Short Title:Automation in Horticulture
Full Title:Automation in Horticulture
Module Code:HTSC H4031
ECTS credits: 5
NFQ Level:8
Module Delivered in 2 programme(s)
Module Contributor:Fergus Maughan
Module Description:This module will give students a sufficient element of technical knowledge to allow them to understand the application of automation technology in several particular contexts in the Horticulture industry. This module will develop the student’s electronics knowledge and present them with an introduction to PC hardware and sensors. It will underline the issues in interfacing sensors to the digital environment of the computer. This module is designed to give a learner the necessary knowledge and skills to, specify or implement greenhouse control systems. It provides knowledge of PC data acquisition and competence in selection and use of transducers for a particular application
Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to
  1. evaluate, select, test and a greenhouse control system and then demonstrate an ability to operate, reset and manipulate the various control parameters.
  2. identify and test sensors used in horticulture based automation systems.
  3. acknowledge the fundamental principles and practical knowledge of a range of measurement transducers, their practical application and relate it to principles of control systems used in horticultural sector.
  4. interpret/analyse data measurements from a variety of measurement devices/sensors

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Electronic Systems
The concepts underlying electrical current. The meanings of voltage, current and power. Ohm’s law. AC and DC power. Components used in analogue circuits such as: resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers, fuses, timers and relays. Measurement of electricity and its unit cost. Introduction to digital electronic systems and principles of operation of digital gates, ADC, DAC, comparators and amplifiers.
Electronic Measurement & Transducers
Transducers, principle of operation of light, temperature, humidity, force, CO2, PH and displacement transducers. Flow and level measurements. Pressure measurements and pressure transducers. Optical sensors and systems. Signals and noise in measurement systems. Typical characteristics of transducers and their interfacing requirements. IP ratings of equipment. Use of data logging systems. Calibration of instrumentation systems.
Principle of operation of AC and DC motors, stepper and servo motors. Motor controllers and motorised valves operation. Application of motors in the horticultural environment such as fluid pumping, shade control, fogging and ventilation systems.
Greenhouse control
Introduction to climate control systems commonly used in glasshouses. Open and closed loop control, PID controllers and their application. Computerised fertigation/chemigation and water management systems, L.E.D technology in horticulture, Application of Combined heat and power systems in greenhouse management.
Industrial Control Systems
Use of commonly used sensors in process control - e.g. Proximity, capacitance, through beam, ultra-sonic, limit switches, photoelectric, fibre optic. Relay switch configurations. Conveyors, sorting systems, packaging, vision systems. PLC's overview. Heating systems control. Interfacing of pneumatic and hydraulic systems.
Indicative Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work Assessment %30.00%
Final Exam Assessment %70.00%
Course Work Assessment %
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Lab work Lab work using greenhouse control software in a working environment 1,2,3,4 10.00 n/a
Project A mini project where the learner builds a temperature controller for a greenhouse using temperature sensors, comparators and relays. 1,2,3,4 10.00 n/a
Lab work Use and evaluation of a number of sensor types such as, PH, Temperature, Humidity, Light. 1,2,3,4 5.00 n/a
Lab work Design, installation and evaluation of a fertigation system 1,2,3,4 5.00 n/a
Final Exam Assessment %
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Formal Exam End-of-Semester Final Examination 1,2,3,4 70.00 End-of-Semester
Indicative Reassessment Requirement
Repeat examination
Reassessment of this module will consist of a repeat examination. It is possible that there will also be a requirement to be reassessed in a coursework element.

ITB reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Indicative Module Workload & Resources

Indicative Workload: Full Time
Frequency Indicative Average Weekly Learner Workload
Every Week 26.00
Recommended Book Resources
  • P Ponce, A Molina, P Cepeda, E Lugo, B MacCleery 2014, Greenhouse Design and Control, CRC Press [ISBN: 9781138026292]
  • Gerrit van Straten, E.J. van Henten, L.G. van Willigenburg, R.J.C. van Ooteghem 2010, Optimal Control of Greenhouse Cultivation, CRC Press [ISBN: 9781420059618]
  • Curtis Johnson, Process Control Instrumentation Technology, Pearson Higher Education [ISBN: 0131976699]
This module does not have any article/paper resources
This module does not have any other resources

Module Delivered in

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
BN_SHTSC_8 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Horticulture [240 ECTS credits] 7 Elective
BN_SHTSC_B Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Horticulture [Add on 60 ECTS credits] 1 Elective