PCB Assembly Machines
Increased production rate, Uniform and accurate placement and soldering
Distributed Control Systems for Petroleum Refineries
Energy efficiency, Improved product quality

14. You give an example of an industry where economy of scope is more significant than the
economy of scale?

Ans: One such example would a job shop which manufactures custom machine parts by
machining according to customer drawings. Another example would be a factory to
manufacture Personal Computer components

15. Can you give an example of an industry where economy of scale is more significant than the
economy of scope?
Ans: One such example would be a Power plant. Another one would be a Steel Plant.

16. During a technical visit to an industry how can you identify the type of automation prevailing
there from among the above types?
Ans: Check for the following.
♦ Whether automatic control exists for majority the equipment

♦ Whether supervisory control is manual, partially automated or largely automated

♦ Whether operator interfaces are computer integrated or not.
♦ Whether communication with individual control units can be done from supervisory
interfaces through computers or not
♦ Whether any information network exists, to which automation system and controllers
are connected
♦ Product variety, product volumes, batch sizes etc.
♦ Whether the material handling systems are automated and if so to what extent.
The type of automation system can be determined based on these information, as
discussed in the lesson.

17. For what kind of a factory would you recommend computer integrated manufacturing
and why?

Ans: For large systems producing sophisticated and expensive products in large volumes
having many subunits to be integrated in complex ways.

18. What kind of automation would you recommend for manufacturing

Light bulbs
Ans: Fixed
Ans: Flexible
Ans: Programmable
Ans: Programmable
Ans: Flexible
Ans: Flexible
Ans: Flexible
Architecture of Industrial
Automation Systems

• To describe the various elements of an Industrial Automation Systems and how they are
organized hierarchically in levels.
• To explain how these levels relate to each other in terms of their functions.
• To describe the nature of technologies involved in realizing these functional levels
• To describe the nature of information processing in these levels and the information flow
among them

The Functional Elements of Industrial Automation

An Industrial Automation System consists of numerous elements that perform a variety of

functions related to Instrumentation, Control, Supervision and Operations Management related to
the industrial process. These elements may also communicate with one another to exchange
information necessary for overall coordination and optimized operation of the
plant/factory/process. Below, we classify the major functional elements typically found in IA
systems and also describe the nature of technologies that are employed to realize the functions.

Sensing and Actuation Elements

These elements interface directly and physically to the process equipment and machines. The
sensing elements translate the physical process signals such as temperature, pressure or
displacement to convenient electrical or pneumatic forms of information, so that these signals can
be used for analysis, decisions and finally, computation of control inputs. These computed control
inputs, which again are in convenient electrical or pneumatic forms of information, need to be
converted to physical process inputs such as, heat, force or flow-rate, before they can be applied
to effect the desired changes in the process outputs. Such physical control inputs are provided by
the actuation elements.

Industrial Sensors and Instrument Systems

Scientific and engineering sensors and instrument systems of a spectacular variety of size, weight,
cost, complexity and technology are used in the modern industry. However, a close look would
reveal that all of them are composed of a set of typical functional elements connected in a
specified way to provide signal in a form necessary. The various tasks involved in the automation
systems. Fig 2.1 below shows the configuration of a typical sensor system.

