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Top 13 Automation Engineer Interview Questions (Part 2 of 2)

Common questions you’ll be asked during a job interview as an automation engineer.

With this article, we will continue with where our previous article, What are the leading Industrial Automation Job types?, closed with beginning the discussion on Automation Job Interview questions.

So now that we have learned about the Automation Job types let’s move on to learn more about some of the questions you’ll be asked during an interview.

The job description and degree of responsibilities vary and so you should align your capabilities with the experience required.

What type of job interview questions will you be asked?

Again, this will vary, and if you don’t have the experience or direct answer, prepare yourself for the response.

Question 1.

What are the five IEC1131  programming languages?

Answer: Instruction List, Structured Text, Ladder Diagram, Function Block and Sequential Function Chart.

Question 2.

Explain the PID Based Control System?

Answer: PID or Proportional Integral Derivative is widely used in closed-loop control.

PID controllers maintain the output to a device so that there is zero error between process variable input and setpoint to the device.

Question 3.  

Please explain the difference between a PLC and DCS?

Answer: a PLC or programmable logic controller is a ruggedized computer used for automating processes.

A DCS or distributed control system is similar to a PLC in that it has rugged computer controllers however the DCS contains multiple autonomous controllers that are distributed throughout a system, also used for automating processes.

Question 4.

What is Encoder?

Answer: An encoder is a rotary device that outputs digital pulses from angular motion. The encoder consists of a wheel with alternating clear stripes detected by optical sensors to produce the digital outputs.

Question 5.

What are the different components used in automation?

Answer: The components of the automation system include:

1) Sensors for sensing temperature, pressure, flow, level and etc.

2) Transmitters for transmitting the raw signal.

3) Control system which includes PLC, DCS and PID controllers.

4) Output devices and actuators like drives and control valves.

Question 6.

Who are the leading PLC providers?

Answer: Leading PLC providers include Rockwell Automation Allen Bradley, Siemens, Schneider Modicon, and GE Fanuc.

Question 7.

Who are the leading DCS providers?

Answer: The leading DCS providers include Yokogawa, Honeywell, Fisher – Rosemount, ABB, Moore and Foxboro.

Question 8.

Who are the leading SCADA software companies?

Answer: Leading SCADA software companies are Aveva Wonderware, GE Cimplicity, GE iFix, Siemens WinCC, Iconics Genesis64, Inductive Automation Ignition, Rockwell Software FactoryTalk View.

Question 9.

What types of sensors are used for measuring?

Answer: Temperature, Pressure, Flow, Level, Conductivity, Density, Ph type sensors.

Question 10.

What is a transmitter?

Answer: A transmitter is an electronic device mounted in the field or plant close to a sensor.

The sensor transduces a measured physical variable like temperature and then outputs a low electronic signal to a controller.

The basic function of the transmitter is to sense the low-level signal, amplify it to a higher level and transmit the signal to a controller.

Question 11.

Why is 4-20 mA preferred over 0-10 V Signal?

Answer: The 0-10 V signal has the tendency to weaken over a long distance because of resistance.

The 4-20 mA can travel a long distance without dropping signal value.

If the signal drops below 4 mA the read value will be a negative value and can be determined as faulted or open wire.

Question 12.

Why is 4-20 mA preferred over the 0-20 mA signal?

Answer: With 0-20 mA you cannot easily determine between minimum field value and a wire break.

With the 4-20 mA, a wire break can be determined.

When the input value is at minimum the transmitter will provide 4 mA while in with a wire break it will provide 0 mA.

Question 13.

Difference between 2-wire, 3-wire, and 4-wire transmitters?

Answer: For a 2-wire transmitter the power and signal are transmitted through the same cable.

For a 3-wire transmitter, the data signal and power are with respect to common ground and for a 4-wire transmitter two of the wires are used for power and two wires are used for signals.

Be ready to answer a few more questions, for example;

Have you lead any projects, please explain how you were successful?

This company was very interested in my ability to work within a team. Could you get along with a diverse group of people from different cultures?

This concludes the Top 13 Automation Engineer Interview Questions & Answers.

Want to Learn More?

Be sure to download the RealPars app (iOS, Apple TV, Android, Android TV, firetv, Roku). 

When you download the app, you’ll be able to watch an entire free course on PLC Hardware. Just like this article, the lessons are all high-quality and also very easy-to-follow.

By downloading the RealPars app, you can have access to a wealth of practical knowledge as an automation engineer right in your pocket and you will also receive new fresh out of the oven videos each and every week.

If you would like to get additional training on a similar subject please let us know in the comment section.

Check back with us soon for more automation control topics.

Got a friend, client, or colleague who could use some of this information? Please share this article.

The RealPars Team
By Wally Gastreich

By Wally Gastreich

Automation Engineer

Posted on Mar 23, 2020

By Wally Gastreich

Automation Engineer

Posted on Mar 23, 2020

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