Instrumentation and control technicians work on measuring and controlling instrumentation. They also service plant process control, monitoring, safety and communications systems. They are knowledgeable in overall plant systems and interactions of processes.
Some of the duties of instrumentation and control technicians are:
- consulting diagrams and technical documentation such as schematics, manuals, standards and codes;
- maintaining backup and revision documentation for control systems and instrumentation;
- installing, configuring, calibrating and maintaining control, measurement and indicating instrumentation (pneumatic, analog & digital);
- configuring and programming Programmable Logic Controls (PLC) and Programmable Automation Controllers (PAC);
- installing and terminating electrical, pneumatic and fluid connections;
- inspecting and testing the operation of instruments and systems to diagnose faults;
- removing, repairing, adjusting and replacing components;
- calibrating components and systems;
- assisting engineering in plant design, modification and hazard analysis;
- maintaining various computer-based control systems;
- performing scheduled maintenance programs; and,
- keeping up-to-date with advances in technology in industry and the trade.
- Some of the instruments include transmitters, analyzers, sensors, detectors, signal conditioners, recorders, controllers and final control elements. They are used in industry to measure and control variables such as pressure, flow, temperature, level, motion, force and chemical composition.
Instrumentation and control technicians work in various industrial sectors. They may be employed by pulp and paper processing companies, nuclear, thermal and hydro power generating companies, mining, petrochemical, oil and gas companies, steel companies, water treatment facilities, manufacturing companies and industrial instrument servicing establishments.
Instrumentation and control technicians may work in hazardous environments where they may be exposed to confined spaces, heights, noise, dust, cold and heat. There may also be risks working with chemicals, gases, radiation, laser equipment and substances under pressure.
Key attributes for people entering this trade are manual dexterity, ability to pay attention to detail, strong problem solving and communication skills, and mathematical and scientific aptitude.
Instrumentation and control technicians interact with other tradespersons and professionals such as process operators, steamfitters/pipefitters, welders, industrial mechanics (millwrights), electricians and engineers.