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What Does a Control and Instrumentation Engineer Do?

A programmable logic controller.
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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 21 July 2014
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A control and instrumentation engineer is generally responsible for the design, development, management, and maintenance of equipment used to monitor and control various types of machinery, processes, and engineering systems. These engineers are typically employed to measure, monitor, control, and regulate product movement in a variety of different industrial settings. The primary purpose of this job is to make certain that these processes and systems operate in an effective, efficient, and safe manner. An engineer may be employed by either a company that manufactures this type of equipment or a facility that uses it.

Modern industrial facilities used in mining, manufacturing, and energy production typically require the services of a control and instrumentation engineer. This type of engineer is usually needed to develop new control systems, solve system problems, manage operations, and ensure compliance with current government regulations. He or she will frequently work alongside engineers of other disciplines as part of a team in order to bring a project to completion. Although these engineers generally do their work in an office or laboratory environment, they are often called upon to handle on-site emergencies as well.

Control and instrumentation engineers must generally possess a thorough understanding of the complex operational processes of a manufacturing facility. They have a wide variety of responsibilities, including the design and development of new control systems, as well as the maintenance and modification of existing systems.

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These engineers must frequently arrange and hold meetings with suppliers, clients, contractors and government officials. In addition to these duties, they are often responsible for the creation of new computer software as well as the development of new business proposals. Engineers of this type are usually very familiar with the safety and health regulations as well as the quality standards of the various foreign countries in which their work takes place.

Since control and instrumentation engineers frequently operate in so many different roles, they must possess excellent critical thinking and problem solving skills in addition to being very detail oriented workers. Someone in this job is usually a person who has good management, communication, and leadership abilities, and is also creative, practical, and resourceful. These engineers often hold an electrical engineering degree in disciplines such as distributed control systems, advanced process control, programmable logic controllers, and supervisory control and data acquisition.

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