With profitability in mind, an advanced process control engineer seeks to optimize the manufacturing process first by analyzing an existing system and then by developing and implementing changes within it through the use of complex software. This can involve calibrating or modifying existing equipment, reconfiguring software systems, or reordering a subprocess. A bachelor's degree in engineering - most commonly chemical engineering - is required for this career, with typical coursework including subjects in process control, process dynamics, chemistry, and math.
Making an industrial production process as efficient and standardized as possible is the goal of an advanced process control engineer. These engineers work in all manufacturing sectors, using sophisticated software and chemical-engineering techniques to optimize production processes. They may also be known as industrial engineers or process engineers.
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Continuing education to keep up with new technologies|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||1% (for all industrial engineers)|
|Median Salary (2015)**||$102,166|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics **PayScale.com
Advanced Process Control Engineer Job Description
Advanced process control (APC) is a specialized focus of engineers - primarily chemical engineers - who design and improve industrial or manufacturing processes. These processes include everything from refining oil to manufacturing plastic products. Chemical engineers use their knowledge of chemistry, physics and engineering to design the processes and equipment required to turn raw materials into a product. The process can involve human workers, mechanical equipment, computerized equipment and robots.
APC engineers use sophisticated computer technology and their own analytical skills to make these integrated processes more effective and efficient. The APC engineer may evaluate a manufacturing process and adjust it in a variety of ways, including changing the order of subprocesses, moving the equipment around, calibrating equipment differently and adding or modifying the software and equipment that control the entire process.
Advanced process control is frequently used to optimize industrial processes for increased profitability, while ensuring that products meet precise specifications and government regulations for the product and/or waste emissions. APC engineers study every input, output and accompanying process in the entire manufacturing system, looking for ways to improve it. They use sophisticated modeling software to identify and test changes to the process.
Salary and Employment Outlook
The median salary for advanced process control engineers was $102,166, as reported by Payscale.com in October 2016. Employment for industrial engineers was predicted to increase by one percent from 2014 until 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Services noted.
Advanced Process Control Engineer Requirements
The job of advanced process control engineer requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Most process control engineers have a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, although some have degrees in electrical, mechanical or industrial engineering, with additional experience in chemical engineering. Chemical engineering degree programs include courses in chemistry, physics, math, process dynamics, process control, chemical process design and engineering principles.
Before moving into advanced process control, engineers will typically have worked in the design of large-scale manufacturing, in which they designed both equipment and its layout, as well as the flow of subprocesses. APC engineers have previous experience in using standard process-control principles to develop, test and modify industrial equipment, manufacturing processes and the devices that control them.
Because of their reliance on increasingly powerful computer technology and the rapid pace of change in manufacturing, advanced process control engineers must continually update their knowledge and skills. Many regularly attend conferences and seminars put on by professional organizations or take graduate courses in APC methods and techniques. Others earn graduate degrees in engineering to acquire new knowledge.
An APC engineer generally needs to have significant working experience within the large-scale manufacturing sector, where their skills in subprocess flows, equipment design and layout planning have all been honed and advanced. It is essential for these engineers to commit to continuous learning in order to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of changing technologies and computer systems, which usually involves attending seminars and conferences, or enrolling in graduate courses.