“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
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.
Head of Programs
SMTAFE – WA, Australia