Modified installations in various industries such as energy production, manufacturing and mining typically require the services of instrumentation and control engineer. This engineering professional usually works to manage industrial operations, solve system problems, develop new control systems, and ensure compliance of all these with recent government regulations. He/she teams up with engineers in different departments and disciplines in order to execute and complete the project efficiently. A instrumentation and control engineer responsibilities are based on the fundamentals of designing, installing, developing, maintaining, and managing equipment, which is required to control and monitor engineering machinery, systems and processes. Although this type of engineer generally perform his/her task in a laboratory or office environment, he/she often has to deal with on-site emergencies as well.
The main objective of the duty of these engineers is to make certain that the industrial processes and systems are operating effectively, safely and efficiently. They generally work with the industries who manufacture and supply the industrial equipment or use it. These professionals are typically employed to monitor, measure, regulate and control product movement in various industrial set ups. Performing overall responsibilities of this position demands a candidate with thorough understanding and knowledge of the operational procedures of an industry and have a genuine multidisciplinary role, collaborating with colleagues across several operations including design, development and purchasing. Employers of instrumentation and control engineers include manufacturers and installers of control systems/devices and instruments, power generation companies, process companies, telecommunications firms, construction companies and the aerospace industry. These engineers often organize and arrange meetings with clients, suppliers, government officials and contractors. In addition to these tasks, they are responsible for the development of new business proposals. This type of engineer is generally very familiar with the health and safety regulations in addition to the quality standards of the systems and equipment.
What are the Work Activities?
Since instrumentation and control engineers frequently work in several different functionalities; they must have excellent critical thinking, detail oriented work performance and problem resolving abilities. Usually, these engineers are professionals who need to have good leadership, communication and management skills and are also practical, creative and resourceful.
Typical Responsibilities and Work Activities
These engineers need to develop acquisitions in certain control disciplines such as programmable logic controllers (PLC), distributed control systems (DCS), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and advanced process control (APC). The utilization of these disciplines will be based on the nature of individual work activities. Common responsibilities and tasks for most instrumentation and control engineer positions may include:
Qualifications and Training
Instrumentation and control engineers often hold a graduate degree in electrical engineering disciplines such as advanced process control, distributed control systems, supervisory control, programmable logic controllers and data acquisition. To work on the position of a chartered engineer, it is essential to acquire an accredited MEng degree and to complete vocational training for minimum four years with an approved employer (there are some professional institutions that provide list of companies that gives access to suitable training programs.)
A degree in electronic, electrical, computing, mechanical engineering or applied physics is generally required (engineering subjects are usually desired). Experience in the similar field can be advantageous. Some employers provide final year sponsorship, project work, year out placements and vacation work which can offer a useful insight and valuable contacts in the profession.
Skills and Knowledge
Most of the skills and knowledge required to get employed at the job post of instrumentation and control engineer can be acquired through on the job training.
Essential skills for undertaking responsibilities of this post include the familiarity with the operation of basic industrial operational systems and industry equipment that are used to install, repair and manage industry equipment. Ability to write computer programs and custom software applications that enable a system or machine to work as per the obligations to achieve the target. Since these professionals have to work in team based work environment, team spirit and communication are often considered as significant skills. Problem solving ability is of utmost important, as taking initiative to resolve the issue and draft a solution is one of the core responsibilities in a routine work of an engineer.
Since there is constant advancement and evolution in this field, candidates need to stay updated with the knowledge of recent technology. Some employers support an engineer in acquiring higher levels of education such as qualifying masters or doctorate degree.
Instrumentation and control engineer responsibilities mostly include technical tasks undertaking which requires advanced and updated technical knowledge.