Automation Engineer

Last Updated:
July 18, 2023

Job Description Overview

An Automation Engineer plays a critical role in the manufacturing industry. These professionals are responsible for designing, developing, and implementing automation systems to improve production processes. The role requires a deep understanding of manufacturing processes, as well as expertise in automation and control systems. An Automation Engineer's job description includes evaluating existing manufacturing processes to identify ways to optimize efficiency and reliability, and developing automated solutions to execute those optimizations.

Their work involves designing and developing automation systems including robotic cells, conveyors, and other automated equipment. They also install, test, and maintain automation systems, troubleshoot and debug any issues that arise, and provide technical support to production staff. Overall, Automation Engineers aim to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase output by employing automated solutions.

To be an Automation Engineer, candidates must typically have a bachelor's degree in engineering, automation, or a related field. Additionally, some employers prefer candidates who have experience in programming or coding.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Designing and implementing automation systems for manufacturing processes
  • Collaborating with cross-functional teams to identify automation needs and opportunities
  • Developing and testing software for automation systems
  • Analyzing and troubleshooting problems in automated systems
  • Conducting regular maintenance and inspections of automation equipment
  • Providing training and support to operators and maintenance personnel
  • Conducting risk assessments and ensuring compliance with safety regulations
  • Managing and documenting all automation-related activities and projects
  • Identifying opportunities for process improvements and cost savings through automation
  • Staying up-to-date with the latest automation technologies and trends

Experience and Education Requirements

To be an Automation Engineer in the manufacturing industry, you usually need a combination of education and work experience. 

Many employers require a bachelor's degree in electrical, mechanical or industrial engineering, or a closely related technical field. Having a degree in a related field of study is also acceptable. Additionally, relevant work experience in automation, such as control systems engineering or robotics, is necessary to qualify for the job. You may need a minimum of three to five years' experience in automation, programming, and controls. Knowledge of automation software, industrial computer networks, and programmable logic controllers is also vital. A good understanding of manufacturing processes, project management, and interdisciplinary collaboration are valued skills.

Salary Range

The average salary range for an Automation Engineer in the United States is $68,000 to $118,000 per year. This highly specialized role requires a deep understanding of robotics, machinery, and computer programming to design, implement, and maintain automated systems in the manufacturing industry. According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for an Automation Engineer is $86,481 per year with salaries ranging from $58,000 to $124,000. In Canada, the average salary for an Automation Engineer is C$70,240 per year according to Payscale. Similarly, in Australia, the average salary for an Automation Engineer is AU$89,784 per year according to Job Outlook. The salary range for an Automation Engineer varies based on experience, location, and industry.


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Career Outlook

Automation engineers in the manufacturing industry will be in high demand over the next five years. With advancements in technology and increasing pressure to improve efficiency, automation is becoming more prevalent in the sector. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of industrial engineers, a closely related occupation, is projected to grow 10% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is attributed to the need for companies to improve productivity and reduce costs. The demand for these professionals will only continue to increase as manufacturers adopt more automation solutions. Individuals with experience in the design and implementation of automated systems will be highly sought after.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is an Automation Engineer in the manufacturing industry?

A: An Automation Engineer uses engineering principles and programming languages to develop, design, and improve automated systems in manufacturing plants.

Q: What is the role of an Automation Engineer in the manufacturing industry?

A: The role of an Automation Engineer is to design, develop, test, and implement automated systems in manufacturing plants. They also troubleshoot and resolve issues that arise in automated systems.

Q: What skills are necessary to become an Automation Engineer in the manufacturing industry?

A: To become an Automation Engineer, one needs knowledge of engineering principles, as well as programming languages, such as C++ and Python. Other essential skills include critical thinking, problem-solving, and attention to detail.

Q: What is the educational requirement for becoming an Automation Engineer in the manufacturing industry?

A: A bachelor's degree in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering is typically required to become an Automation Engineer in the manufacturing industry. Some employers may prefer candidates with a master's degree or relevant work experience.

Q: What are the job prospects for Automation Engineers in the manufacturing industry?

A: Job prospects for Automation Engineers in the manufacturing industry are promising. As manufacturing plants become increasingly automated, the demand for skilled Automation Engineers is expected to grow.

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