The questions that you ask going into an automation upgrade project are easily as important as the answers provided. What is the reason for the upgrade? What type of unit control philosophy will be used? Where will the unit PLC reside? Here we will cover some different views on these and other questions. We will discuss the basic hardware requirements by exploring some basic panel designs including: area classification, discrete and analog signals, and the instruments that utilize them. After hardware requirements, screen design and some programming philosophy will be discussed. The short course will conclude with a discussion about the need for balance between budget, the wish list, and what is really necessary in your automation upgrade.