Course unit code:
Course unit title:
Technical Means of Automation I
Mode of completion and Number of ECTS credits:
Exm (5 credits)
Course supervisor:
doc. Ing. Radoslav Paulen, PhD.
Name of lecturer(s):
D. Dzurková, M. Furka, M. Kalúz (2022/2023 – Winter)
P. Bakaráč, M. Furka, M. Kalúz, R. Valo (2021/2022 – Winter)
Learning outcomes of the course unit:
By completing this course, the students have gained the knowledge about the components of automated control systems. Students know the types and operational principles of sensors and actuators, and can select particular sensor or actuator for specific application or physical conditions. Students master the use of programmable logic controllers and design of programs for control systems. Students also gained practical skills in electrical engineering for automation, including electrical wiring and configuration of sensors, actuators, PLCs, signal conversion and processing, and fault diagnostics.
Prerequisites for registration:
Course contents:

The course is divided into three main parts. The first is dedicated to common types of sensing instruments and their principles of operation. Students will get acquainted with electric signals, characteristics of sensors, temperature sensors, pressure sensors, measurement of mechanics and physical properties of fluids, RC circuits, noise filters, and discrete input elements of automated systems. The second part is dedicated to actuators and drives. Students will learn about construction and operation principles of motors (DC and AC), motor control via power modulation, selection of motor for specific applications, and also about motorized actuators such as valves and pumps. The third part is dedicated to the basics of work with programmable logic controllers.

Introduction to course, basics of electricity, safety (2/2)
Sensors - measurement of process quantities (10/10)
Static and dynamic characteristics of sensors - measuring range, sensitivity, offset and drift, precision and accuracy, resolution, linearity, hysteresis, stability, measurement errors, dynamic responses of sensors, sampling frequency.
Temperature sensors - bi-metal sensors and actuators, liquid and gas thermometers, thermistors, resistive temperature detectors, thermocouples, transducers, and transmitters.
Pressure sensors - types according to a measuring range, manometers, mechanical pressure sensors, strain gauges, load cells, diaphragm capacitive and strain pressure sensors, vibronic pressure sensors.
RC circuits and noise filters - harmonic signals in time and frequency domain, useful signal, noise, RC circuits, transfer function of 1st order RC low-pass filter, Bode magnitude plot, design of filter for noise suppression.
Measurement of mechanics and physical properties of fluids - point-level and continuous level sensors: floats and displacers, electromechanical switches, hydrostatic pressure sensors, capacitive level measurement, time-of-flight level sensors; flow measurement: differential pressure flow meters, electromagnetic flow meters, Coriolis principle, ultrasound flow meters, vortex flow meters, variable area and volumetric flow meters, thermal flow meters.

Actuators and drives - control of technological processes (6/6)
DC motors - electromagnetism; force and quantities of rotary motion; electric power and efficiency; important properties of motors; brushed and brushless DC motor; relation between voltage, speed, and torque of DC motor; speed control; pulse width modulation; servo motors; stepper motors.
AC motors - single/three phase alternating current; AC generator; rated AC voltage; single phase and three phase induction motor; synchronous motor; speed of AC motors; control of AC motors; variable frequency drives.
Valves and pumps - Valves: rotary element valves, globe valves, solenoid valves, types of actuators, important properties of valves, pressure loss and pressure recovery, water hammer; Pumps: roto-dynamic pumps, positive displacement pumps, important properties of pumps, pump and pipe characteristics, cavitation, selection of a pump.

Industrial control systems (8/8)
Introduction to digital control systems - Boolean algebra, logical and arithmetic operations.
Programmable logic controllers (PLC) - types of PLCs, properties of PLCs, principle of operation, hardware architecture, I/O modules, physical and logical types of memory, memory manipulation and addressing, data types in PLC, operation cycle.
PLC programming, ladder logic and ladder diagrams - basic elements of ladder logic (LAD), logical operations in LAD, set/reset blocks, timers, counters, mathematics in PLC, data management, operations with data, mathematical functions.
Program organization in PLC - architecture of PLC's operating system, organization blocks and their execution priority, function and data blocks, control of technological processes using an organized program.

Recommended or required reading:
  • KUPHALDT, T.R.; Lessons In Industrial Instrumentation, 2019, (publikované ako voľne dostupný text pod Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License), dostupné online (
Planned learning activities and teaching methods:
Contact teaching: lectures - 26h laboratory practice - 26h Contactless teaching: preparation for lectures and laboratory practice (study of literature, calculations) - 20h preparation for tests - 8h reports preparing - 20h preparation for the exam - 25h
Assesment methods and criteria:
The final grade consists of an evaluation of reports from laboratory practice with a weight of 30%, evaluation of two tests with a weight of 30% and an evaluation of final exam with a weight of 40%. The final grade is given by the Study rules of the STU. To obtain credits for the subject, the student has to reach at least 56% of the maximum number of points.
Language of instruction:
Slovak, English
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