Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 10800-10806
ISBN: 978-84-09-14755-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2019.2653
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Control theory is the core of control education, but currently, communication and implementation are gaining importance in the training of control engineers because of the industry demand about this knowledge. This aspect is mainly due to the dramatic growth in technological capabilities that require a tight integration of control with computer science and communication [1]. It relies on knowledge from many different fields. Control engineers should acquire and manage concepts related to mathematics, physics, programming, operating systems (OS), I/O hardware devices, simulation, communications, etc. Usually, control engineering students attend lessons about all these topics along their degrees, but seldom all this knowledge is used and combined in control engineering lessons.

The main reason of why many control courses are still focused only on theoretical aspects is because of the lack of practical resources and/or lack of time in the course schedule. Nowadays, this gap can be solved thanks to the amazing availability of low-cost hardware devices as well as open-source software tools, that can allow to include practical activities in control courses in a very cheap and easy way. Arduino and Raspberry Pi are becoming the most popular low-cost electronic boards with impressive capabilities for education and with many open source projects [2][3].

In this paper we would like to present a complete framework for introducing control engineering as the base for industrial automation concepts introduction by using Raspberry PI platform. The designed and presented scenario includes all the automation levels, from I/O sensors components to the cloud based dashboards where the different variable scan be monitored, alarms generated and sent to mobile devices, etc. To add hardware capabilities, a plug an add-on board called a HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) onto the Raspberry Pi 3 board is used. As with more complex industrial systems, the HAT provides a standard approach for identifying the HAT and automatically configuring the GPIOs and drivers as needed. Variables such as temperature, humidity, light, etc are sensed, NodeRed is used to continuously monitor the variables, and send the, to a cloud based system based on a MQTT messaging system.

This allows to define graphical display on the cloud and remotely accessible form any device. Alarms are defined and messages sent back to the Raspberry PI platform where control actions can be taken in order to correct any potential undesired behaviour.

Therefore, this paper presents and describes how to use a Raspberry Pi as low-cost hardware device and its combination with open-source software tools to learn concepts about implementation, communication, and control engineering topics.

[1] K.J. Aström and R.M. Murray. Feedback Systems: An Introduction for Scientists and Engineers. Princeton University Press, USA, 2008.
[2] J. Sobota, R. Pisl, P. Balda, and M. Schlegel. Raspberry pi and arduino boards in control education. In Proceedings of the 10th IFAC Symposium Advances in Control Education, pages 7–12, Sheffield, UK, 2013.
[3] J. Sarik and I. Kymissis. Lab kits using the arduino prototyping platform. In IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), pages T3C–1–T3C–5, Washington, DC, 2010.
Project Based Learning, Industrial Control Engineering, Low Cost Equipment.