IO (Implement and Operate) First in an Automatic Control Context

IO (Implement and Operate) First in an Automatic Control Context

S. Gunnarsson, Y. Jung, C. Veibäck, T. Glad (2016).  IO (Implement and Operate) First in an Automatic Control Context. 12.

According to the CDIO framework, [1], the goal of engineering education is that every graduating engineer should be able to:

Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate complex value-added engineering products, processes, and systems in a modern, team-based environment.

Traditionally a course in an engineering discipline starts with the theoretical basis, continues with design methods, and sometimes ends with some type of implementation, while the Operate phase seldom is covered. This paper presents a course in Automatic Control [2] given at Linköping University, where the aim of the course is to put emphasis on the Implement and Operate phases. The core of the execution and examination of the course consists of three big laboratory exercises and a small project. The course relies on three main components: • An implementation task to be carried out using real industrial hardware

• Means to include various aspects of the Operate phase. • Learning activities with strong emphasis on active learning. Implement The task is to implement a control system in an industrial PLC (Programmable Logic Controller), and involves a number of aspects such as: • Programming using so called ladder diagrams. • Handling of integer arithmetic. • Truncation of the control signal and implementation of so called anti windup mechanism. • Use of different updating frequencies for different parts of the control systems. Operate The Operate phase involves the development of an operator interface and the creation of an operator’s manual. The interface is required to comprise the following features: • Display of the tank levels, both graphically and via numerical values. • An alarm that turns on a red light when any of the two levels exceeds 80 % of the maximum level. • A mechanism that turns off the pump when either of the levels exceeds 90 % of the maximum level. • Sliders, buttons and text fields that enable tuning of the coefficients of the control system. • Graphs showing the current value and time history of relevant signals. The operator manual is expected to present the following aspects: • A brief description of the entire system • A thorough presentation of the operator interface. • A description of one method for tuning of the parameters in the control system. • The manual should be a report of good quality.

Learning activities For each laboratory exercise the structure of the learning activities is as follows: • Introductory lecture presenting background material. • Problem solving session dealing with problems related to the laboratory tasks. • Independent work with preparation tasks. • Helpdesk-sessions, where the students are expected to present their solutions to the preparation tasks. • An initial, scheduled, and supervised session in the laboratory. • Independent work in the laboratory. • Demonstration of the working solution to the supervisor.

In the paper there will be a thorough description of the course including the learning objectives with reference to the CDIO Syllabus [3], comparison with similar courses, description of the learning activities, the hardware and software components, student feedback, etc.


[1] E. Crawley, J. Malmqvist, S. Östlund, D. Brodeur, and K. Edström. Rethinking Engineering Education. The CDIO Approach. Springer. 2nd edition, 2014. [2] [3] The CDIO Syllabus.

Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku, Finland, June 12-16 2016

Authors (New): 
Svante Gunnarsson
Ylva Jung
Clas Veibäck
Torkel Glad
Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Active learning
laboratory exercise
operator interface
CDIO Standard 7
CDIO Standard 8
CDIO Standard 11
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