What is an Automation Engineer?
Let’s take a closer look at the details of automation and the role of an Automation Engineer.
What is Industrial Automation Exactly?
At its most basic level, automation consists of three elements: measurement, control and actuators.
- Measurement – instruments known as sensors take the measurements, then send the readings to the control.
- Control – this acts as the brain of the process, deciding which actions to take and then sending those instructions to the actuators. For industrial or process automation, you need a complex device like a programmable logic controller (PLC).
- Actuators. There are lots of different types such as – pumps, heaters, flow valves, pistons, rotors, robotic arms and so on – and each performs a different action.
So measurement (for example, a thermometer measures the temperature in a liquid) sends a reading to the control, Control (decides the temperature is too high or low) and tells the actuators (heater) to change their actions (heat the liquid). Then the sensor measures the new values and sends them back to the PLC, and the PLC decides what to do and sends commands to the actuators to stop or continue. The whole process repeats in a closed loop.
What Does an Automation Engineer Do?
An Automation Engineer sets up the automation of a manufacturing process. These processes govern the production and delivery of products. The aim is to streamline the manufacturing process and make it as efficient as possible while still maintaining product quality and adhering to internal protocols and external regulations.
The automation engineer must understand the process and its needs to select the appropriate instruments to monitor and control all the necessary variables. This work includes developing and designing the concept, choosing and programming a controller and ensuring the proper communication between the actuators connected to the controller. simulating, installing, testing and managing electrical or mechanical automation and finally monitoring the automation processes on an ongoing basis.
Automation Engineering is a vital part of today’s pharmaceutical and medical device industries as it promotes streamlining of processes, which can lead to a more cost-effective and efficient system.
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