System integrators in the automation and control industry are essential to the modern factory environment to ensure their effective and safe operation. They bring numerous divergent factory subsystems together into a cohesive process that accomplishes specific factory production tasks. They are typically solutions-oriented individuals capable of programming, maintaining and repairing the equipment that is responsible for important factory processes.
Automations systems integrators must be capable of handling many diverse technologies and be proficient in a wide range of disciplines. They must provide results in a mission critical and time sensitive production environment where their services are directly linked to a company’s production capabilities—and ultimately—its profitability.
System Integrators typically align themselves closely with vendors in the automation industry. This is crucial as access to timely technical support, products and resources is critical as the factory and company bottom line is at stake.
The organization in the United States for Systems integrators in the automation industry is called CSIA (Control System Integrators Association). This group provides a central point and implements best practices for the industry by bringing together a collective community of automation systems integrators. CSIA resources allow members the opportunity to improve their technical and business skills and interact with each other via online forums for sharing industry expertise and solutions.
Skills and Requirements for Automation Systems Integrators
- Provides expert technical guidance and the ability to diagnose complex control system processes, ensuring proper operation of numerous factory automation and robotic systems with a limited amount of down time.
- Performs installations, start-ups & commissioning of new factory systems as required.
- Provides timely response to diagnose the source of a problem by analysis of system requirements, testing of components, and recommends corrective actions.
- Troubleshoots communication wiring, programs and schedules local programmable logic controllers and human machine interfaces and identifies concerns to determine an effective corrective action.
- Maintain a significant command of ladder logic using software such as RSLogix 500 and RSLogix 5000 used in PLC programming.
- Be proficient with HMI development applications such as FactoryTalk and RSView 32 along with extensive familiarity with applications for programming HMI panels such as PanelView and Maple Systems.
- Maintains proper set-points, sequences and ensures schedules-of-operation are correctly programmed.
- Determines equipment needs and maintains a parts inventory required to ensure reliable system performance for various factory systems.
- Performs inspections and preventive maintenance tasks for control systems including point-to-point check-out, sensor calibration, and software back-up.
- Ensures proper Measurement and Verification (M&V) equipment functionality, including accurate data recording and storage.
- Must be able to collaboratively coordinate work with other trades in a factory environment.
- Due to the mission critical nature, these individuals must be available for on-call or emergency service response.
- These individuals will many times work in a high pressure, mission-critical environment. They will be expected to maintain certain inherent qualities. These will include but are not limited to a sense of duty to maintain a safe and effective factory, a customer oriented focus, interpersonal savvy, a drive for results, efficient planning, priority setting, time management skills, superior organizational skills, a natural problem solving ability.