Objectives and Syllabus

Provides an appreciation of the principles of measurement and principal design features of a variety of instruments and develops an understanding of the importance of good measurement for effective control.

Topics include metrics of measurement: pneumatic, electrical & digital signals: principles of measurement; common sensor design features, criteria for sensor selection, installation, operation and use: analytical measurements: control valves; characteristics & sizing: digital communications; HART & Fieldbus, relevant standards.

Practical work involving calibration, fault finding and functional testing with different signal types is carried out in the Process Control Laboratory.

Module Details
Code: CME 8366 (formerly ACS 666)
Time Allocation: Lectures 40 hours
Assignments 40 hours
Private Study 70 hours
Prerequisites: First degree or equivalent in an appropriate discipline
Weighting: 7.5 credits
Assessment: By report on assignment
By 1 x 2 hour examination
Advanced Process Automation


The aim is to provide a thorough grounding in the principles, technology and practices of measurement, with an emphasis on the specification, installation and operation of the common types of instrumentation (including valves) used in the process industries.

The intent is that it may be assumed, in other modules, that students appreciate how measurements are made and have an understanding of the instrumentation used.


  • To develop an awareness of the principles of measurement and principal design features of a variety of instruments. 
  • To appreciate the key issues in selecting instrument types (including valves) and specifying their requirements. 
  • To become familiar with the operation and use of a variety of typical items of process instrumentation and control loop hardware. 
  • To understand modern signal transmission techniques and relevant standards.
    To recognise the importance of good measurement as a basis for effective control.


This is a stand-alone module and has no pre-requisites as such.

Study Modes

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


The time allocation for practical work is to enable students to carry out a series of structured experiments in the University's process control laboratory.  The experiments will involve calibration, channel tracing, fault finding, functional testing, etc using a variety of process measurements and signal types.


The assignment typically consists of the specification of the instrumentation required for a small section of plant, the emphasis being on the quantitative sizing of the instrumentation.

Recommended Texts

  • Baumann H D,  Introduction to Control Valves,  3rd Edition,  ISA,  Carolina,  2003. 
  • Bentley J P,  Principles of Measurement Systems,  4th Edition,  Prentice Hall,  2004. 
  • BS6739,  Instrumentation in Process Control Systems: Installation Design & Practice,  1986. 
  • Liptak B G,  Process Measurement Analysis,  Vol 1,  Instrument Engineer’s Handbook,  4th Edition,  Chilton,  2005. 
  • Liptak B G,  Process Control,  Vol 2,  Instrument Engineer’s Handbook,  3rd Edition,  Chilton,  1995. 
  • Liptak B G,  Process Software and Digital Networks,  Vol 3,  Instrument Engineer’s Handbook,  1st Edition,  Chilton,  2002. 
  • Love J,  Process Automation Handbook,  Springer,  2007
  • Morris A S,  Measurement and Calibration Requirements for Quality Assurance to ISO 9000,  John Wiley,  1997. 
  • Pitt MJ & Preece PE,  Instrumentation and Automation in Process Control,  Ellis Horwood, 1990.

Topics Included

Metrics of measurement:  accuracy, resolution, repeatability, etc.  Measurement errors.
Signals:  Use of pneumatic, electrical and digital signals.  Standard signal ranges, eg 4-20 mA and 0.2-1.0 bar.  Power and air supply.

Principles of measurement of temperature, pressure, level, flow, weight, power, speed, position, etc.
Instrumentation:  Principal features of design of common sensors, transducers, transmitters, controllers, actuators, recorders, switches, etc.  Criteria for selection of instruments.  Location of instruments.  Sampling systems.  Commissioning instruments.

Control valves:  Principal features of construction.  Valve bodies: eg butterfly, globe, etc.  Plug and seat arrangements.  Noise.  Terminology.  Inherent and installed characteristics.  Specification and sizing.  Control valve failure actions.  Actuator types.  Use of positioners.  Split range (duplex) action.  Installation practice.  Methodology for calibration.  Intelligent valves: integration with PID and measurement functions.

Digital communications:  Pros and cons.  HART and Fieldbus protocols.  Layers.  Topology.  Interoperability.  User layer functionality.  Function blocks and device description language.  IEC/ISA SP50 standard.
Control practice:  Layout of control rooms and motor control centres, I/O racks, marshalling panels, field termination racks, etc.  Signal distribution.  Documentation.  Electrical installation.  Trays, trunking and conduit.  Power and air supply and distribution.  Earthing.  Intrinsic safety.  Hazardous area classifications: gas groups and zones.  Enclosures.  Ingress protection and IP66.  Barrier systems.  Segregation policy.