Documenting skills is value-add 

ISA certification provides an objective, third-party assessment, and confirmation of a person's skills.  It gives manufacturing and factory staff the opportunity to differentiate themselves from their peers and gain recognition. InTech covers three certification areas in its monthly Certification department.

ISA Certified Automation Professional (CAP) program

Certified Automation Professionals (CAPs) are responsible for the direction, design, and deployment of systems and equipment for manufacturing and control systems.

The following questions come from the CAP study guide, Performance Domain V, Deployment.

Field installation and checkout and startup of the systems

CAP questions

1. A Bill of Materials for purchase of cable on a project is created by completing a material:  

A. Procurement  
B. Inspection
C. Take off  
D. Requisition 

2. If the distance in a sheet line from the thickness gauge to the manipulated diebolt actuators is 200 meters and the speed is 4 meters per second, then the dead time from the transportation delay for thickness control is _____ seconds.  

A. 200  
B. 50
C. 5   
D. 0.02 

CAP answers

1. C, Take off, is the correct answer.  A material takeoff is the process of analyzing the drawings and determining all the materials required to accomplish the design. We then use the material takeoff to create a Bill of Materials. Inspection does not aid in creating a Bill of Material. Procurement and requisition are activities that occur after the Bill of Materials is complete. Reference: Whitt, Successful Instrument and Control System Design, ISA Press, 2004.


2. B, 50 is the best answer.  The time it takes the sheet to go from the diebolt actuators, which are the manipulated variable, to the thickness gauge that transverses the sheet to provide the controlled variable (sheet thickness profile across the sheet), is the transportation delay. 50 seconds: Distance / velocity (200 meters / 4 meters per second) is the transportation delay. Reference: McMillan, Good Tuning: A Pocket Guide, ISA Press, 2000 and Blevins, et al., Advanced Control Unleashed: Plant Performance Management for Optimum Benefit, ISA Press, 2003.

For information about the CAP program, go to

ISA Certified Control Systems Technician (CCST) program

Certified Control System Technicians (CCSTs) calibrate, document, troubleshoot, and repair/replace instrumentation for systems that measure and control level, temperature, pressure, flow, and other process variables.

These questions comes from the Level I study guide, Domain 3, Troubleshooting. Level I represents a professional who has a five-year total of education, training, and/or experience.  

CCST questions

1. A device used to change an analog signal to a digital signal is most often called a:  

A. Transducer  
B. Signal conditioner
C. Transmitter  
D. Converter 

2. A bread boarding area is:  

A. A data routing circuit  
B. Used to design or test electronic circuits  
C. A code-converting circuit  
D. A temporary binary storage area 

CCST answers

The answer to the first question is D, a converter. A bread boarding area is a place to design or test electronic circuits. The answer to number two is B.  

For information about the CCST program, go to

ISA Certified Industrial Maintenance Mechanic (CIMM) program

Certified Industrial Maintenance Mechanics (CIMMs) are responsible for preventive, predictive, and corrective maintenance. They are multi-skilled individuals whose expertise is primarily mechanical in nature as opposed to instrumentation or electrical.

CIMMs have a minimum of five years of relevant work experience in the maintenance mechanic field or three years experience and a two-year associate degree in maintenance or a related field.

These questions are from Performance Domain I: Maintenance practices.

CIMM questions

1. Which of the following is an example of a maintenance activity that requires a lookout/tagout for the maintenance task(s)?

A. Removing or bypassing a guard to  perform a maintenance task on a piece of equipment  
B. Centering and adjusting a belt on a  conveyor system  
C. Identifying problems and verifying  corrections during troubleshooting activities  
D. Performing minor tool changes and  adjustments on a milling machine 

2. In OSHA regulations, the term "point-of-operation protection device" refers to what feature in maintenance?  

A. Lockout-tagout  
B. Machine guarding  
C. Personal protective equipment  
D. Pre-operation inspection

CIMM answers

1. The correct answer is A, removing or bypassing a guard to perform a maintenance task on a piece of equipment. If the guard is removed or any moving materials are exposed, the equipment must go through a proper lock, tag, and try procedure.

Reference: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA 3.20. U.S. Department of Labor, 1997. 

2. The answer is B, machine guarding. The machine guard is the first protective device on most pieces of equipment. Machine guards are in place to protect the user and mount directly to the equipment.

"Lockout/tagout" and "PPE" are not attached-to-the-equipment related. A "pre-operation inspection" would inspect if the guard was in place and serviceable.

Reference: Hagan, Accident Prevention Manual for Industrial Operations, National Safety Council, 2001.  

Nicholas Sheble ( edits the Certification department.