What Is Instrumentation Control Engineering?

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  • Written By: Andrew Kirmayer
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2019
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Instrumentation control engineering generally involves the design, development, and operation of systems used with machinery and various mechanical processes. This specialized engineering discipline often requires work with computer control systems as well as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software. It usually ensures that all of the components of a system operate normally, in addition to being safe for workers around them. The engineering of instrumentation and control systems is typically important for any business that uses them, as well as for manufacturers and suppliers of these products.

Programmable logic controllers, in addition to SCADA programs, are often used in instrumentation control engineering. The field typically includes various responsibilities, which include the design and development of equipment, as well as the maintenance of older systems. Upgrades to components often require extensive mechanical, computer programming, and process comprehension skills. Engineers in the design and operation departments often work together with company staff and buyers.

Scientific skills are usually important for instrumentation control engineering, but a design engineer often needs to be good at problem solving as well as project management. The ability to advise others on the most suitable instrument recommendations is sometimes necessary. Other skills can include the writing of code for software, composing business proposals, or managing the operations of equipment and process systems.


The instrument design of any system generally depends on the equipment parameters and what it is used for. Components can interact differently under certain circumstances but, in general, most instrumentation and control systems have very integrated parts. Microprocessors are often a major component and many systems, as of the early 21st century, are automated. Instrumentation control engineering, therefore, requires a firm understanding of these concepts, and often integrates expertise in robotics and artificial intelligence.

A college or university education is typically needed to work in instrumentation control engineering. Degree programs often consist of various laboratory sessions that can include computers and electronics. Individual courses may cover signal processing, biomedical concepts, as well as process control using mock-ups of electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic systems. They can also help train in the use of control systems and simulation software, as well as various electromechanical devices and transducers.

Instrumentation control engineering is a specialized field that often covers various scientific, management, consultancy, and business disciplines. Engineers can fulfill certain roles or accommodate several of them in one position. They can build, manage, or maintain equipment, or coordinate the efforts of developing or operating it.


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