Appendices Appendix D ICT specialisation Unit VS2 - Process control systems
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UNIT VS2 – PROCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS

This unit assumes basic competence in the use of computer systems and programming skills as developed in the Specialisation Preparation Module.

Objective

Students should be able methodically to plan, design, realise and implement relatively simple process control systems with the aid of problem oriented tools.

1. PLANNING OF PROCESS CONTROL

Objective

Students should be able to identify requirements for technical systems which control or automate processes within some environment.

Context

Students will develop an awareness of the various functions of control systems needed to monitor technical systems within organisations. After that they will work on a case-study connected with a simple process to control, such as a robot.

Content

The following student activities are part of the Planning Phase of this unit:

  1. use existing control systems to monitor technical systems;
  2. specify problems within a given technical environment;
  3. identify the need for technical process control within the given environment;
  4. identify the input and output data which are needed to control the system under consideration;
  5. specify the functions needed to control the system under consideration.

2. SYSTEM DESIGN

Objective

Students should be able to design simple systems which control and monitor technical processes.

Context

In preparation for the world of employment, students should be able to analyse a simple case study connected with a simple device, such as a robot. They should also be able to design and enhance the technical operations of the control system.

Content

Using a case study, students will develop techniques to write a program to support an existing system for efficient operations. The case study will be limited to the use of simple sequential procedural algorithms.

The following student activities are part of the System Design Phase of this unit:

  1. produce technical specifications of the procedures needed;
  2. design the procedures of the controlling system.

3. REALISATION

Objective

Students should be able to program the simple procedures for process control.

Context

Students should be able to translate the designed procedures into a program for a problem oriented programming environment (for example a language for robot control) or for a general purpose programming language with a comprehensive library of pre-programmed control procedures.

Content

The following student activities are part of the Realisation Phase of this unit:

  1. realise small programs designed to support control operations;
  2. specify testing criteria for the program;
  3. trial-run the program for testing purposes;
  4. test and verify the coding;
  5. identify problems areas and provide solutions.

4. IMPLEMENTATION INTO THE ENVIRONMENT

Objective

Students should develop an appreciation for the problems associated with implementation of a control system into the (organisational or technical) environment.

Sub-objectives

Students should be able to:

  1. identify any technical problems associated with the implementation of the control system program;
  2. classify any problems relating to the software and hardware interfaces.

Context

Using a real life, case-study environment the students should be able to evaluate and validate the specification, design and coding of their program. For example, the controlled robot could be part of a production line. The operation of the production line can be simulated by the students.

Content

Students will have their design and specifications of their program validated with respect to a real life situation. They will categorise the nature of any problems into classes: data, specification, control functions and interface. The teacher will bring their attention to the importance of documentation.

The following student activities are part of the Implementation phase of this unit:

  1. implement the controlled system into the role played environment;
  2. identify problems with the use of the system;
  3. suggest practical solutions to these problems.