Machinery and Equipment

Learn about the maintenance and selection of machinery and equipment used in construction, agriculture and horticulture industries. Select the right tool for the right job! ACS: teaching engineering since 1982.

Course Code: BSC105
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn about Engines, Machines and Tools

Machinery and Equipment (Engineering 1)

  • Explore better ways of doing work

  • Keep your tools and machinery in perfect working order!

  • Study from home and at your own pace

This course develops your understanding of equipment, and ability to manage the selection, operation and maintenance of tools and machinery, with particular reference to professional gardening, agriculture and horticulture. Learn the use and operation of tools, equipment and machines to keep them running smoothly by yourself.



Course Summary

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Engine Operation  

    •  History of Engines

    • Measurements and mechanical principles

    • Load, Force, Pressure, Atmospheric Pressure

    • Gravity, Centre of Gravity, Specific Gravity

    • Density, Volumetric Efficiency, Vacuum, Work, Power, Energy

    • Bore, Piston Motion, Piston Displacement

    • Compression Ratio

    • Converting Imperial Measurements to Metric

    • Understanding a Petrol Engine

    • Engine Operating Cycle

    • The Transmission System Stages in 4 Stroke Spark Ignition Engine Cycle

    • Stages in 2 stroke spark ignition Engine Cycle

    • Engine Efficiency

    • Understanding Electricity

    • Circuits

    • Measuring Electricity; current, voltage, resistance, Ohm’s Law

    • Power

    • Electricity Supply; batteries, mains power, generators, solar cells

    • Electricity and Engines

    • Electric Motors

  2. Hydraulics

    • What is Hydraulics

    • Simple Hydraulic System

    • Pumps

    • Tractors

    • Hydraulic Tappings

    • System Valves

    • 3 point linkage on tractors

    • Pressure

    • Measuring Pressure

    • Pressure Head

    • Friction Loss

    • Calculating Friction Loss

    • Calculating Discharge or Flow

    • Velocity

    • Water Hammer

    • Submersible Pumps

    • Irrigation

    • Measuring Water available to plants

    • Irrigation Calculations

  3. Machinery  

    • Components

    • Parts of an Engine

    • Lubrication System

    • Cooling System

    • Fuel System

    • Ignition System

    • Transmission System

    • Examples of Mechanisation; potting machines, planters and drills, harvesters, graders, mowers

  4. Hand Tools

    • Lifting objects manually

    • Scope of tools and equipment

    • Secateurs

    • Hand Saws

    • Rakes

    • Spades and Shovels

    • Forks

    • Aerating Equipment

    • Rollers

    • Hoes

    • Wheelbarrows

    • Sprayers

  5. Power Tools

    • Types of tools

    • Drills

    • Grinders

    • Power Saws

    • Compressors

    • Hedge Trimmers

    • Chain Saws

    • Brush Cutters

    • Mowers

    • Mulchers

    • Rotary Hoes

    • Tool Safety

    • Tool Maintenance

  6. Tractors

    • Choosing a tractor

    • Choosing implements and attachments

    • Mini Tractors

    • Tractor Parts

    • Clutch

    • Transmission

    • Tractor safety

    • Tractor operation

    • Tractor Engine Fault Finding

    • Common operating faults

  7. Equipment Maintenance

    • Cleaning and Sharpening tools

    • Secateurs and branch cutting tools

    • Shovels and spades

    • Saws and Chainsaws

    • Rust protection

    • Maintaining timber handles

    • Plastic handles

    • Storage

    • Maintenance Procedures and Schedules

    • Training Equipment Operators

    • Rules for Operators

    • Engine Oil Additives

  8. Specific Workplace Requirements

    • Machinery Specifications

    • Application for an Industry Sector


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Engine operation
  2. Hydraulics
  3. Machinery
  4. Hand Tools
  5. Power Tools
  6. Tractors
  7. Equipment Maintenance
  8. Specific Workplace Requirements

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


The Operating Cycle

In any internal combustion engine there are a number of essential parts there are arranged so that a basic series of events occur. This series of events is usually known as the operating cycle.