Fig. 2.1 Functional configuration of a typical sensor system

In Fig. 2.1 a sensor system is shown decomposed into three of its major functional components,
along with the medium in which the measurement takes place. These are described below.
A. The physical medium refers to the object where a physical phenomenon is taking place
and we are interested in the measurement of some physical variable associated with the
phenomenon. Thus, for example, the physical medium may stand for the hotga in a
furnace in the case of temperature measurement or the fluid in a pipe section in the case
of measurement of liquid flow rate.
B. The sensing element is affected by the phenomenon in the physical medium either
through direct or physical contact or through indirect interaction of the phenomenon in
the medium with some component of the sensing element. Again, considering the case of
temperature measurement, one may use a thermocouple probe as the sensing element that
often comes in physical contact with the hot object such as the flue gas out of a boiler-
furnace or an optical pyrometer which compares the brightness of a hot body in the
furnace with that of a lamp from a distance through some window and does not come in
direct contact with the furnace. In the more common case where the sensing element
comes in contact with the medium, often some physical or chemical property of the
sensor changes in response to the measurement variable. This change then becomes a
measure of the physical variable of interest. A typical example is the change in resistivity
due to heat in a resistance thermometer wire. Alternatively, in some other sensors a signal
is directly generated in the sensing element, as is the case of a thermocouple that
generates a voltage in response to a difference in temperature between its two ends.
C. The signal-conditioning element serves the function of altering the nature of the signal
generated by the sensing element. Since the method of converting the nature of the signal
generated in the sensor to another suitable signal form (usually electrical) depends
essentially on the sensor, individual signal conditioning modules are characteristic of a
group of sensing elements. As an example consider a resistance Temperature Detector
(RTD) whose output response is a change in its resistance due to change in temperature
of its environment. This change in resistance can easily be converted to a voltage signal
by incorporating the RTD in one arm of a Wheatstone's bridge. The bridge therefore
serves as a signal-conditioning module. Signal conditioning modules are also used for
special purpose functions relating to specific sensors but not related to variable
conversion such as `ambient referencing' of thermocouples. These typically involve
analog electronic circuits that finally produce electrical signals in the form of voltage or
current in specific ranges.
D. The signal processing element is used to process the signal generated by the first stage
for a variety of purposes such as, filtering (to remove noise), diagnostics (to assess the
health of the sensor), linearisation (to obtain an output which is linearly related with the
physical measurand etc. Signal processing systems are therefore usually more general
purpose in nature.
E. The target signal-handling element may perform a variety of functions depending on the
target application. It may therefore contain data/signal display modules, recording
or/storage modules, or simply a feedback to a process control system. Examples include a
temperature chart recorder, an instrumentation tape recorder, a digital display or an
Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) followed by an interface to a process control

While the above description fits in most cases, it may be possible to discover some variations in
some cases. The above separation into subsystems is not only from a functional point of view,
more often than not, these subsystems are clearly distinguishable physically in a measurement

Modern sensors often have the additional capability of digital communication using serial,
parallel or network communication protocols. Such sensors are called “smart” and contain
embedded digital electronic processing systems.

Industrial Actuator Systems

Actuation systems convert the input signals computed by the control systems into forms that can
be applied to the actual process and would produce the desired variations in the process physical
variables. In the same way as in sensors but in a reverse sense, these systems convert the
controller output, which is essentially information without the power, and in the form of
electrical voltages (or at times pneumatic pressure) in two ways. Firstly it converts the form of
the variable into the appropriate physical variable, such as torque, heat or flow. Secondly it
amplifies the energy level of the signal manifold to be able to causes changes in the process
variables. Thus, while both sensors and actuators cause variable conversions, actuators are high
power devices while sensors are not. It turns out that in most cases, actuators are devices that
first produce motion from electrical signal, which is then further converted to other forms. Based
on the above requirement of energy and variable conversion most actuation systems are are
structured as shown in Fig. 2.2.

Fig. 2.2 Functional configuration of a typical actuator system

In Fig.2.2 an actuator system is shown decomposed into its major functional components, The
salient points about the structure are described below.

A. The electronic signal-processing element accepts the command from the control system
in electrical form. The command is processed in various ways. For example it may be
filtered to avoid applying input signals of certain frequencies that may cause resonance.
Many actuators are themselves closed feedback controlled units for precision of the
actuation operation. Therefore the electronic signal-processing unit often contains the
control system for the actuator itself.
B. The electronic power amplification element sometimes contains linear power
amplification stages called servo-amplifiers. In other cases, it may comprise power
electronic drive circuits such as for motor driven actuators.
C. The variable conversion element serves the function of altering the nature of the signal
generated by the electronic power amplification element from electrical to non-electrical
form, generally in the form of motion. Examples include electrohydraulic servo valve,
stepper/servo motors, Current to Pneumatic Pressure converters etc.
D. The non-electrical power conversion elements are used to amplify power further, if
necessary, typically using hydraulic or pneumatic mechanisms.
E. The non-electrical variable conversion elements may be used further to tranform the
actuated variable in desired forms, often in several stages. Typical examples include
motion-to-flow rate conversion in flow-valves, rotary to linear motion converters using
mechanisms, flow-rate to heat conversion using steam or other hot fluids etc.
F. Other Miscellaneous Elements such as Auxiliaries for Lubrication/Cooling/Filtering,
Reservoirs, Prime Movers etc., sensors for feedback, components for display, remote
operations, as well as safety mechanisms since the power handling level is significantly

