Addressing the Instrumentation Engineering Shortage

Instrumentation engineers are few and far between these daysIndustries are faced with a perennial shortage of technical minds and a marketplace that requires operations to run longer and harder than ever. These challenges are made even more acute by the retirement of the Baby Boom generation, causing a loss of know-how and experience that extends as far back as the slide rule.

Enrollment in petroleum engineering programs at U.S. universities has dropped 85 percent from its peak in 1982, to a current total of just 1,500 students. At the same time, the U.S. graduated 89,140 students in the visual and performing arts in 2009 — more graduates than in computer science, math, and chemical engineering combined. Especially rare are instrumentation engineers — those people who have the knowledge necessary to operate your plant under the most trying conditions.

Engineering managers can alleviate their concerns by turning to WIKA, the leader in instrumentation technology. WIKA’s instrumentation expertise is provided at no charge to clients through WIKA’s Full Audit Service Team (FAST).

With limited resources, many plants are now relying on untrained personnel, not instrumentation engineers, to manage their instrumentation. Often, this strategy appears to work fine until an inexperienced worker switches the right gauge for one that “looks right” but is, in fact, the wrong one for an application. In doing so, this worker can unknowingly compromise a plant’s safety, productivity, and ultimately, its profitability.

At best, a misapplied gauge will leave the plant unaware of a problem in systems and processes. At worst, misapplied gauges can result in safety incidents.

Gauges, when used properly, can function as early-warning sentries for your plant’s operation. Because of WIKA and the FAST program, you do not have to be an instrumentation engineer. By taking care of your gauges for you, FAST can lower costs, improve safety, and reduce plant downtime.

FAST Offers Instrumentation Engineer Services

Instrument Audits: An Instrument Audit identifies issues with your instrumentation before a serious incident happens. FAST engineers also audit your storeroom to eliminate redundant inventory and help ensure the right gauges are used for the right applications.

Turnaround Instrument Planning: This service standardizes the instruments a customer needs prior to a turnaround. Through such preparation, you can ensure the right instruments are at your plant when you need them, eliminating the risk of delay.

Instrumentation Failure Analysis: Send us a failed gauge, and WIKA engineers will conduct a root cause analysis. A failure analysis reduces safety risks and lost productivity. It also reduces the need for frequent replacements for gauges that are incorrectly matched to their applications.

Instrument Safety Training: Maintenance technicians require training to know what signals to look for on a scheduled route, as well as how to use gauges to detect the onset equipment failure. Such training also teaches the importance of gauges to an operation. Training can be at your site or at a WIKA facility.

Best of all, with FAST you get a total solution. First, you will obtain the gauges and instruments your plant needs. And because FAST is a value-added service, the cost of what you might otherwise spend on gauges alone will also include instrumentation expertise. Through FAST, WIKA makes it easier than ever before for you to make the most from your investment in instrumentation – enhancing safety, reliability, equipment standardization, and ultimately profitability.

Learn more about WIKA FAST