In today’s manufacturing environment, the automation engineer often works with information technology and design engineering professionals, according to a recent Automation World online survey. And while the majority of automation projects are initiated at the local facility, most organizations rely on system integrator support, including hiring independent integrators, purchasing services from their automation suppliers and using corporate services.
Survey results represent responses from 140 Automation World subscribers, who work in companies ranging from automotive and discrete parts manufacturers to food, beverage and pharmaceutical makers, refiners, chemical processors and system integrators. About 23 percent work at companies with fewer than 100 employees; 34 percent work at companies with 100 to 500 employees; 19 percent at 500 to 2,000 employee companies; and 24 percent work at companies that employ more than 2,000.
Integrating IT and automation professionals is a factor for 75 percent of the respondents. Eleven percent say the two groups are integrated in a single reporting structure, while another 64 percent say they are separate departments, but work together often (27 percent) or sometimes (37 percent).
There is even closer cooperation among the automation engineers and design engineers, according to survey respondents. Twenty-eight percent cite the integration of these two groups into one department, while another 52 percent say the groups are in separate departments but work together often.
Another important part of the automation team is the system integrator. The majority of respondents use some combination of system integrator services, such as independent integrators (34 percent), purchased services from their automation suppliers (24 percent) and integrator services provided by a corporate department (24 percent).
Professional training plays a key role for members of the automation team. Seventy-seven percent of respondents say their employers provide formal technical skills training, 45 percent say employers provide management skills training, and 28 percent cite business skills training. Asked what training they would like their employers to provide, responses reflect that training needs for technical and management skills are being met, but respondents would like more training in the area of business skills, including financial analysis and cost justification.
Please take our current online survey on Global Design to Manufacturing by clicking here or at the Online Survey link on our home page.
If you have an idea for a survey topic, or have a comment about our Web site, please send Editorial Director, Jane Gerold, an e-mail at [email protected].