Industrial Control Systems

By industrial control systems, we denote the sensors systems, actuator systems as a controller.
Controllers are essentially (predominantly electronic, at times pneumatic/hydraulic) elements
that accept command signals from human operators or Supervisory Systems, as well as feedback
from the process sensors and produce or compute signals that are fed to the actuators. Control
Systems can be classified into two kinds.

Continuous Control

This is also often termed as Automatic Control, Process Control, Feedback Control etc. Here the
controller objective is to provide such inputs to the plant such that the output y(t) follows the
input r(t) as closely as possible, in value and over time. The structure of the common control
loop with its constituent elements, namely the Controller, the Actuator, the Sensor and the
Process itself is shown. In addition the signals that exist at various points of the system are also
marked. These include the command (alternatively termed the set point or the reference signal),
the exogenous inputs (disturbances, noise).
The difficulties in achieving the performance objective is mainly due to the unavoidable
disturbances due to load variation and other external factors, as well as sensor noise, the
complexity, possible instability, uncertainty and variability in the plant dynamics, as well as
limitations in actuator capabilities.
Fig. 2.3 Typical control loop

Most industrial control loop command signals are piecewise constant signals that indicate
desirable levels of process variables, such as temperature, pressure, flow, level etc., which ensure
the quality of the product in Continuous Processes. In some cases, such as in case of motion
control for machining, the command signal may be continuously varying according to the
dimensions of the product. Therefore, here deviation of the output from the command signal
results in degradation of product quality. It is for this reason that the choice of the feedback
signals, that of the controller algorithm (such as, P, PI pr PID), the choice of the control loop
structure (normal feedback loop, cascade loop or feedforward) as well as choice of the controller
gains is extremely important for industrial machines and processes. Typically the control
configurations are well known for a given class of process, however, the choice of controller
gains have to be made from time to time, since the plant operating characteristics changes with
time. This is generally called controller tuning.
A single physical device may act as the controller for one or more control loops (single-
loop/multi-loop controller). Today, many loop controllers supplement typical control laws such
as PID control by offering adaptive control and fuzzy logic algorithms to enhance controller
response and operation. PID and startup self-tuning are among the most important features.
Among other desired and commonly found characteristics are, ability to communicate upward
with supervisory systems, as well as on peer-to-peer networks (such as Fieldbus or DeviceNet),
support for manual control in the event of a failure in the automation. Software is an important
factor in loop controllers. Set-up, monitoring and auto-tuning and alarm software for loop
controllers is now a common feature. The controllers also accept direct interfacing of process
sensors and signals. Choice of inputs includes various types of thermocouples, RTDs, voltage to
10 V dc, or current to 20 mA. While most sophisticated controllers today are electronic,

pneumatic controllers are still being used. Pneumatic controllers are easy to use, easy to
maintain, and virtually indestructible.

Sequence / Logic Control

Many control applications do not involve analog process variables, that is, the ones which can
assume a continuous range of values, but instead variables that are set valued, that is they only
assume values belonging to a finite set. The simplest examples of such variables are binary
variables, that can have either of two possible values, (such as 1 or 0, on or off, open or closed
etc.). These control systems operate by turning on and off switches, motors, valves, and other
devices in response to operating conditions and as a function of time. Such systems are referred
to as sequence/logic control systems. For example, in the operation of transfer lines and
automated assembly machines, sequence control is used to coordinate the various actions of the
production system (e.g., transfer of parts, changing of the tool, feeding of the metal cutting tool,
There are many industrial actuators which have set of command inputs. The control inputs to
these devices only belong to a specific discrete set. For example in the control of a conveyor
system, analog motor control is not applied. Simple on-off control is adequate. Therefore for this
application, the motor-starter actuation system may be considered as discrete having three
modes, namely, start, stop and run. Other examples of such actuators are solenoid valves,
discussed in a subsequent lesson.
Similarly, there are many industrial sensors (such as, Limit Switch / Pressure Switch/ Photo
Switch etc.) which provide discrete outputs which may be interpreted as the presence/absence of
an object in close proximity, passing of parts on a conveyor, or a given pressure value being
higher or lower than a set value. These sensors thus indicate, not the value of a process variable,
but the particular range of values to which the process variable belongs.
A modern controller device used extensively for sequence control today in transfer lines,
robotics, process control, and many other automated systems is the Programmable Logic
Controller (PLC). In essence, a PLC is a special purpose industrial microprocessor based real-
time computing system, which performs the following functions in the context of industrial

