The role of an Equipment Systems Engineer differs from other areas of engineering as Equipment Systems Engineers need a much broader focus.
For example, a Mechanical Engineer works with mechanical systems and components. An Equipment Systems Engineer, however, needs to understand aspects of mechanical engineering as well as a range of other disciplines.
So, the skills you need as an Equipment Systems Engineer include mechanical, electrical, control systems, and validation engineering skills as well as a range of soft skills and, potentially, leadership skills.
Let’s look at this in more detail.
Mechanical Engineering Skills
Mechanical engineering skills allow Equipment Systems Engineers to work with mechanical components and systems in manufacturing environments. This includes designing, developing, installing, modifying, and maintaining those components and systems.
Circuit design, reading and manipulating electrical instruments, and electrical testing are some of the electrical engineering skills that Equipment Systems Engineers need. They also need to have knowledge of op-amps, analogue and digital filters, designing feedback control loops, working with radio frequency (RF) to enable wireless connectivity, and more.
Control Systems Engineering
Control Systems Engineers work with dynamic systems such as machines and processes on production lines. They design, develop, implement, and maintain solutions that control these dynamic systems, increasing levels of automation to improve their performance and enhance productivity.
Validation is about ensuring manufacturing facilities produce products that are of consistent quality. It’s also about creating documentation that proves there is a consistency of product quality as well as demonstrating that equipment, machines, and processes are performing according to their specification. Equipment Systems Engineers need these skills.
Programming is an increasingly important part of optimising production processes, not least because most facilities have legacy systems with machines and equipment from multiple vendors. Programming skills are required to integrate these machines and deliver the benefits of Industry 4.0. Equipment Systems Engineers use a wide range of programming languages including C#, C, C++, SQL, VB, and Java.
IT – Information Technology
Computer hardware and communication technologies are essential to the solutions that Equipment Systems Engineers design, develop, and implement. This includes everything from servers to LANs (Local Area Networks) to WANs (Wide Area Networks) to cloud technologies to tablet devices and more.
IS – Information Systems
Integration and automation solutions can’t work without data. To collect, process, store, use, and distribute data you need Information Systems. Therefore, Equipment Systems Engineers need skills and experience with IS.
The above are all hard skills but the engineers of today and tomorrow also need soft skills to maximise their potential. This is particularly important for Equipment Systems Engineers as their role often involves the development of solutions and technologies that don’t currently exist.
Key soft skills that Equipment Systems Engineers need include:
• Problem-solving skills
• Critical thinking skills
• Attention to detail
• Communication skills
• Teamwork skills
• Flexibility and adaptability
Not all Equipment Systems Engineers will move into leadership roles. In fact, there are many career paths you can take as an Equipment Systems Engineer. Taking on management responsibilities is only one.
That said, Ireland does need Equipment Systems Engineers who have leadership skills including people management and project management skills.
Your Future as An Equipment Systems Engineer
There are a growing number of job opportunities available in Ireland for engineers with the above range of skills. In fact, Equipment Systems Engineering is one of the most exciting engineering fields to pursue. You can work in a range of industries, there are excellent career progression opportunities, and the work is interesting, not least because of the cutting-edge technologies you will use.
The starting point, though, is getting the right skills.