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The design of the drive system for an automatic machine and its correct sizing is a very important competence for an electrical or mechatronic engineer. This requires knowledge that crosses the fields of electrical engineering, electronics and mechanics, as well as the skill to choose commercial components based upon their technical documentation. A good way to help students to achieve these competencies is to set them a project-oriented task, consisting of a real case study they have to solve. The aim is to give to students enrolled in the courses Functional Mechanical Design and Dynamics of Machines at the Polytechnic of Milan, Milan, Italy, the opportunity to put their knowledge and skills into practice on a real industrial case regarding the design of an automatic machine, with particular attention being paid to the problem of the analysis and synthesis of the drive system.