What Is Industrial Automation Engineering?
In a previous post, I wrote about Industrial Automation (Click Here – What Is Industrial Automation?), which is a precursor to the information in this article. Everyone in the Engineering realm is well-aware of the major areas of Engineering – Civil, Mechanical, and Electrical, but there is a 4th area that is often missed when industrial projects are being researched, planned, executed, constructed, and finalized. That area is Industrial Automation Engineering, which is defined as:
The entire area of study and expertise that includes all elements, systems, sub-systems, installation, maintenance, configuration, troubleshooting, programming, integration, tuning, and construction of industrial process control and analytics; the complete understanding and ability to effectively apply the knowledge of said systems in a manner that ensures efficient operation within the confines of the system design and capabilities. – Ryan Duke, CAP, MSM, 02-08-2022
Industrial automation and control projects are usually part of larger projects that include the 3 aforementioned areas of Engineering. Over the past 20+ years, the Information Technology world has absolutely exploded which eventually led to a steep increase in Industrial Automation related technology, especially in the areas of Distributed Control Systems (DCS) and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) and their associated top end Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI) that are primarily running on Linux or Microsoft Windows based systems. These advanced control systems have the ability to consume a huge amount of information from analytical instrumentation, which is then compared to the control “logic” that is programmed into the DCS and/or PLC, which then sends digital and analog commands to the field devices that are connected to the Input / Output (I/O) hardware to control and ultimately manipulate the process that the system is responsible for controlling. Every single piece of equipment, software, hardware, instrumentation, and electrical components, systems, and sub-systems are all part of Industrial Automation Engineering. A complete understanding of each area requires several years of multi-faceted experience that includes hands-on “real world” experience that can only be acquired throughout time while working in the proper environment.
Why Is There A Need For the 4th Area Of Engineering?
There is a lack of proper understanding of Industrial Automation Engineering within the Industrial Engineering realm, which is what led to the formation of Hampton Roads Automation. After several years of working on multiple projects with several different Civil, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering companies, it became very apparent that there is a dire need for an Engineering / Consulting firm that has a specific focus on this very important area of expertise that is applicable across the entire industrial world regardless of the type of industry.
How Does HRA Fit Into The Traditional Engineering Model?
From the initial Professional Engineering Report (PER) phase of a project, through the design, construction, startup, tuning, and end-user training, HRA is able to work alongside traditional engineering firms as a sub-consultant. We’re able to partner with, assist, design, specify, and where necessary direct the industrial process control portion of any project that includes elements of Industrial Automation.
About Hampton Roads Automation (HRA)
If you haven’t already heard, Hampton Roads Automation (HRA) is an Industrial Automation Consulting firm serving municipal, commercial, and industrial clients by offering a myriad of services. If you are interested in learning more about how we can support your projects, please contact us to schedule a virtual webinar to hear a presentation of our services and earn PDH’s.
The Team at HRA was brought together by pure fate; our working relationships and close friendships have grown very close over a 20+ year period. We are a TEAM in the truest form of the word. We’ve climbed the mountain of Industrial Automation together and now that we’ve reached the summit we are absolutely excited about the opportunity to share our collective experiences with you…our customers.
If you’re ready to experience “Automation Made Easy”, Contact Us today!
Ryan C. Duke, CAP, MSM
Principal Automation Engineer | Vice President of Finance
Hampton Roads Automation