Automation Technicians in Action: What Does the Job Entail?

Automation Technicians in Action: What Does the Job Entail?

May 05, 2019

Automation technicians are the human brains behind the machines. They are responsible for keeping automated machines running smoothly and efficiently, and deal with any problems should they arise either in the programming or in the machine itself.

We live in an increasingly automated world, and these machines are responsible for everything from assembling parts for automobile companies, to wrapping candies for food manufacturers; from ensuring factory lights are turned on and off at predetermined times of the day, to ensuring the correct amount of baking soda is added to a package of cake mix. The importance of these machines is far-reaching, and having skilled technicians to preside over them is paramount to ensuring the quality of a company’s product, as well as their bottom line.

Automation Technician in action

The world of automation is complex and nuanced, as is the job of automation technician. If you find yourself interested in automation technician training and industrial automation, there are some key facts of which you should be aware. Perhaps most important are the common duties and tasks you will be expected to perform.

Troubleshooting Automation Systems

A large part of presiding over automated machine systems to ensure they’re running smoothly is troubleshooting any problems that may crop up. Regardless of how well-programmed a machine may be, glitches are inevitable and need to be fixed.

Engineer on the factory floor with robots in the background

As an automation technician, it’s your job to diagnose the problem and proceed with solving it as quickly as possible. What may seem like a small delay could potentially cost a company thousands of dollars, so being able to think clearly and remain collected are also beneficial assets for the job. Additionally, knowledge of robotics, computer systems, PLC programming and circuit controls, amongst others, are valuable partnered with lateral and logical thinking.

Servicing Automation Systems

Naturally, once the troubleshooting process is complete, servicing the problem becomes the next priority. Servicing automated machines can range from adjusting the program that controls the machines, to fixing the machines themselves.

Automation technicians work at the intersection between robotics and computers, so a well-versed knowledge in both is paramount. Control systems that you may be expected to service include: electromechanical devices and systems, high-speed robotics and PLC’s.

Interpersonal and good communication skills are also vitally important, as you should be able to effectively communicate the servicing workflow to your team, training new employees, and outlining the process of troubleshooting and repairing in reports to your superiors. Often times, servicing these automated machines revolves around observing an equipment monitoring and early warning system that can detect any abnormalities in a machine via data collection and comparisons.

Perform Routine Monitoring & Diagnostic Checks

Perhaps the most common aspect of the job is performing routine monitoring and diagnostic checks of these machines. The best problem, afterall, is having no problem at all, and when everything is running smoothly, your job is to ensure it continues to do so. This involves reading instruments, gauges and other mechanical components, analyzing this data to ensure the machines meet company standards, and synthesizing this data it into articulate reports.

Engineer wearing safety glasses

These reports may include recommended upgrades or changes to processes. Automated machines are computerized systems and devices that are designed to reduce human interaction, however, they still require a human hand and mind to preside over their programming and functionality.

As we move into an increasingly digital and automated world, the need for automation technicians will continue to grow. George Brown College offers Automation Technician Training, providing thorough and rigorous training for students interested in this exciting and lucrative career option. Find out if the program is right for you.

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