Supervisory Control

Supervisory control performs at a hierarchically higher level over the automatic controllers,
which controls smaller subsystems.

Supervisory control systems perform, typically the following functions:

♦ Set point computation: Set points for important process variables are computed depending
on factors such as nature of the product, production volume, mode of processing. This
function has a lot of impact on production volume, energy and quality and efficiency.

♦ Performance Monitoring / Diagnostics: Process variables are monitored to check for

possible system component failure, control loop detuning, actuator saturation, process
parameter change etc. The results are displayed and possibly archived for subsequent
♦ Start up / Shut down / Emergency Operations : Special discrete and continuous control
modes are initiated to carry out the intended operation, either in response to operator
commands or in response to diagnostic events such as detected failure modes.
♦ Control Reconfiguration / Tuning: Structural or Parametric redesign of control loops are
carried out, either in response to operator commands or in response to diagnostic events
such as detected failure modes. Control reconfigurations may also be necessary to
accommodate variation of feedback or energy input e.g. gas fired to oil fired.
♦ Operator Interface: Graphical interfaces for supervisory operators are provided, for manual
supervision and intervention.

Naturally, these systems are dependent on specific application processes, in contrast with
automatic control algorithms, which are usually generic (e.g. PID). Computationally these are a
mixture of hard and soft real time algorithms. These are also often very expensive and based on
proprietary knowledge of automating specific classes of industrial plants.

Level 3: Production Control

Production control performs at a hierarchically higher level over the supervisory controllers.
Typical functions they perform are:

♦ Process Scheduling: Depending on the sequence of operations to be carried on the

existing batches of products, processing resource availability for optimal resource

♦ Maintenance Management: Decision processes related to detection and deployment of

maintenance operations.
♦ Inventory Management: Decision processes related to monitoring of inventory status
of raw material, finished goods etc. and deployment of operations related to their
♦ Quality Management : Assessment, Documentation and Management of Quality

Typically, the algorithms make use of Resource Optimisation Technology and are non-real-
time although they may be using production data on-line.

The Architecture of Elements: The Automation Pyramid

Industrial automation systems are very complex having large number of devices with
confluence of technologies working in synchronization. In order to know the performance of
the system we need to understand the various parts of the system. Industrial automation
systems are organized hierarchially as shown in the following figure.
Various components in an industrial automation system can be explained using the automation
pyramid as shown above. Here, various layers represent the wideness ( in the sense of no. of
devices ), and fastness of components on the time-scale.
Sensors and Acuators Layer: This layer is closest to the proceses and machines, used to
translate signals sothat signals can be derived from processes for analysis and decisions and
hence control signals can be applied to the processes. This forms the base layer of the pyramid
also called ‘level 0’ layer.
Automatic Control Layer: This layer consists of automatic control and monitoring systems,
which drive the actuators using the process information given by sensors. This is called as ‘level
1’ layer.
Supervisory Control Layer: This layer drives the automatic control system by setting target/goal
to the controller. Supervisory Control looks after the equipment, which may consis of several
control loops. This is called as ‘level 2’ layer.
Production Control Layer: This solves the decision problems like production targets, resource
allocation, task allocation to machines, maintenance management etc. This is called ‘level 3’
Enterprise control layer: This deals less technical and more commercial activities like supply,
demand, cash flow, product marketing etc. This is called as the ‘level 4’ layer.

