Instrument Technician Responsibilities
Working with manufacturing and electronic testing equipment throughout the daily work routine, the instrument technician carries out specific tasks such as adjusting and inspecting pneumatic and mechanical systems as well as instruments. He/she is also responsible for recording instruments and maintaining the metering. During average working hours, the instrument technician has to carry out multiple tasks and one of them is to test the degree of accuracy of various forms of measurement variables such as temperature indicators, flow meters, radiation counters and pressure gauges. Using certain testing tools like signal generators, potentiometers and mercury manometers detecting the damaged parts of pressure gauges and other production units as well as replacing these parts as per the requirement are some of the essential instrument engineer responsibilities.
When any modifications or repairs are made in the recording instruments or in the control panel of the manufacturing unit, this technician creates a schematic drawing of the replaced or repaired section of the unit. He/she documents a detail report that explains the reason for the repair and replacement of particular parts of the instrument and also records the details of the calibrations to various equipment the technician has worked on.
What is the Role of an Instrument Technician?
An instrument technician's tasks are extensive as he/she has to work with a variety of electronic, microcomputer and pneumatic instruments that are utilized to control and measure variables such as motion, temperature, pressure, level, flow, chemical composition and force.
- Provide assistance to the maintenance planner with scheduling and planning maintenance tasks
- Keep track of a variety of manual and automated logs, files and records; carry out variety of indexing, filing, record keeping and other general clerical tasks
- Assist in ensuring that correct parts are ordered
- Write instrumentation testing equipment training guidelines and calibration, procedures and standards; update and maintain current electronic and electrical schematics, wiring and instrumentation diagrams, technical manuals and piping and instrumentation diagrams
- Clean, change components and lubricate parts and retain process transmission system
- Inspect, examine, test, adjust and repair electronic, electrical, pneumatic and mechanical systems and instruments used to record, indicate and control generating processes in nuclear or conventional power electric generating plant. Here, they inspect indicators, gauges and meters to identify its abnormal functioning.
- Trace out and examine vacuum tube and electronic solid state circuitry as well as components to identify defective parts in digital, analog and radiation monitoring system using schematics, maintenance manuals and test equipment
- Examine the accuracy of pressure gauges, flow meters, radiation detectors or counters, temperature indicators, flow meters and other indicating, recording and controlling instruments to find out defective components in the system with the help of test equipment such as mercury manometers, pressure gauges, transistor curve tracers, potentiometers, oscilloscopes, voltmeters, pulse and signal generators, transistor curve tracers, watt meters and ammeters
- Reassemble and replace instruments in a system with the help of handtools
- Eliminate defective equipment from the system, disassemble, decontaminate and clean instruments; replace damaged parts and defective tubing with wiring with various tools
- Calibrate readings on equipment as per the standards; align stages, adjust phasing to ensure accuracy of indicating and recording function
- Prepare schematic sketches, drawings and reports to reflect alterations or change in circuits, instruments and systems
- Keep track of components and parts used, calibrations made and inventory of parts
- Consult manuals of the manufacturers to evaluate test and maintenance processes. Implement loss control practices
- Find out risks, calibrate and maintain instruments and components as per the specifications of the manufacturer
- Install new plant equipment and maintain the existing practices
Qualifications, Skills and Knowledge
Although high school diploma is typically significant for building a career in instrument technology, secondary courses in relevant technological field can help the aspiring technician to progress in his/her career. Students pursuing high school education can prefer to take all available courses like biology, chemistry, computer technology, physics or mechanical drafting. Some employers may ask for candidates with associate's degree in instrument technology. There are certain degree programs in instrument technology which provide students with a full knowledge on installation, set up, calibration, repair, replacement and maintenance of all automated equipment.
Instrument technicians must posses the following characteristics:
- Excellent communication (written and verbal) and reading skills
- Manual dexterity
- Ability to grasp things quickly and pay attention to details
- Patience to resolve complicated issues
- Ability to stay updated with the recent modifications in the technology
- Excellent scientific, mechanical and mathematical abilities
- Ability to solve most technical problems and work under the supervision or direction seniors
- Basic principles or fundamentals of electronics and electricity
- Knowledge of data acquisition systems of supervisory control
- Programmable logic controllers
- Mechanical machine design and hardware systems
- Execution of technical operations in addition to maintenance of current electronics and electrical equipment
- Use of various analyzers, meters, counters, etc.
- Computer maintenance management programs
- Functions of valves, controllers, timers, etc.
- Basics of computer along with fundamental software applications including spreadsheets, word processing, and work bench calibration programs
- General interpretations of design schematics, plans and drawings
- Troubleshooting techniques
Performing instrument technician responsibilities require updated technical knowledge of all electrical as well as electronic devices used in various industries.