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C: Introduction to control of mechatronic systems

This two-day course gives an introduction to practical control theory, including system modelling and analysis, numerical simulation, and controller design.


This course is run in conjunction with the IMechE.

Our two-day course introduces you to practical control theory, including fundamental principles of system modelling and analysis, numerical simulation, and controller design. You'll learn ways to examine the behaviour of a variety of physical systems commonly used in control applications. And you'll develop an understanding of the operational behaviour of control systems.

Who should apply

Our course is for engineering professionals, system and control designers, software developers and graduates. You should have a basic knowledge of mechatronics systems involving electrohydraulic and electromagnetic components. If you are an engineer new this field, we recommend our introductory courses for hydraulics and electrical drives. You should also have a good knowledge of mathematics.

Prices and dates

All our course prices and dates are listed on our Centre for Power Transmission & control cpd courses for industry page.

Course objectives

When you complete the course, you should:

  • appreciate the need for feedback control in practical mechatronic systems
  • derive dynamical models and represent them in block diagram notation
  • analyse stability and performance of systems in the time and frequency domain using step and impulse responses, root-locus, Bode and Nyquist diagrams
  • know the basic principles and applications of open and closed loop control strategies, design and tune PID controllers
  • appreciate the differences between analog and digital control
  • perform system identification and verify models
  • be aware of measurement errors and noise in real systems, and their effect on controller performance
  • use rapid development tools for system analysis and controller design

Course contents

Controller design case studies

  • interactive computer exercise
  • three examples: water level control, cruise control and robot arm
  • introduces the effect of gain, instability and importance of sensor behaviour

Block diagrams

  • series, parallel, and feedback connections
  • deriving closed loop transfer functions
  • single-input single-output and multi-input multi-output (MIMO) systems

PID control

  • general closed loop controller structure - forward path, feedback path, and demand compensators
  • effects of P, I, D gains in the time domain and their influence on performance and steady state errors
  • analog and digital implementation

System modelling

  • basics of differential equations - behaviour of first and second order systems
  • transfer functions and Laplace notation
  • effects of delays and system nonlinearities.

Frequency response and stability

  • physical meaning of eigenfrequencies and eigenmodes
  • open and closed loop frequency responses, Nyquist plots
  • root-locus analysis
  • gain and phase margin, Nyquist stability criterion

System identification

  • obtaining experimental frequency responses: excitation methods, data sampling, filtering, FFT
  • representation in Bode diagram
  • estimation algorithms, coherence, transfer function fit

Model based controller tuning

  • general controller design process
  • influence of P, I, D gains on the system's frequency response
  • meeting stability and performance specifications

Practical controller implementation

  • Low-pass filtering to reduce noise
  • Discrete-time signals, aliasing and the sampling theorem
  • Controller hardware and software development environments.

Workshops and laboratory sessions

  • PID tuning demos
  • system modelling tutorial
  • controller design tutorial
  • real-time controller implementation lab


The University of Bath is regulated by The Office for Students (OfS). We continually improve our course by integrating feedback from academic staff and students.

Learning, assessment and final award

Our teaching is carried out by people experienced in the field, mostly academic staff and PhD candidates as well as select guest speakers. There is no formal assessment and to successfully complete the course and receive the certificate of competence, you must attend the course in whole and participate in the exercises.

Continue your professional development with us

Find out more about what other CPD courses we offer.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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