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Instrumentation Technicians

History

The use of instruments as a means for people to monitor and control their environment and to guide their activities is as old as the sundial. As modern technology progresses, we still find ourselves in need of precise information that is sometimes difficult for a person to physically obtain.

For instance, with the advent of the steam engine in the 19th century, a train operator had to know how much pressure was inside a boiler. A gauge was designed to measure this safely. The early 20th century saw the development of the internal combustion engine and powered flight. With these developments, engineers and technicians designed and made instruments such as speedometers, altimeters, and tachometers to provide vital data for the safe operation of these engines and auxiliary equipment.

Since World War II, instrumentation technology has become a fast-growing field, responding to challenging needs as people explore space, research our oceans, perform biomedical studies, and advance nuclear technology. Today, instrumentation technology involves both measurement and control, and technicians are critical to their accurate operation. For instance, instrumentation technicians at nuclear reactors assure that the devices inside accurately measure heat, pressure, and radiation, and their rates of change. If any of these factors is not at its specific level, then other instruments make the necessary adjustments. This allows the plant to operate safely and efficiently.

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