The internal combustion engine is a form of heat engine. Heat energy, produced by burning fuel within the engine, is changed into mechanical energy. Different types of fuel include petrol, vaporising oil (V.O) or diesel.  While different types of fuel are used in different types of equipment, this does not alter the basic operating cycle.

The essential parts of an engine are:

  1. The cylinder – fuel is introduced into the cylinder for burning

  2. The piston – this moves up and down within the cylinder

  3. The cylinder head – this seals off the top of the cylinder

  4. The crankshaft – this rotates

  5. The connecting rod – connects the piston to the crankshaft

  6. The inlet valve – allows entry of fuel into the cylinder

  7. The exhaust valve – allows the exit of gases

  8. A camshaft – this opens the valves

  9. Valve springs – these close the valves

  10. The flywheel – this is fitted to the crankshaft to help it rotate

Internal combustion engines work by a rapid series of explosions taking place when fuel and air are mixed together inside a cylinder chamber (or chambers) and ignited.

The fuel/mixture comes into the cylinder when the inlet valve or port is open, the valve or port then closes, and the mixture is compressed by the inward movement of the cylinder. The mixture is ignited by a spark from the spark plug (if the fuel is petrol or V.O). It expands rapidly and this expansion produces pressure that forces the piston out. This in turn causes the crankshaft to rotate. The rotation of the crank shaft forces the piston in and out of the cylinder. The momentum in the movement of the original engine part is aided by a weighted flywheel which returns it to its original position for the next explosion   which then forces it out again....and so on.


This course is relevant across wide industry sectors and is useful for those working in:

  • Agriculture

  • Professional gardening

  • Horticulture generally (e.g. nursery, crop growing, irrigation etc)

It develops your understanding of equipment, and ability to manage the selection, operation and maintenance of tools and machinery. Learn the use and operation of tools, equipment and machines to keep them running smoothly by yourself.


ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.
Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

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Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Martin Powdrill

25 years working in Telecommunications, IT, Organisational Development, and Energy Conservation & Efficiency, prior to setting up his own Permaculture consulting business. Martin has a Bsc (Hons) Applied Science (Resources Option), MSc Computer Studies, Permaculture Design Certificate.
Martin volunteers with many local environmental and community groups, and facilitates discussions on climate change, peak oil, and transition towns. Martin has an allotment, and is currently enrolled in the Scottish Mountain Bike Leader Award programme.
Martin’s goal as a catalyst for sustainable change brings together his strengths and experience in his environmental, project management, and business backgrounds.

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

Leading horticultural expert in Australia.
Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer.
She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe.
In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others.
Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Rajy Xavier

An Electrical Engineer with 12 years of experience in Engineering and Education. After completing masters in Telecommunication Engineering, she worked as an Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering for 5 years. Then she has completed her masters in education with double major from Queensland University of Technology.

Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams BSc (Hons), PgDip Eng, MSc, CEng MIET, CMgr FCMI

Andrew has extensive experience across the engineering and building services industries, with specialisms in refrigeration and energy management, with professional recognition as both a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Manager.

This experience includes working in consulting and leadership roles right through to being hands on to deliver projects and outcomes for large scale organisations and within startup and scale up environments.

He has adapted his experience to integrate with new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) to allow for a data driven perspective to be applied to problem solving and is actively using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to solve real world problems.

Alexander O'Brien

Alex was born and raised in Cork, in the Republic of Ireland. Having been trained in Architecture, Permaculture, Mechanical Engineering, Ceramics, Furniture Design/Construction, Sustainable building and Art,Craft and Design, his knowledge base is broad. Much of his professional work has been designing and making nature inspired spaces, creative reuse of materials, permaculture and natural ecology regeneration.

That being said, in his own words, " real passion is teaching. I adore sharing my knowledge and experience. Seeing students progress, and learning, that is my soul food."'

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