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Instrumentation Engineering

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Think of how soft drinks and ice creams fill into a cup or cone exactly until it’s full, or how traffic lights work in the exact time interval over and over, or how alarms are activated in the event of a fire or smoke. In all of these examples, the instruments were intricately designed and monitored by instrumentation engineers. What is an instrumentation engineer? He or she plans, designs, constructs and maintains an instrumentation system. They work in all kinds of fields and mainly deal with the instrumentation of processes in places like refineries and chemical plants where they select, specify and purchase the instruments required, from simple pressure gauges to complex distributed control systems. They engage themselves in the development of the process and control diagrams and work closely with their counterparts in the client’s task force and also in the final reviews. They are part of the startup team that commissions the plant.

Professor A. Bhujanga Rao, from the Department of Instrumentation Engineering, Andhra University, said of the subject that “It is a multi-disciplinary stream and covers subjects from various branches such as chemical, mechanical, electrical, electronics and computers.” It can be defined as the science of the control and measurement of process variables in manufacturing or production. The nature of work ranges from designing, developing, installing, troubleshooting and problem solving, providing advice and consultancy support, developing new business proposals, and managing equipment used to monitor and control machinery and processes and also with the goal of improving the productivity, reliability, safety, optimization and stability of the system. Instrumentation engineers can find work in both the software and hardware sector, but they mostly work in the manufacturing and process industries like steel, petrochemical, power, defence or oil. These engineers might also find work in the avionics, aeronautical and space sectors.

Topics covered in Instrumentation Engineering

The course is known by different names in various engineering colleges. In some institutes, the course is known as
B. Tech in Electronics and Instrumentation, while in others it is referred to as B. Tech in Control and Instrumentation.
In most cases, the course content remains similar.

  • The first year consists of two semesters and the subjects taken generally cover English, mathematics, IT fundamentals, computer programming and numerical methods, physics, chemistry, engineering graphics and various labs and workshops.
  • The third semester tends to cover subjects like mathematics, circuit theory, basic electronics, strength of materials, electrical machines, introduction to instrumentation engineering and labs and workshops. Usually all semesters have labs.
  • The subjects that are taken in the fourth semester include mathematics, electronic circuits, digital electronics, material science, op-amps and linear integrated circuits, industrial instruments and theory of machines.
  • Electrical measurements and measuring instruments, optical instruments, opto-electronics and lasers, computer organization and architecture, control engineering and microprocessors and applications might be offered in the fifth semester.
  • The sixth semester could have subjects like digital signal processing, control engineering, advanced microprocessors and micro-controllers, industrial instruments, electronic instrumentation and principles of process control.
  • The seventh semester could cover subjects like computer networks, industrial instruments, non-destructive testing, advanced process control, industrial electronics and control engineering.
  • The eighth semester may have subjects such as industrial management, fiber optics and laser instrumentation, industrial instruments and design of instrument systems.

Colleges offering Instrumentation Engineering Courses

  • Some colleges that offer the Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) or Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) in Instrumentation Engineering in India are given below.

    1Calcutta Institute of Engineering and Management
    2Government College of Engineering – Amravati
    3Indian Institute of Technology – Kharagpur
    4Khaja Banda Nawaz College of Engineering
    5Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology – Mumbai
    6Ramrao Adik Institute of Technology
    7Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering & Technology
    8Smt. Indira Gandhi College of Engineering
    9St. Joseph’s College of Engineering – Chennai

    Programs are subject to change, it is advisable to check directly with a school for current program availability.

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