The spatial scale increases as the level is increased e.g. at lowest level a sensor works in a
single loop, but there exists many sensors in an automation system which will be visible as the
level is increased. The lowest level is faster in the time scale and the higher levels are slower.
The aggregation of information over some time interval is taken at higher levels.
All the above layers are connected by various types of communication systems. For example the
sensors and actuators may be connected to the automatic controllers using a point-to-point digital
communication, while the automatic controllers themselves may be connected with the
supervisory and production control systems using computer networks. Some of these networks
may be proprietary. Over the last decade, with emergence of embedded electronics and
computing, standards for low level network standards (CANBus, Fieldbus etc.) for
communication with low level devices, such as sensors and actuators are also emerging.

A concrete example of the Automation Functionality in a large manufacturing plant is presented

in the appendix below. The appendix reveals the nature of functionality expected in modern
automation systems, the elements that are used to realise them, and the figures of merit for such
systems. The learner is encouraged to study it.

An Example Industrial Specification for Automatic and Supervisory Level Automation


This appendix contains the specification of a section of a Cold Rolling Mill complex, referred to
here as PL -TCM which stands for Pickling Line and Tandem Control Mill. Such specification
documents are prepared when automation systems for industrial plants are procured and
installed. The document captures the visualisation of automation functionality of the customer.
Here basic level refers to the automatic control supervisory control levels, while process control
level refers to a level. Some of the terms and concepts described below have been discussed in
subsequent lessons.

Platforms: The above levels of controls shall be achieved through programmable controllers
PLCs, micro-processor based systems as well as PCs / Work stations, as required.

Each of the automation systems of the PL-TCM shall be subdivided in accordance with the
functional requirements and shall cover the open loop and closed loop control functions of the
different sections of the line and the mill.

Modes of Operation: The systems shall basically have two modes of operation. In the semi-
automatic mode the set point values shall be entered manually for different sections of the line
through VDU and the processors shall transmit these values to the controls in proper time
sequence. In fully automatic mode the process control system shall calculate all set point values
through mathematical models and transfer the same to the subordinate systems over data link.

The functions to be performed by the basic level automation shall cover but not be limited to
the following.

Functionality at Basic Level: The Basic Level shall cover control of all equipment, sequencing,
interlocking micro-tracking of strip for specific functions, dedicated technological functions,
storage of rolling schedules and look-up tables, fault and event logging etc. Some of these are
mentioned below.

♦ All interlocking and sequencing control of the machinery such as for entry and exit
handling of strips, shear control etc. Interlocking, sequencing, switching controls of the
machines. This shall also cover automatic coil handling at the entry and exit sides,
automatic sequencial operation of welding/rewelding machine and strip threading
sequence control as well as for acid regeneration plant.
♦ Calculation of coil diameter and width at the entry pay-off reels.
♦ Position control of coil ears for centrally placing of coils on the mandrels.
♦ Generation of master speed references for the line depending on operator's input and line
conditions and down loading to drive control systems.
♦ Speed synchronising control of the drives, as required.
♦ Strip tenstion, position and catenary control through control of related drives and

♦ Initiation of centre position control for Power Operated Rolls, steering/dancer rolls; Looper
car position control. Automatic pre-setting control, measurement and control of tension
and elongation for tension leveller. Auto edge position control at tension reels if required.

♦ Control of entry shear for auto-cutting of off-gauge strip.

♦ Control of pickling parameters for correct pickling with varying speed of strip in the
pickling section.
♦ Side trimmer automatic setting contro.
♦ Interlockings, sequencing and control of scrap baller, if provided.
♦ Auto calibration for position control/precision positioning shall be provided as necessary.
♦ Manual/Auto slowdown/stoppage of strip at weld point at tension leveller, side trimmer,
mill and exit shear.
♦ Control of technological functions for tandem mill such as :
o Automatic gauge control along with interst and tension control.
o Shape control
o Roll force control
♦ Storage of tandem mill rolling schedules, for the entire product mix and all possible
variations. Suitable look-up tables as operators guidance for line/equipment setting.
♦ Automatic roll changing along with automatic spindle positioning.

