A control and instrumentation engineer (CI engineer) is essentially responsible for designing, developing, installing, managing and/or maintaining equipment which is used to monitor and control engineering systems, machinery and processes.
The main objective of the work of CI engineers is to ensure that these systems and processes operate effectively, efficiently and safely. They usually work for the companies who manufacture and supply the equipment, or for the companies who use it.
CI engineers need a thorough understanding of the operational processes of an organisation and have a truly multidisciplinary role, working closely with colleagues across a number of functions, including operations, purchasing and design.
Typical work activities
Control and instrumentation engineers (CI engineers) will develop skills in specific control disciplines such as advanced process control (APC), distributed control systems (DCS), programmable logic controllers (PLC), and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). The use of these disciplines will depend on the exact nature of individual job roles. Tasks and responsibilities which are common to many CI engineer positions, however, may include:
- Designing and developing new control systems;
- Maintaining and modifying existing systems;
- Managing operations;
- Working collaboratively with design engineers, operation engineers, purchasers and other internal staff;
- Liaising with clients, suppliers, contractors and relevant authorities (e.g. the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority)
- Project management within cost and time constrained environments;
- Troubleshooting and problem-solving;
- Understanding and ensuring compliance with the health and safety regulations and quality standards of the country in which work is undertaken;
- Providing advice and consultancy support;
- Purchasing equipment;
- Writing computer software;
- Developing new business proposals; accepting responsibility and a level of accountability commensurate with the seniority of the position.