The chemical sector has invested billions in automation and information technology and this is set to continue in the future. The next level of productivity increases, in relation to Industry 4.0, will present the industry with major challenges. Increasing automation in industry requires qualified personnel: electronics technicians for automation technology are responsible for production systems and are important workers in this sector.

Over the past year, approximately 1 600 individuals successfully completed dual training to become electronic technicians in automation technology. Most had an intermediate level training qualification, but there are also many students with the higher level school leaving certificate who take up this occupation. The dual training of electronic technicians for automation technology is characterised by:

  • duration of 3.5 years;
  • remuneration of EUR 900 in the first year and EUR 1 100 in the fourth year of training;
  • skilled worker salary starting at approximately EUR 3 000 gross per month;
  • continuing education and training option as industrial master craftsperson or technician in the electrical engineering field.

As an example, Daniel Mosch, 26, works in a chemical plant, which has various production systems driven by computers. His job is to connect the measurement, control and regulation technology to the system. He also undertakes repairs if the technology is not working, for example if a valve is no longer opening. He frequently has to deal with hazardous substances. Most recently, Mosch set up a fill level measurement indicator on a reaction vessel for a new order: this measures how much of a substance there is in the large vessel and how much needs to be added from others so that the correct mixture comes out at the end.

‘We make the measurements using radar technology and when selecting the sensors I have to check both the material they are made from, so that they are resistant to the chemicals, as well as the properties of the substance.’

The radar measurement principle involves beams reflection. However, because there are stirrers in the reactor, Mosch has to mask their interference signals. ‘I set up all the necessary parameters for measurement on the laptop, supervise the initial filling and check whether there is a match between theory and practice,’ he explains.

The labour market already provides many jobs in this field, mainly in companies which develop, manufacture or use automation solutions. Electronics technician for automation technology is an occupation with a future and very good prospects.

Source: Die Zeit online, revised by ReferNet Germany