Automation engineering technician

Automation engineering technician article illustration

Description

Automation engineering technicians collaborate with automation engineers to develop applications and systems for the automation of the production process. Automation engineering technicians build, test, monitor, and maintain the computer-controlled systems used in automated production systems.

Automation engineering technicians typically perform the following duties:

  • Assist with the design and development of automated systems
  • Install and maintain automated equipment
  • Troubleshoot and repair issues with automated systems
  • Program and configure automated systems
  • Collaborate with engineers and other technical professionals to develop new automation solutions
  • Document and maintain records of automation processes and procedures

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to automation engineering technician:

technician in automated systems
technologist in automated systems
automation inspector
automation engineering assistant
technician in automation engineering
assistant in automation engineering
automated systems technician
automation engineering controller
automation technician
automation control inspector

Working conditions

Automation engineering technicians typically work in manufacturing plants, production facilities, and other industrial settings. They may be required to work long hours, including nights and weekends, in order to meet production deadlines or to troubleshoot and repair equipment issues. The work may also involve exposure to hazardous materials and environments, and protective gear may be required.

Minimum qualifications

Most employers require automation engineering technicians to have an associate’s degree in engineering technology or a related field. Some employers may also require a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field. In addition to formal education, employers typically look for candidates with experience working with automated systems and strong technical and problem-solving skills. Certification in automation technology may also be beneficial for career advancement.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Automation engineering technician is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Automation engineering technician career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to automation engineering technician.

mechatronics engineering technician
robotics engineering technician
sensor engineering technician
microsystem engineering technician
microelectronics engineering technician

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of automation engineering technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of automation engineering technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

automation engineer
mechatronics engineer
robotics engineer
microsystem engineer
sensor engineer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of automation engineering technician.

  • Circuit diagrams: Read and comprehend circuit diagrams showing the connections between the devices, such as power and signal connections.
  • Design drawings: Understand design drawings detailing the design of products, tools, and engineering systems.
  • Electrical engineering: Understand electrical engineering, a field of engineering that deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism.
  • Computer engineering: Engineering discipline that combines computer science with electrical engineering to develop computer hardware and software. Computer engineering occupies itself with electronics, software design, and hardware and software integration.
  • Microprocessors: Computer processors on a microscale that integrate the computer central processing unit (CPU) on a single chip.
  • Quality standards: The national and international requirements, specifications and guidelines to ensure that products, services and processes are of good quality and fit for purpose.
  • Mechanical engineering: Discipline that applies principles of physics, engineering and materials science to design, analyse, manufacture and maintain mechanical systems.
  • Control engineering: Subdiscipline of engineering that focuses on controlling the behaviour of systems through the use of sensors and actuators.
  • Mechatronics: Multidisciplinary field of engineering that combines principles of electrical engineering, telecommunications engineering, control engineering, computer engineering, and mechanical engineering in the design of products and manufacturing processes. The combination of these areas of engineering allows for the design and development of “smart” devices and the achievement of an optimal balance between mechanical structure and control.
  • Automation technology: Set of technologies that make a process, system, or apparatus operate automatically through the use of control systems.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of automation engineering technician.