♦ Constant pass line control based on roll wear as well as after roll change.
♦ Automatic control of rotary shear before tension rells.
♦ Automatic sequence control of inspection reel.
♦ Provision of manual slow down/stoppage of strip as well as chearing for `run' for
inspection of defects at tension leveller, side trimmer entry and exit of the Tandem Mill
throuth push button stations.
♦ Micro-tracking of strip and flying gauge change (set point change) for continuous operation
with varying strip sizes.
♦ Setting up the mill either from the stored rollings schedule with facility for modification by
the operator of down-loading from process control level system.
♦ Automatic control of in-line coil weighing, marking and circumferential banding after
delivery tension reels.
Supervisory Functions at Basic Level: Centralised supervisory and monitoring control system
shall be provided under basic level automation with dedicated processors and MMI. All
necessary signals shall be acquired through drive control system as well as directly from the
sensors/instruments as, required. The system shall be capable of carrying out the following

♦ Centralised switching and start up of various line drives and auxiliary systems through
mimic displays.
♦ Status of plant drives and electrical equipment for displaying maintenance information.
♦ Monitoring and display of measured values for tandem mill main drives and other
large capacity drives such as winding temperature, for alarm and trip conditions.
♦ Centralised switching and status indication of 33 kV and 6.6 kV switchboards.
♦ Display of single line diagram of 33 kV and 6.6 kV switchboards, main drives, in-line
auxiliary drives etc.
♦ Acquisition of fault signals from various sections of the plant with facility for display and
print-out of the fault messages in clear text.

Comprehensive diagnostic functions

Functionality at Process Control Level: The Process Control Level shall be responsible for
computation and control for optimization of operation .Functions like set point generation
using mathematical models, learning control, material tracking within the process line/unit
including primary data input, real time control of process functions through basic level
automation, generation of reports etc. shall be implemented through this level of automation.
Some of the specific functions to be performed by the process control level automation are the

♦ Coil strip tracking inside the process line/unit by sensing punched holes at weld seams.
♦ Primary Data Input (PDI) of coils at entry to PL-TCM with provision for down loading of
data from production control level.
♦ Generation of all operating set points for the mill using PDI data, mill model, roll force
model, power model, strip thickness control model, shape/profile control model with
thermal strip flatness control as well as for other sections of the line.
♦ Learning (Adaptive) control using actual data and the mathematical model for set-up
♦ Storage of position setting values of levellers, side trimmer. Input of strip flaw data
manually through inspection panel at the inline inspection facility after side trimmer.
♦ Processing of actual data on rolling operation, generation of reports logs and sending data
to production control level.

Information System Functions: The information system shall generally comply with the
following features.

♦ Data of importance shall be available with the concerned personnel in the form of logs and
♦ Output of logs and reports at preset times or on occurance of certain events.
♦ It shall be possible to change the data items and log formats without undue interference to
the system.
♦ Logged information shall be stored for adequate time period ensuring the availability of
historical data record.
♦ Data captured by the system shall be checked for integrity with respect to their validity and
plausibility with annunciation.

Man Machine Interface: The visualisation system for both the automation levels shall be
through man-machine interface (MMI) for the control and operation of the complete line. The
system shall display the following screens, with facilities for hard copy print out.

♦ Process mimics for the complete line using various screens with status information of all
important in-line drives as well as the references and actual values of important
♦ Dynamic information’s in form of bar graph for indication of reference and actual values
of important parameters.
♦ Screens providing trends of the important process variables.
♦ Acquisition of actual parameters (averaging/maximum/minimum) for the complete line, on
coil to coil basis through weld seam tracking or TCM exit shear cut for the generation of
logs on process/parameters and production.

Standards: The programmable controllers and other micro processor based equipment offered
shall generally be designed/structured, manufactured and tested in accordance with the
guidelines laid down in IEC-1131 (Part 2) apart from the industry standards being adopted by the
respective manufactures.

Hardware: The hardware of each basic controller/equipment of a system will generally

comprise main processing unit, memory units, stabilised power supply unit, necessary
communication interface modules, auxiliary storage where required. I/O modules in the main
equipment, remote I/O stations where required and the programming and debugging tool
(PADT). The hardware and software structure shall be modular to meet wide range of
technological requirements. I/Os shall be freely configurable depending on the requirement. The
programming units shall preferable be lap-top type.

Networking: The networking would conform to the following specifications.

