Objectives and Syllabus

Introduces sequence and batch control and provides a systems approach to the design, development, testing and management of application software. Topics covered are - sequence control; discrete signals, IEC 61131 sequence structures and constructs, interface to function blocks for analogue control, identification and design of sequences, parameter lists: batch control; multi- stream, -product & -purpose plants, S88 standard, recipes, equipment & procedural models, process & activity models, relationships between models & decomposition, shared equipment & contention handling, reporting: project engineering; project life cycle, feasibility studies, requirements specifications, tender analysis & supplier selection, functional specification & software life cycle, STARTS & TickIT, structured programming concepts, CASE tools, test methods, commissioning & site acceptance, project planning, monitoring & metrication: software QA; ISO9000, GAMP, statutory requirements, validation, procedures for project & quality plans, change control.

Informal group exercises, case studies and demonstrations are used to provide a practical basis to the lecture content.

Module Details
Code: CME 8372 (formerly ACS 672)
Time Allocation: Lectures 40 hours
Assignments 40 hours
Private Study 70 hours
Prerequisites: First degree or equivalent in an appropriate discipline


7.5 credits


By report on assignment
By 1 x 2 hour examination
Advanced Process Automation


To develop an understanding of the nature of batch processing and of the issues involved in specifying requirements and developing application software for batch process control in relation to the structures and terminology of the relevant IEC standards.


  • To develop a deep understanding of the application of statistical techniques to process control.  
  • To study relational databases and the concepts upon which they are based. 
  • To become familiar with the principles of computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) systems and production management. 
  • To introduce the use of real-time databases for decision support. 
  • To provide an introduction to linear programming as a basis for the CME 8390 module on Optimisation and Scheduling. 
  • To provide an introduction to some of the technologies involved in the CME 8386 module on Fuzzy, Neural and Expert Systems.


It is desirable, but not essential, that students have completed (or have some familiarity with the material covered in) the Control Schemes and Strategies (CME 8376) and the Control System Technology (CME 8378) modules before doing this one.

Study Modes

This module is of one week's full-time intensive study consisting of a variety of formal lectures, a substantive case study and demonstrations.  It is followed by an assignment to be carried out in the student’s own time.


The time allocation for practical work provides for hands-on experience of querying databases using SQL.

Recommended Texts

  • Fisher T,  Batch Control Systems: Design, Application and Implementation,  ISA,  Carolina,  1990. 
  • Fleming D W & Pillai V,  S88 Implementation Guide,  McGraw Hill,  1998. 
  • Lewis R W,  Programming Industrial Control Systems using IEC 1131-3,  IEE,  London,  Revised Edition,  1998. 
  • Love J,  Process Automation Handbook,  Springer Verlag,  2007
  • Parshall J & Lamb L,  Applying S88: Batch Control from a User’s Perspective,  pub ISA,  2000.
    Sawyer P, Computer Controlled Batch Processing,  pub by IChemE,  1993

Topics Included

Batch processing.  Distinction between batch, semi-batch and continuous processes.  Examples of batch plant: weigh vessels, filters, reactors, etc.  Examples of batch processes: distillation, etc.  Plant structures: multi-stream, multi-products and multi-purpose plant.  Shared equipment.  Processing cells and flexibility.  Parallel and sequential operations.  Sequencing as a time series of events.  Safety issues and concept of hold/safe states.  Automatic start-up and shut-down.

Sequence control:  Role of discrete signals for status, safety, isolation, etc.  Confirmation of status.  Concepts of sequence logic.  Absolute, lapsed and implicit timing.  The IEC 61131 Standard (Part 3).  Datatyping and structured text.  Worked example on a charging operation.  Decision trees and tables.  Indirect addressing and parameter lists.  Real time execution of sequences.  Sequential function charts (SFC).  Sequence structures: phases, steps and transitions, actions and qualifiers.  Parallelism.  Interface between sequencing and function blocks for analogue control.  Pros and cons of procedural vs configurable approaches.

Batch automation:  The IEC 61512 Standard (ISA SP 88) and standard terminology.  Plant structures and physical (equipment) models.  Major equipment items (MEI) as units and constraints on unit boundaries.  Shared resources and contention handling, eg inter-vessel transfers.  Process models.  Procedural models and structures.  Constraints on operation and phase boundaries.  Configurability of phases.  Design for common and parallel operations.  Batch failure and recovery options.  Recipe models: types and translation.  Activity models: recipe, batch and unit management, reporting, production planning and scheduling, etc.  Mapping between models.  Case study on model decomposition.  Demonstration of functionality of proprietary batch automation system.

Projects:  Batch specific aspects of application software projects:  Feasibility studies.  Economics of automation: costs and benefits.  Turnkey projects and time scales.  Software life cycle and “waterfall” model.  User requirements specification (URS): information to be provided, commercial considerations etc.  Tender generation and compliance commentary.  Tender analysis and supplier selection.  Detailed f unctional specification (DFS): methodology, participants, documentation.  Software design and mapping of requirements into IEC 61131 and 61512 constructs.  Design walkthroughs.  Structured development and programming concepts, eg Yourdon.  CASE tools for development and IPSE for support.  Coding, testing, verification, integration and acceptance.  Test methods, including model based testing.  Integration of third party software.  Commissioning: functional testing of instrumentation, plant interfaces and applications software.  Site acceptance.  Project planning: effort estimates, software management and programmer efficiency.  Progress mo nitoring and “metrication”.  Maintenance and upgrades.  Replacement.

Software QA: The ISO 9000 standard (Part 3).  GAMP: definition, purpose, scope and benefits.  Statutory requirements, eg FDA.&nb sp; Ove rview of validation.  Quality management systems for suppliers.  Procedures for project and quality plans, specifications, software design and production.  Procedures for configuration and software review, change and version control, testing and documentation.  Case study on development of a URS.