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FacoltÓ di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari UniversitÓ degli Studi di Milano
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Farm automation
Code: G581N-
Teacher:  Roberto Oberti
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 3
Practices in classroom: 1
Basic aims:  To provide the student with basic knowledge of sensor and automation technologies. To understand the operative impact of their applications in the farm.
Acquired skills:  To know the working principles of automation systems adopted on agricultural machinery and farms plants and to assess their main characteristics. To understand their role in the farm processes and in the practical implementation of Precision agriculture principles.
Course contents:  ***This course is held in English***

The course has classes (basic theory) and labs (hands-on projects).

Classes syllabus:
Functions, operating principles and architecture of
automatic control systems.
Main sensors used on agricultural machines and in the
Digital electronics: digital data, data bus and
Electrical and hydraulic actuators
Outlook of automation on tractor, agricultural
machinery and farm plants
Precision agriculture and variable rate technologies

Labs syllabus:
Students in working groups are guided to develop simple automation projects according to their specific interests.
Program:  Todayĺs agricultural machines and farm plants are more and more adopting automatic systems aimed to increase the complexity of the accomplished tasks, with dramatic increase of productivity, while operator fatigue is reduced and impact on environment is minimized.

This course introduces to the technology on which automation is based -such as sensors, control systems, power hydraulics and electronics- and analyses the characteristics of the main applications in the farm and on agricultural machines.

-Detailed Syllabus-
The control system. Working principles of on/off, proportional, integral and derivative control. The PID control.
Sensors on agricultural machines. Physical principles of sensing. Sensors for measuring: positioning and speed, proximity; force; flow; temperature; pressure; moisture content; crop conditions.
Basic of digital electronics. Signal conversion. Microcontrollers. Data communication. ISO-Bus
Actuators on agricultural machines. Power hydraulics. Electro-hydraulics valves. Electric actuators
Automatic functionalities of agricultural machines and processes. Tractors. Harvesting machines. Sprayers and fertilizer spreaders. Working monitoring on farm machinery. Advanced sensors for the evaluation of plant status and produce quality. Precision agriculture and variable rate technologies (VRT)
Prerequisites:  Students are strongly recommended to have taken one
course in the area of Agricultural machinery or Farm
Preparatory instructions:  none
Learning materials:  material will be distributed during classes and published at course webpage:
Other info:  The course is held in English
In labs, groups of students are guided to develop automation projects according their specific
The exam (in Italian or English) is based on the presentation of the projects developed and a critical discussion of the results obtained
Program of Farm automation (pdf version)
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