¾ In each of the two automation levels, all the controllers of a system shall be connected as
a node over suitable data bus forming a LAN system using standardised hardware and
¾ The LAN system shall be in line with ISO-Open system Interconnect.
¾ All drive level automation equipment shall be suitably linked with the basic level for
effective data/signal exchange between the two levels. However, all the emergency and
safety signals shall be directly hardwired to the respective controllers.
¾ Similarly, the LAN systems for the basic level and process control level shall be suitably
linked through suitable bridge/interface for effective data/signal exchange. Provision
shall also be made for interfacing suitably the process control level with the production
level automation system specified in item

¾ The data highways shall be designed to be optimally loaded and the same shall be clearly
indicated in the offer.
¾ The remote I/Os, the microprocessor based measuring instruments and the micro-
processor based special machines like coil weighing, marking and circumferantial
banding machines shall be connected over serial links with the respective controllers.
¾ The personal computers and work stations shall be connected as a LAN system of the
corresponding level.

Data and Visualisation: The following specifications would apply in respect of data security,
validity and its proper visualisation.

♦ All the operator interfaces comprising colour VDU and keyboard as MMI for interacting
with the respective system and located at strategic locations, shall be connected to the
corresponding LAN system.
♦ Keylock/password shall be provided to prevent unauthorised entry.
♦ Entry validity and plansibility check shall also be incorporated.
♦ An Engineer's console comprising of necessary processor, color VDU, keyboard/mouse
and a printer unit shall be provided for the automation systems. The console shall have
necessary hardware and software of communicating with the LAN and shall have access
to the complete system. Basic functions of this console shall be off-line data base
configuration, programme development, documentation etc.

Application Software: The application software shall be through functional block type software
modules as well as high level language based software modules. The software shall be user
friendly and provided with help functions etc. Only one type of programming language shall be
used for the complete system. However, ladder type programming language may be used for
simple logical functions. Only industrially debugged and tested software shall be provided.

Basis of System Selection

Future Expandibility: The selection of equipment, standard software and networking shall be
such as to offer optimum flexibility for future expansion without affecting the system reliability.
Fault Tolerance: The system shall be designed to operate in automatic or semi automatic mode
of operation under failure conditions.
Spare Capacity: The system shall have sufficient capacity to perform all functions as required. A
minimum of 30 per cent of the total memory shall be kept unallocated for future use.
Loading: The data highway shall be designed to be optimally loaded and the same shall be
clearly indicated in the offer.
Software Structure and Quality Programs: shall be in high level language that is effective and
economical for the proposed system in respect of Modularisation, rate of coding, store usage and
running time. The software structure of the system shall besuitably distributed/centralised for
supervision and control of the related process areas following the state of the
Integration: The communication software shall be such that the systems shall be able to
communicate independently among themselves as well as with the lower level Basic
Control/Process control automation system, as required. Provision shall be made for interfacing
the production control system with the higher level Business Computer system to be provided for
the entire steel plant in future.
Programmability: The information system shall generally be designed such that it shall be
possible to change the data items and log formats without undue interference to the system.
Data Integrity and Protection: Logged information shall be stored for adequate time period
ensuring the availability of historical data record. Data captured by the system shall be checked
for integrity with respect to their validity and plausibility with annunciation. Storing of essential
data to be protected against corruption when the system loses power supply or during failure.

Two Mark Question Answers

1.Draw the functional block diagram of a typical sensor system

Ans: The diagram is given in Fig. the lesson.

2.Consider a strain-gage weigh bridge. Explore and identify the subsystems of the bridge and
categorise these subsystems into the above mentioned classes of elements mentioned above

Ans: A strain gage weighbridge contains the weighing platform and pillar, which senses the
weight and produces a proportional strain (sensing element 1). This strain is sensed by a
strain-gage which produces a proportional change in resistance (sensing element 2). The gage
is incorporated into a Wheatstone’s bridge circuit (Signal conditioning) which generates a
proportional unbalanced voltage.

3.Draw the functional block diagram of an actuator system

Ans: The diagram is given in Fig. the lesson.

