SCADA AND DISTRIBUTED CONTROL SYSTEMS
Master of Engineering (Industrial Automation) Duration: 2 years
Dr. Steve Mackay
ME502 Programmable Logic Controllers ME503 Industrial Process Control Systems
Masters total course credit points = 48
(3 credits x 12 (units) + 12 credits (Thesis))
Mode of Delivery
On-Campus or Online
10 hours per week: Lecture - 1 hour
Tutorial Lecture - 1 hours
Practical / Lab - 1 hour (where applicable)
Personal Study recommended - 7 hours (guided and unguided)
Unit Description and General Aims
This system based subject moves quickly from the fundamentals to advanced concepts and technologies used in contemporary SCADA systems and DCSs. There is some perceived overlap between SCADA systems and DCSs and this treatment will examine this issue in considerable depth allowing the practitioner to proficiently apply his/her knowledge to a project in deciding on the best approach to follow. The subject covers SCADA systems hardware and software, a review of typical DCS and SCADA systems, examines DCS controllers and configuration. It then moves onto the quickly changing topic of industrial communications systems. Structured programming based around the 61131-3 standard is then examined in depth. Topics cover alarm system management, configuration, reporting, and maintenance. The final part of the course comprises the examination of the implementation of a complete system.
Students will undertake case studies of SCADA and DCS projects and operations.
On successful completion of this subject/unit, students are expected to be able to:
Evaluate and specify SCADA systems and associated interfaces based on types of process supervision and data acquisition to be achieved.
Bloom’s Level 6
Evaluate and specify DCSs to ensure efficient and optimum operation of plant.
Bloom’s Level 6
Develop process control functions and algorithms for SCADA / DCS applications to meet plant’s supervisory control needs.
Bloom’s Level 5
Compare and contrast DCS and SCADA systems for optimal application in a given context.
Bloom’s Level 6
Evaluate data communication needs for processes using SCADA / DCS systems connected over multi level hierarchies through network.
Bloom’s Level 6
Plan and manage selection, design, installation, configuration and programming by teams of technologists and engineers for supervisory needs including alarm management functions for operation and control of process plants.
Bloom’s Level 5
The cognitive domain levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy:
Recall, define and list facts, concepts, methods, terminologies, theories and structures.
Demonstrate understanding by comparing, organizing, describing, translating, interpreting, paraphrasing, explaining and distinguishing.
Use knowledge to solve problems, identify connections and show relationships, in context.
Examine information, breakdown a problem, determine relationships and causes, make inferences, classify and infer from evidence.
Produce a pattern from relationships, propose operations, formulate a design, compose a hypothesis, reassemble information, construct, plan, invent, predict
Make judgements based on evidence and external criteria, determine best practice, optimise, validate ideas, judge and critique, assess, valuate and
The Australian Engineering Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer, approved as of 2013. This table is referenced in the mapping of graduate attributes to learning outcomes and via the learning outcomes to student assessment.
Stage 1 Competencies and Elements of Competency
Knowledge and Skill Base
Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.
Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline.
In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.
Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.
Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.
Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.
Engineering Application Ability
Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.
Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.
Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.
Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects.
Professional and Personal Attributes
Ethical conduct and professional accountability.
Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.
Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanour.
Professional use and management of information.
Orderly management of self, and professional conduct.
Effective team membership and team leadership.
Successfully completing this Unit will contribute to the recognition of attainment of the following graduate attributes aligned to the AQF Level 9 criteria, Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer and the Washington Accord and the Program Level Outcomes (PLO):
Graduate Attributes / Program Level Outcomes (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Professional and Personal Development)
EA Stage 1 Competencies
A. Effective Communication (PLO 1)
A1. Cognitive and technical skills to investigate, analyse and organise information and ideas and to communicate those ideas clearly and fluently, in both written and spoken forms appropriate to the audience.
A2. Ability to professionally manage oneself, teams, information and projects and engage effectively and appropriately across a diverse range of international cultures in leadership, team and individual roles.
2.4, 3.2, 3.4,
B. Critical Judgement (PLO 2)
B1. Ability to critically analyse and evaluate complex information and theoretical concepts.
1.1, 1.2, 1.3,
1, 2, 4, 5
B2. Ability to creatively, proactively and innovatively apply theoretical concepts, knowledge and approaches with a high level of accountability, in an engineering context.
1.5, 2.1, 3.3,
1, 2, 5, 6
C. Design and Problem Solving Skills (PLO 3)
C1. Cognitive skills to synthesise, evaluate and use information from a broad range of sources to effectively identify, formulate and solve engineering problems.
1.5, 2.1, 2.3
1, 2, 5
C2. Technical and communication skills to design complex systems and solutions in line with developments in engineering professional practice.
