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Process Instruments and Controls Your Workers Need to Master

Process instruments and controls deal with the measure and control of variables in production or manufacturing. Some of those process variables might be humidity, temperature, pressure, level, flow, pH, force, and speed. Control systems engineering is how control is applied to design systems so that certain behaviors can be derived.

Sensors are generally employed to measure output and performance of systems. These measurements provide feedback so that corrections of performance can be made. Devices that perform without human input to correct performance are said to be automatically controlled. Cruise control in automobiles is one example most of us are familiar with.

Process measurement and control, also known as process automation or simply instrumentation, is important in modern industrial processes to help maintain profitability. It can produce a wide range of benefits, from improving the quality of a product, to reducing emissions, as well as minimizing human error. Operating costs may also be kept down by implementing process instrumentation and control.

Process Instrumentation and Control Benefits to Industry

Let’s look at how process automation is used in the oil and gas industry. Process instruments and control would be integrated into the operation so that it runs safely, while meeting environmental regulations, and still maintains quality, productivity, and profitability. Input devices (sensors) would help operators monitor process variables, while output devices of the controls respond to measurements and produce the necessary control action. In oil and gas, the instrumentation would measure pressure, flow, level, and temperature.

The instrumentation would consist of a sensor; a transducer, which would convert the signal coming from the sensor into a standard form designed for the control system; and a transmitter, which readies the transducer signal so that it can be transmitted without loss, and then sends it. The instrumentation also includes a quite common element, the control valve. Control valves are designed with an actuator that converts an output signal from the controls to a signal that promotes the response of the valve.

Specializing in Process Instrumentation and Control

Process control instrumentation specialists work with sophisticated equipment and machines that are key to a company’s operation. They may perform calibration, programming, maintenance, repairs, troubleshooting, and safety inspections.

A process control instrumentation specialist troubleshoots and maintains sophisticated equipment and machinery vital to a company’s operations. Their duties might also include calibration, programming, repairs, and safety inspections. A two-year degree in engineering may be required for this level of specialist, but your employees can likely perform basic process automation tasks after receiving training that introduces them to the fundamentals of process instruments and controls. From that point, after getting experience at your operation, they may advance their knowledge in this field and work toward being specialists.

An initial training can serve as a valuable introduction to this field, so that your workers can get a feel for the responsibilities and type of knowledge that would be required. But it can also help your employees troubleshoot and fix problems at your operation, thus reducing down time and increasing profitability.

Introductory Seminar Topics

When you look for a training opportunity in process instrumentation and controls for your workers, be sure that certain topics are included in the training:

  • How to use various instruments in measuring process variables such as pressure, temperature, flow rate, pH, weight and density, and level and position.
  • Familiarity with open and closed-loop controls, feedback and feed forward controls, PLC (programmer logic controller), DCS (distributed control system) and stand-alone controller.
  • Production and process of analog signals; protecting signals from noise and differences in various control strategies.
  • Troubleshooting instrument errors.
  • Calibration of transmitters and tune controller.

Trainings should be designed to increase the employee’s understanding of instrumentation and process control by working on various instruments and controls, including learning to program and connect input/output devices. They should also learn how to troubleshoot sensors, controllers, transmitters, and final elements.

Electrical Automation

If you’re specifically interested in your employees learning electrical automation systems and processes, you might look for a course that teaches basic concepts, as well as control technologies, while giving instruction in piping and instrument diagrams. Seminar participants might also receive instruction in basic electrical and math concepts, as well as familiarity with instrumentation and measurements involving pressure, temperature, flow, level, and density. Trainees should also learn about troubleshooting, controllers, and control systems.

Good hands-on exercises for employees in this type of training would involve measurement, calibration, sensor checkout, controllers, set-up of process-simulation, set-up and calibration of hand-held calibrator, and simulation and source signals.

Getting Started

If you have a team of workers whose contribution to your operation could be improved by mastering process instruments and controls, why not contact NTT Training about our three-day, hands-on lab, Instrumentation and Process Control, so you can get started right away?

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