4.Consider an electro-hydraulic servo-valve actuator. Explore and identify the subsystems of the
actuator and categorise these subsystems into the above-mentioned classes of elements
mentioned above.
Ans: An electrohydraulic servo valve is driven by current through a solenoid, which moves
the spool of the valve, by applying a voltage across it. The voltage is derived by an electronic
controller (electronic signal processing element), which gives a voltage input that is
amplified by a servo amplifier (electronic power amplification element). The force due to the
current produces motion of the spool (variable conversion element), which is converted to
pressure (non electrical power conversion element) within the servo valve and applied to the
final control element. Miscellaneous elements, such hydraulic system auxiliaries, indicators
etc. are also present

5.Draw the block diagram of a typical industrial control system

Ans: The diagram is given in Fig. 2.3 in the lesson.

6.Consider a motor driven position control system, as commonly found in CNC Machine drives.
Identify the main feedback sensors in the system. Identify the major sources of disturbance. How
is such a drive different from that of an automated conveyor system?
Ans: Many examples can be given. One of these is the following:

In an industrial CNC machine, the motion control of the spindle, the tool holder and the job table
are controlled by a position and speed control system, which, in fact, uses a position sensor such
as shaft angle encoder or resolver, speed sensors such analog or digital tachometers and current
sensors such Hall-effect sensors.
The major sources of disturbances are changes in load torque arising in the machine due to
material inhomogenity, tool wear etc.
While both drives use motors for creating displacements, conveyor drives have very little
demand on position and speed accuracy requirements. On the contrary there are very stringent
requirement on these in the case of the CNC Machine.

7.State the major aspect in which sequence/logic control systems differ from analog control

Ans: The two major aspects in which they differ is in the nature of sensor inputs and the actuator
outputs. These are discrete elements in the case of logic Control (on-off, low-high-medium etc.)
and continuous valued in case of analog control. Similarly for actuator output (motor start/stop).
The controller outputs are generally functions of inputs and feedback.

8.Describe an industrial system that employs discrete sensors and discrete actuators.

Ans: There are many such systems. For example a diecasting process is shown below. This
process example is dealt with further in other lessons.

Industrial Example

The die stamping process is shown in figure below. This process consists of a metal stamping die
fixed to the end of a piston. The piston is extended to stamp a work piece and retracted to allow
the work piece to be removed. The process has 2 actuators: an up solenoid and a down solenoid,
which respectively control the hydraulics for the extension and retraction of the stamping piston
and die. The process also has 2 sensors: an upper limit switch that indicates when the piston is
fully retracted and a lower limit switch that indicates when the piston is fully extended. Lastly,
the process has a master switch which is used to start the process and to shut it down.

control computer for the process has 3 inputs (2 from the limit sensors and 1 from the master
switch) and controls 2 outputs (1 to each actuator solenoid).

9.State three major functions of a Supervisory Control System

Ans: Three major functions are:

A. Set point generation
B. Process Monitoring
C. Operator Interface
10. Consider the motor driven automatic position control system, as commonly found in CNC
Machine drives. Explore and find out from where such systems get their set points during
machining. Identify some of the other functionalities
Ans: A separate processor is used to manage the above supervisory control aspects.

11. State three major functions of a Production Control System

Ans: Mentioned in text, they are

1. Process Scheduling
2. Maintenance Management,
3. Inventory Management
12. Explore and find out concrete activities for production control under at least two of the
above major functions in any typical factory such as a Power Plants or a Steel Plant.
Ans: Power plants do not have product variety. However, heavy maintenance activity goes
on round the year. There is also significant inventory management for the Coal Yard.

13. Draw the Automation Pyramid and identify the Layers

Ans: The diagram is given in Fig. the lesson.

14. Give examples of the above major functional layers in any typical factory.
Ans: The answer to this question is given in detail in the appendix for a section of a
large rolling mill.
15. State three major functions of Supervisory Control mentioned in the lesson that have also
been mentioned in the Automation System for the PL-TCM.
Ans: The answer to this question is given in detail in the appendix for a section of a large
rolling mill. In brief three major functions are :
♦ Centralised switching and start up
♦ Monitoring and display of measured values ♦
Comprehensive diagnostic functions

16. State three major figures of merit for an Automation System mentioned in the appendix
Ans: Integration, Programmability, Fault tolerance