The Right Tool to Support Applied Engineering Training Courses

(Australia) June 10, 2018


“Applied Engineering” at SMTAFE mainly focuses on developing the appropriate infrastructure to create the environment in which integrated training can occur. The continuing manufacturing drive in Western Australia will lead to making more with less and to pack more information and knowledge into less matter by using less energy while making more effective products. This can only be achieved with distributed, robust, modular, adaptive, non-hierarchical, fault-tolerant autonomous control systems.

Therefore, automation was having a profound impact on existing jobs and regional workforces. Thus SMTAFE as a VET sector is focusing on promoting an Automation career oriented education to ensure that the expectations of current industry are being met by graduates.

Choosing the right tool to support Applied Engineering training courses

Applied Engineering section at SMTAFE currently provides training on Digital electronics, Programmable logic controllers, SCADA and Pneumatics for Diploma and Advanced Diploma students of mechanical and electrical disciplines. It is really important that these students have a better understanding of component identification, description and functionality. In addition to that, students should be taught on how to build up an electrical and pneumatic circuit and verify the working of a specific application which includes troubleshooting.

One of the main criteria to look into to deliver this training is the use of advanced online training material that will help students to simulate the circuit according to the requirements and especially to give students an opportunity to manipulate and alter the components’ physical and mechanical properties. We chose Automation Studio™ as it fits very well these criteria, and also because the software can be accessed remotely which will help many of the Western Australian students who want to up skill their knowledge and skills while being at work.

Testing and validating the control logic driving virtual circuits

Automation Studio™ is currently used by two of the instructors at Applied Engineering especially in programming PLC using Ladder logics and SFC and also in setting up simple electro-pneumatics circuits. The main objective of one of the courses delivered at Applied Engineering is to draw an electropneumatic circuit for a production line system or any sort of automation system using Automation Studio™.

The control logic to drive the Automation Studio™ virtual circuits shall be developed using Siemens™ software directly with the selected PLC type. The PLC logic running and executed in Siemens™ hardware shall be used to test and validate the virtual circuits running in Automation Studio™ simulation mode. After testing the circuits and the Program in virtual simulation, the virtual circuit can be built using real components and integrated to the selected Siemens™ PLC using the OPC Client/Server modules of Automation Studio™.

Key benefits of using Automation Studio™ at SMTAFE

Automation Studio™ provided us the ability to develop and design more individual trainings without having access to all real stations such as pick and place and sorting station. We were also able to create virtual animations as well as 2D CAD animations, including translation animation, free rotation animation, resizing animation, visibility animation and much more.

The ability to access Automation Studio™ remotely will help FIFO students save a lot of time and they will have a sophistication of getting trained via flexible learning while at work. With the option of online simulation, each individual student will have the opportunity to create and modify the circuits without having to access the physical hardware/pneumatics platform.

With the use of Automation Studio™, Applied Engineering has the opportunity to train students on current industry demands with the option of accessing different PLC modules, libraries and components such as Ladder (IEC standard), Ladder for Siemens™ PLC and Ladder for AB PLC.


Soumya Narayanan
Head of Programs Applied Engineering
SMTAFE – WA, Australia