C3. Comprehension of the role of technology in society and identified issues in applying engineering technology ethics and impacts; economic; social; environmental and sustainability.
1.5, 1.6, 3.1
D. Science and Engineering Fundamentals (PLO 4)
D1. Breadth and depth of mathematics, science, computer technology and specialist engineering knowledge and understanding of future developments.
1.1, 1.2, 1.3,
D2. Knowledge of ethical standards in relation to professional engineering practice and research.
1.6, 3.1, 3.5
D3. Knowledge of international perspectives in engineering and ability to apply various national and International Standards.
1.5, 1.6, 2.4,
E. Information and Research Skills (PLO 5)
E1. Application of advanced research and planning skills to engineering projects.
1.4, 2.4, 3.6
E2. Knowledge of research principles and methods in an engineering context.
Unit Content and Learning Outcomes to Program Level Outcomes (PLO) via Bloom’s Taxonomy Level
This table details the mapping of the unit content and unit learning outcomes to the PLOs and graduate attributes at the corresponding Bloom’s Taxonomy level, specified by the number in the table.
Integrated Specification /
Program Learning Outcomes
Unit Learning Outcomes
Max Bloom’s level
Total PLO coverage
(e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic) Examination (specify length and format))
When assessed (e.g. Week 5)
Weighting (% of total unit marks)
Learning Outcomes Assessed
Assignment 1 (Quiz)
Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Role Play / Self-Assessment / Presentation
Example Topic: on “Specification of DCS and SCADA systems for a specific application” (defined by the lecturer).
Assignment 2 - Project Midterm.
Type: Report / Research / Paper / Case Study / Site Visit / Problem analysis / Project / Professional recommendation
(Typical report 2,500 words maximum, excluding references. This Project will include a progress report; literature review, hypothesis, schedule, challenges and future work)
Example Topic: on “Specification of the overall architecture for a DCS or SCADA system for a specific application as defined by the lecturer.”
Assignment 3 - Final Project
Type: Report (Final Project)
(Typical thesis 5,000 words, excluding references, figures and tables) Continuing the mid-term initial submission.
Example: May be in the form of quizzes, class tests, practical assessments, remote labs, simulation software or case studies
Attendance / Tutorial Participation
Example: Presentation, discussion, group work, exercises, self-assessment/reflection, case study analysis, application.
Prescribed and recommended readings
Boyer, S.A. (2010) SCADA: Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. 4th Edition. International Society for Automation, Raleigh, USA.
Sharma, K. (2011) Overview of Industrial Process Automation. Elsevier, Oxford, UK.
Number of peer-reviewed journals and websites (advised during lectures). Some examples are listed below.
IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control
IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement
IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Magazine
Automation World Magazine
Manufacturing Automation Magazine
Examples include but not limited to: www.isa.org;
IDC notes and Reference texts as advised.
Other material advised during the lectures
One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two weeks.
SCADA systems hardware
Considerations and benefits of SCADA systems
Remote Terminal Units
Input and output modules
PLCs as RTUs
System reliability and availability
SCADA systems software and protocol
SCADA system software
SCADA system protocols
New technologies in SCADA systems
The twelve golden rules
Typical DCS and SCADA Systems
Foxboro I/A series DCSs
Delta V system
Comparison of vendors
Basic DCS controllers and their configuration
Identification of the controller boards
Discrete, logic, sequential and batch control
Tracking and initialization in control slots used for cascade control
Control functions and control algorithms
Sequential programs for batch processing
Phase logic programming and interfaces
Logic block functions in advanced controllers
DCS controller configuration
Communication for DCS and SCADA systems
Network interconnection components (including Industrial Firewalls)
SCADA, DCSs and the Internet with remote engineering
ProfiBus and ProfiNet
Programming of DCS and SCADA systems
IEC-1131-3 language definition
Functions and function blocks
Data types, variables, functions, programs
Structured text and statements
Function block diagram and execution control
Ladder diagrams, instruction list and sequential function chart
Alarm system management
Functions of an alarm system
Structure of a good alarm system
Strategy for alarm system design and maintenance
Measurement, generation, and processing of alarms
Testing of alarms
Configuration and reporting (for both DCS and SCADA)
Configuration of control functions, operator/monitoring functions
Configuration of system hardware and software
Alarm reporting, generation and acceptance
Maintenance requirements of system and system elements
Requirements for in-built diagnostic and maintenance routines
Requirement for installation of UPS system
Recovery of following power outage
Implementation of a Complete System
Installation and commissioning
SCADA systems in Mining
SCADA systems in Transport
DCSs in pulp and paper environment
DCSs in petroleum-refining environment
DCSs in oil and gas processing environment
Industrial Network Security Application
Project and/or Unit Review
In the final week students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work, to clarify any outstanding issues, and to work on finalising the major assessment report.