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Syllabus for

Academic year
SSY290 - Design of flexible and modular automation systems
Syllabus adopted 2012-02-19 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPPEN
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Automation and Mechatronics Engineering

Teaching language: English
Open for exchange students
Block schedule: A

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0112 Examination 3,5 c Grading: TH   3,5 c   16 Dec 2013 pm M,  23 Apr 2014 am V,  22 Aug 2014 pm V
0212 Project 4,0 c Grading: UG   4,0 c    

In programs



Professor  Martin Fabian

Course evaluation:


For single subject courses within Chalmers programmes the same eligibility requirements apply, as to the programme(s) that the course is part of.

Course specific prerequisites

Same as for the Production engineering programme, MPPEN.


Requirements specification, preparation and commissioning of a flexible manufacturing automation system is a complex task that necessarily involves people from a multitude of disciplines, such as project management, operations management, mechanical engineering, systems engineering, and materials science. Furthermore, within these disciplines different aspects such as risk assessment, process planning, computer programming, tool design, sustainability concerns, quality control, productivity and profitability, etc., all come into play simultaneously.

The aim of the course is to give an insight into all these different aspects of manufacturing automation systems development, and to give students from the different disciplines a better understanding of the requirements, possibilities and short-comings of contemporary methods and techniques.

The course mainly aims to apply already gained knowledge in a setting as close to real-life automation systems development as possible within the constraints set by the education situation. The design process is mainly implemented in a virtual environment, including CAD, process and path planning, discrete event simulation, PLC control and virtual commissioning.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

After completing this course, the students should be able to:
  • apply knowledge about different automation strategies regarding modular assembly systems, flexible manufacturing, levels of automation etc.,
  • perform design and commissioning of a flexible modular automation system in a virtual environment, including cell layout, transportation, robot, machine and PLC programs,
  • model a production system in a formal framework, including operation sequences, resource capabilities, resource allocation, coordination of moving devices including robots and conveyor systems, and safety logics,
  • modify a production system in a virtual environment by including new products and/or new resources compared to the existing system,
  • construct and implement control functions based on industrial standards and components, for instance programmable logic controllers PLCs,
  • perform analytical and numerical production system optimization, including performance measures such as throughput, energy and resource usage,
  • assess the sustainability impacts of the chosen automation solutions,
  • give an account for advantages and disadvantages of virtual commissioning and emulation for logic validation,
  • describe how production engineers and production designers in industry work in automation and design projects,
  • cooperate in groups to plan, present and communicate a design project.


This course deals with the integration between automation and production system design. Formal models for operation sequences, resources, products, moving devices, and safety logics are introduced. The integration between different virtual environment software is shown, focusing on virtual commissioning of the automation design for a flexible production system. Performance optimization, based on both simulation and mathematical optimization, such as Mixed Integer Linear Programming, is presented.


The course is organized as a project course, where ideally students from the three different tracks of MPPEN work in groups together with students from MPSYS, to prepare and commission a virtual manufacturing system. That the groups consist of students from the different tracks and programs is a crucial aspect of the course in that the aim is for them to understand the requirements, possibilities and short-comings of each other¿s' methods and techniques. The course also contains lectures and seminars on specific theoretical aspects related to automation systems development and optimization.


The theoretical parts on manufacturing system optimization are covered by chapters 1-10 in Production Systems Engineering by Jingshan Li and Semyon Meerkov (available as e-book from Chalmers library). Additionally, scientific papers, lecture notes and presentations will comprise the course material.


The course is examined in two ways: a 2-hour written exam covers the theoretical parts on manufacturing system optimization, while written reports examine the project part.

Page manager Published: Thu 03 Nov 2022.