  • Inspect quality of products: Use various techniques to ensure the product quality is respecting the quality standards and specifications. Oversee defects, packaging and sendbacks of products to different production departments.
  • Record test data: Record data which has been identified specifically during preceding tests in order to verify that outputs of the test produce specific results or to review the reaction of the subject under exceptional or unusual input.
  • Adjust engineering designs: Adjust designs of products or parts of products so that they meet requirements.
  • Perform test run: Perform tests putting a system, machine, tool or other equipment through a series of actions under actual operating conditions in order to assess its reliability and suitability to realise its tasks, and adjust settings accordingly.
  • Align components: Align and lay out components in order to put them together correctly according to blueprints and technical plans.
  • Monitor automated machines: Continuously check up on the automated machine’s set-up and execution or make regular control rounds. If necessary, record and interpret data on the operating conditions of installations and equipment in order to identify abnormalities.
  • Install automation components: Install the automation components according to the specifications of the circuit diagram.
  • Assemble machines: Assemble machines according to instructions and specifications.
  • Set up machine controls: Set up or adjust machine controls to regulate conditions such as material flow, temperature, or pressure.
  • Read engineering drawings: Read the technical drawings of a product made by the engineer in order to suggest improvements, make models of the product or operate it.
  • Liaise with engineers: Collaborate with engineers to ensure common understanding and discuss product design, development and improvement.
  • Fasten components: Fasten components together according to blueprints and technical plans in order to create subassemblies or finished products.
  • Assist scientific research: Assist engineers or scientists with conducting experiments, performing analysis, developing new products or processes, constructing theory, and quality control.
  • Prepare production prototypes: Prepare early models or prototypes in order to test concepts and replicability possibilities. Create prototypes to assess for pre-production tests.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of automation engineering technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Firmware: Firmware is a software program with a read-only memory (ROM) and a set of instructions that is permanently inscribed on a hardware device. Firmware is commonly used in electronic systems such as computers, mobile phones, and digital cameras.
  • Programmable logic controller: Programmable logic controllers or PLC’s are computer control systems used for the monitoring and control of input and output as well as the automation of electromechanical processes.
  • CAE software: The software to perform computer-aided engineering (CAE) analysis tasks such as Finite Element Analysis and Computational Fluid Dynamics.
  • CAD software: The computer-aided design (CAD) software for creating, modifying, analysing or optimising a design.
  • Robotics: The branch of engineering that involves the design, operation, manufacture, and application of robots. Robotics is part of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science and overlaps with mechatronics and automation engineering.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of automation engineering technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Follow work schedule: Manage the sequence of activities in order to deliver completed work on agreed deadlines by following a work schedule.
  • Resolve equipment malfunctions: Identify, report and repair equipment damage and malfunctions; communicate with field representatives and manufacturers to obtain repair and replacement components.
  • Install hardware: Assemble the necessary hardware components, such as the motherboard, Central Processing Unit (CPU), hard drive, disk drive, power supply unit, RAM, PCI card, mouse, keyboard, cameras and other necessary components to build the computer device. Attach the components manually using screwdrivers or use assembly machines and install the wiring.
  • Customise software for drive system: Adapt and customise software to the specific machine or application.
  • Use CAM software: Use computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programmes to control machinery and machine tools in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimisation as part of the manufacturing processes of workpieces.
  • Follow safety standards in industrial contexts: Abide by safety procedures and standards for industrial contexts, mostly where machinery is involved.
  • Integrate new products in manufacturing: Assist with the integration of new systems, products, methods, and components in the production line. Ensure that production workers are properly trained and follow the new requirements.
  • Write technical reports: Compose technical customer reports understandable for people without technical background.
  • Program a CNC controller: Set up the desired product design in the CNC controller of the CNC machine for product manufacturing.
  • Apply technical communication skills: Explain technical details to non-technical customers, stakeholders, or any other interested parties in a clear and concise manner.
  • Install software: Install machine-readable instructions, such as computer programs, in order to direct the computer’s processor to perform a certain set of actions.
  • Replace machines: Evaluate when to invest in replacing machines or machine tools and take the necessary actions.
  • Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
  • Program firmware: Program permanent software with a read-only memory (ROM) on a hardware device, such as an integrated circuit.
  • Maintain control systems for automated equipment: Check, maintain and repair electrical and electronic elements. Check and update software of automated equipment.
  • Set up automotive robot: Set up and programme an automotive robot working on machine processes and substituting or collaboratively supporting human labour, such as the six-axis automotive robot.

ISCO group and title

3119 – Physical and engineering science technicians not elsewhere classified


References
  1. Automation engineering technician – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by Simon Kadula on Unsplash
Last updated on May 16, 2023