Industrial Process Automation

Academic year
Subject Area
Robotics, Control and Systems
Language of Instruction
Other Languages of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

Computer Programming; Data Structures and Algorithms

Teaching Methods

Lecture classes with detailed presentation of the topics of the syllabus using audiovisual means.

Theoretical-practical classes to solve practical exercises related with PLCs programming, and modeling and analysis of industrial process automation and discrete event dynamic systems in general.

Laboratory classes in which students execute small projects involving the design and implementation of automata for industrial processes using PLCs.

Learning Outcomes

The course aims to develop in the students skills needed to solve problems of industrial process automation. With this purpose, nuclear topics in the area are addressed, namely the programming languages for programmable logic controllers (PLCs) according to the standard IEC-61131-3; modeling and analysis of industrial automation systems and discrete event dynamic systems (DEDS) in general using automata and Petri nets; the analysis and synthesis of DEDS in the form of supervisory controllers realizable in industrial devices; industrial communication networks. The emerging paradigm "Industry 4.0", leading to a growing digitalization and customization of industry, is introduced.

Work Placement(s)



1. Introduction to industrial process automation


2. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)

            Features, architecture and operation.


3. Standard programming languages for PLCs: standard IEC-61131-3

            Ladder Diagrams, Instruction List, Structured Text and Grafcet (Sequential Function Chart).


4. Modeling and analysis of Discrete Event Dynamic Systems (DEDS)

            Theoretical formulation. Automata. Petri Nets: properties, analysis, decidability, simulation.

            Complementary features of Grafcets and Petri Nets.


5. Supervision of industrial automation systems and DEDS

            Industrial human-machine interfaces and SCADA.

            Supervisory control of DEDS.


6. Industrial communication networks

            Fieldbus: Profibus; CAN; CANopen.

            Industrial Ethernet: Modbus/TCP; Profinet.

            Wireless industrial networks based on IEEE 802.11 and IEEE 802.15.4.


7. Digital manufacturing and industry 4.0

            Introduction to “Industry 4.0” paradigm.

            Industrial Internet of Things.

            Collaborative robots. 

Head Lecturer(s)

Rui Paulo Pinto da Rocha

Assessment Methods

Laboratory work or Field work: 20.0%
Exam: 40.0%
Frequency: 40.0%


Mikell P. Groover, “Automation, Production Systems, and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing”, 5th Edition, Pearson, 2019. ISBN: 978-0134605463


William Bolton, “Programmable Logic Controllers”, 6th ed., O’Reilly, 2015. ISBN: 978-0128029299


Christos G. Cassandras, Stéphane Lafortune, “Introduction to Discrete Event Systems", Kluwer / Springer, 1999. ISBN: 978-0387333328

COTA:  UCFCT Biblioteca do Polo II, C0300-CAS/B


James Lyle Peterson, “Petri Net Theory and the Modelling of Systems", Prentice-Hall, 1981. ISBN: 978-0136619833

COTA:  UCFCT Biblioteca do Polo II, 1-2-1


Richard Zurawski (editor), “The Industrial Communication Technology Handbook”, 2nd ed., Industrial Information Technology series, CRC press, 2017. ISBN: 978-1138071810


Klaus Schwab, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, Currency, 2017. ISBN: 978-1524758868