Good working definition

I'd like to congratulate the person who wrote this want ad that appeared in a Chicago paper recently: Plant Engineer You will support ongoing operation, troubleshoot, resolve emergencies, implement shutdowns, and support Y2K program.


I'd like to congratulate the person who wrote this want ad that appeared in a Chicago paper recently:

Plant Engineer

You will support ongoing operation, troubleshoot, resolve emergencies, implement shutdowns, and support Y2K program. Additional duties include organizing and maintaining information on plant systems/ instruments and improvement programs, as well as implementing plant projects and maintaining proper documentation. Qualifications include 2+ years of experience in a GMP environment as well as knowledge of instruments, PLC-based controls, and P&I diagrams. Experience should include scope, design, specification, procurement, installation, startup, debug, validation, training, and maintenance. The ability to deal effectively with multiple activities, requests, and emergencies essential.

I love this ad, because it's about as good and concise a definition of plant engineering work as I've run across.

Sounds like this person has to be able to do just about anything and everything. And that's the way it is in plant engineering. From the routine of preventive maintenance to the near-terror of emergencies, from piping to PLCs, from projects to Y2K, plant engineers face a breadth of challenges found in few other industrial functions. They're at the center of it all, somehow touching just about everything in the plant.

How does this definition compare with your job description? Has yours been updated in the past few years?

I'd be willing to bet that your job has changed. I'll bet you're much more involved with computers, electronics, and controls than you used to be. Chances are your required knowledge base is much broader than it was five years ago. And although many plant engineers moan that they don't have the independence and authority they used to have, my guess is that your sphere of influence -- or potential influence -- has actually grown.

That's why when someone asks, "What do plant engineers do?" it can be hard to explain. So I'm going to keep this ad in my wallet for the next time the question comes up.

You might want to have it handy the next time you work on your job description.

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
February 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
March 2018
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
Jan/Feb 2018
Welding ergonomics, 2017 Salary Survey, and surge protection
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards
December 2017
PID controllers, Solar-powered SCADA, Using 80 GHz radar sensors

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Industrial Analytics
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
IIoT: Operations & IT
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me