Automation Fundamentals

Data is displayed for academic year: 2023./2024.

Course Description

Basic structures of the automation systems. Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) - architectures, programming and application examples. Individual work with PLCs - logical functions. Communications in automation systems. Examples of industrial communication networks and protocols. Human - control system communication interface and SCADA programs. Basic structures of automated drive systems. Integration of drive systems in automation systems via industrial communication networks. Standards, categories and types of the safety functions in automation.

Study Programmes

University undergraduate
[FER3-EN] Computing - study
Elective Courses (6. semester)
[FER3-EN] Electrical Engineering and Information Technology - study
Elective Courses (6. semester)

Learning Outcomes

  1. explain the basic structure of the automation system
  2. explain the basic structure of the programmable logic controllers
  3. solve tasks of sequential control in an automation system by writing corresponding programmable logic controllers programs
  4. explain the basic structures of the automated drive systems
  5. assemble drive systems into the automation system connected with standard fieldbus communication networks
  6. apply the safety functions in the automation systems
  7. apply configuration tools for SCADA system design for an automation system
  8. develop a hierarchical automation system based on programmable logic controllers, fieldbus communication systems and SCADA systems for real applications

Forms of Teaching



Independent assignments

Project tasks


Work with software for configuring and programming of automation systems

Grading Method

Continuous Assessment Exam
Type Threshold Percent of Grade Threshold Percent of Grade
Laboratory Exercises 0 % 12 % 0 % 10 %
Quizzes 0 % 3 % 0 % 0 %
Seminar/Project 50 % 45 % 0 % 40 %
Mid Term Exam: Written 50 % 20 % 0 %
Final Exam: Written 50 % 20 %
Exam: Written 0 % 30 %
Exam: Oral 20 %

The student has to perform all laboratory exercises and seminars. On the oral exam the passing threshold exists and amounts 50% or 10 points.

Week by Week Schedule

  1. Overview of automation systems, Topologies of simple and complex automation systems, Hierarchical organisation of automation systems, Elements of automation systems (active and passive)
  2. Overview of PLCs development, Basic hardware architecture of PLCs, PLC within the automation system
  3. Hardware configuration of PLCs, Operating system and user program execution in PLCs, Code blocks and standardized PLC programming languages
  4. Binary and digital operations in PLCs
  5. Functions, function blocks and data blocks
  6. Direct and indirect addressing
  7. Communication networks between hierarchy levels in automation systems: requirements, types, topologies, Fieldbus networks, Industrial ethernet
  8. Midterm exam
  9. Requirements on SCADA systems and its related functionalities (tags, alarms, recipes), Hardware and software architecture of SCADA systems
  10. Topologies of drive automation systems, Modules and interfaces of PLCs to drive systems (digital, analog, communication, sensor modules, etc;)
  11. Overview of the industrial communication protocols in drive systems, Monitoring and diagnostics of drive systems
  12. Standards and categories of the safety functions, Types of safety functions in automation systems
  13. Not held
  14. Not held
  15. Final exam


D. Sumina (2013.), SIMATIC automatizacijski sustavi, Graphis, Zagreb
W. Bolton (2015.), Programmable Logic Controllers - 6th Edition, Elsevier
Bogdan M. Wilamowski, J. David Irwin (2010.), The Industrial Electronics Handbook - Industrial Communication Systems, Taylor and Francis Group
K. Tan, A. Putra (2011.), Drives and Control for Industrial Automation, Springer, 2011., Springer-Verlag
Stuart A. Boyer (2010.), SCADA: Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition - Fourth Edition, International Society of Automation

For students


ID 223367
  Summer semester
L1 English Level
L1 e-Learning
22 Lectures
0 Seminar
0 Exercises
26 Laboratory exercises
0 Project laboratory

Grading System

87,5 Excellent
75 Very Good
62,5 Good
50 Sufficient