Roles and Responsibilities of an Instrumentation and Control Engineer

It is the responsibility of the Instrumentation and Control Engineer for defining and applying the field instrumentation and the control system, level of automation of the process plants, and industrial facilities, for the proper functioning of the process.

Greater attention required to be paid on the safety for the equipment and people, and with the minimum cost.

Generally, an instrumentation project involves defining, specifying, buying, installing, starting-up, and maintaining the local and remote instruments properly.

For the purpose of capturing process variables

Define, specify, buy, install, start-up and be able to maintain properly the control system in order to manage process.

Define, specify, buy, install, start-up and be able to maintain the instruments (Sensors, Transmitters, Transducers, Valves, Variable Frequency Drives etc.) to be able to modify the process variables.

Define, specify, buy, install, start-up and be able to maintain the materials to be able to install the instruments, control systems and final control elements. Although it is not clearly defined, in my opinion an Instrumentation and Control project consists mainly of three well differentiated parts as shown below.

1. Concept Engineering (I & C)

2. Control System Engineering

3. Construction and Commissioning Engineering

Each one of above is focused on a specific mission, the last one being linked to the execution of the previous two.

In order to be able to correctly execute the three parts mentioned above, it is very important to start from the bases that are not always fully available, and that must come from other specialties or from the end customer.

The staring documentation is usually

  • Basic engineering and design basis
  • End user compliance and local compliance regulations
  • P & IDs
  • Process data sheets
  • Piping and equipment implementation plans
  • Pipe specifications
  • Hazardous area classification plans

1. Concept Engineering (I & C)

This part of the engineering includes the part related to the analysis of the project and serves to generate the basic documents to control the instrumentation, as well as generate the necessary documentation for the purchase of the instruments and analyzers.

Typically, the conceptual engineering contains the following documents.

  • General instrumentation design criteria
  • Control general design criteria
  • Installation general design criteria
  • Criteria for general instrumentation and control design for package units
  • List of instruments
  • Architecture plan for Control System
  • Technical specifications of sensors, transmitters, transducers, control valves, and analyzers, (one for each type of instrument
  • Data sheets related to sensors, transmitters, transducers, control valves and analyzers etc., (one for each instrument type)

Among the responsibilities of instrumentation engineer are

  • Coordinating the engineering portion of the project
  • Keeping track of engineering progress

Systems with undermined responsibility

  • Wiring between control system and MCC’s, wiring of motor points, etc.,
  • Co-ordination for cable routing

2. Control System Engineering

This part of the engineering includes the part related to the information necessary to be able to execute all the work related to the control system. The control system can have different topologies, these depending on many factors, being among others one of the size of the installation is important.

The objective is to create a series of documents to be able to purchase, integrate, supply, test and put the control system into operation.

The documents that are usually included in this part are usually

  • Technical specifications of the control system
  • List of inputs/outputs for the control system
  • Control system data base
  • Control Diagrams
  • Functional diagrams
  • Logical diagrams
  • Definition of communications with other systems and package units
  • Implementation plans for control panels and operation stations
  • Interconnection schemes on the control system side

Within this section there are also a series of activities that must be carried out by the Instrumentation Engineer, such as

  • Customer assistance for the selection of the technology to be used
  • Market studies of possible technologies
  • Attendance to Tests in factory (FAT) and field (SAT)
  • Supplier documentation approval
  • Monitoring of engineering progress

3. Construction and Commissioning engineering

This part includes the part related to the necessary information to be able to execute all the installation of everything related to the instruments, the control system and linking between them.

Right from the capture of the process variable to be measured and until its arrival at the control system as well as being able take the output of the control system to the final control elements. The objective is to create a series of documents to be able to specify, buy, and install the mentioned in the past.

The documents that are usually included in this part are

  • Technical specifications for mounting
  • Diagrams for process connections
  • Pneumatic connection diagrams
  • Plans for implementation of pneumatic consumers
  • Implementation plans for junction boxes and cable routing directions
  • Cable data sheets
  • Connection diagrams
  • List of instrumentation cables
  • A bill of materials list

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