In Summary - Chemical Plant Process Technician
Chemical Plant Process Technicians typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Chemical Plant Process Technician
Chemical plant process technicians are responsible for highly automated systems which control chemical plants. Technicians check the meters, clocks and gauges that provide information on how the process is working. They may also take and analyse samples to check the products quality. Technicians often carry out simple or routine maintenance tasks on machines.
In highly automated plants, experienced process technicians may work in a control centre. From here, they can monitor and control the whole process from computerised systems called DCS (Distributed Control Suite).
The processes are highly technical and sometimes hazardous where raw materials are altered by such methods as heating, compression and molecular reconstruction. Because of the potential hazards involved, companies are extremely conscious of safety and environmental concerns, so technicians work to tight controls, standards and regulations. Health and Safety is a priority.
They prepare and measure raw materials. Feed raw materials and processing agents into plant machinery, set controls and operate machinery and take samples for testing, test products and record process data.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Move control settings to make necessary adjustments on equipment units affecting speeds of chemical reactions, quality, or yields.
- Monitor recording instruments, flowmeters, panel lights, or other indicators and listen for warning signals, to verify conformity of process conditions.
- Control or operate chemical processes or systems of machines, using panelboards, control boards, or semi-automatic equipment.
- Record operating data, such as process conditions, test results, or instrument readings.
- Confer with technical and supervisory personnel to report or resolve conditions affecting safety, efficiency, or product quality.
- Draw samples of products and conduct quality control tests to monitor processing and to ensure that standards are met.
- Regulate or shut down equipment during emergency situations, as directed by supervisory personnel.
- Start pumps to wash and rinse reactor vessels, to exhaust gases or vapors, to regulate the flow of oil, steam, air, or perfume to towers, or to add products to converter or blending vessels.
- Interpret chemical reactions visible through sight glasses or on television monitors and review laboratory test reports for process adjustments.
- Patrol work areas to ensure that solutions in tanks or troughs are not in danger of overflowing.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Interests - Chemical Plant Process Technician
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
As a chemical plant technician, you must have good problem solving skills, because you will often deal with technical faults. You need a basic understanding of science and technology. The ability to work well in a team is essential. You will also need patience and the ability to pay close attention to detail, enjoy practical and manual activities, to be able to follow instructions and be physically fit, mechanical aptitude with good hand-eye coordination.
Entry Requirements - Chemical Plant Process Technician
Pay & Salary - Chemical Plant Process Technician
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 25k - 77k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Chemical Plant Process Technician
Employment growth was at the national average; opportunities for technicians are likely to be due to replacement requirements rather than growth. The demand is largely for roles in high tech manufacturing especially for those with experience. Three new apprenticeships in this area will help to address identified skills shortage.
National Skills Bulletin 2018