ISA Automation Engineering Survival Training (AEST)


Bonus Features

5-Day Intensive Training Curriculum

  • Measurement Basics and Documentation
  • Control Valves and Strategies
  • Safety and Operator Effectiveness
  • Industrial Security and Project Management
  • Advanced Process Automation
Here what you’ll learn!

(See Curriculum tab for more details.)

Class Graduation*

As a culmination to an intensive week of training, students will receive their certificates of successful completion for a job well done and the right to say, "I SURVIVED ISA AUTOMATION ENGINEERING SURVIVAL TRAINING!"

*Note: Students must attend the entire week of lab-intensive exercises and lecture in order to receive their certificate of completion.

Course Resources (included with registration):


Successful Instrumentation and Control Systems Design, Second Edition
by Michael D. Whitt


ISA Standard:

ANSI/ISA-5.1-2009 - Instrumentation Symbols and Identification


More Ways to Learn:

Want to learn more about the topic? Check out these resources.

Measurement and Control Basics, Fourth Edition
by Thomas A. Hughes


Safety Instrumented Systems: Design, Analysis and Justification, Second Edition
by Paul Gruhn


Basic and Advanced Regulatory Control: System Design and Application, Second Edition
by Harold L. Wade




Do you have what it takes to survive in the world of process automation?

Sharpen your process automation know-how with this intensive week of expert-led lecture and hands-on exercises covering practical, real-world automation survival skills.

Automation Engineering Survival Training is a unique process automation engineering experience designed to hone your process automation knowledge and skills. This intensive technical training boot camp for automation engineers combines lecture and hands-on labs with bonus features, including a plant tour to maximize your learning experience.

ISA's seasoned "Survival Expert" will guide you through a fast-paced and rigorous course of topics from process measurement fundamentals through advanced automation, and everything in between! This course also serves as a solid introduction to other ISA engineering courses that can assist in the advancement of your process engineering career.

Who Should Attend?

  • New automation, control system, or process control engineers
  • Recent process engineering and other engineering graduates
  • Seasoned engineers looking to refresh their process automation knowledge and skills
  • Individuals wanting to learn more about process automation

Watch our Survival Training video on YouTube!

For more information:
Contact us at +1 919-549-8411 or to start your company on the path to well-trained employees.



Intensive Hands-On Training Curriculum

Days: 4.5
CEUs: 3.6
PDHs: 36


DAY 1: Measurement Basics & Documentation

You Will Cover:

  • Concepts of Process Control: Typical Industries | Definitions | Continuous vs. Batch | Feedback Loop
  • Documentation: Instrument Line Symbols | Function Symbols | Identification Letters | Piping and Instrumentation Drawing (P&ID) | Loop Diagram
  • Industrial Measurement Systems: Process Measurement | Standard Signals | Instrument Performance Terminology | Repeatability and Accuracy | Zero, Span, and Linearity Errors | Calibration Chart
  • Control System Hardware: Pneumatic Controller | Electronic Controller | Single Loop Controller | Distributed Control System (DCS) | Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) | Personal Computers (PC) for Control
  • Temperature Measurement: Temperature Scales | Liquid-in-Glass, Filled Bulb, and Bimetallic Thermometers | Resistance Temperature Detectors (RTDs) | Reference Junction Compensation | Thermocouplers
  • Pressure Transducers: Pressure Elements | Signal Generation | Pressure/Force Relationships | Selection
  • Flowmeters: DP | Magnetic | Mass | Other

Classroom/Laboratory Exercises:

  • Develop diagrams for flow, level, temperature, and pressure loops
  • Interpret simple P&IDs
  • Evaluate level instrument performance and accuracy
  • Determine upstream and downstream piping considerations
  • Select flowmeters for a variety of specific applications and specify installation and calibration requirements

You Will Be Able To:

  • Discuss the role of measurement and control in industrial processes
  • Differentiate between continuous, batch, and discrete control
  • Discuss the fundamentals of process control
  • Apply specific ISA Standards to interpret symbols and drawings associated with process control documentation
  • Discuss and apply the most common methods and devices used in temperature, pressure, level, and flow measurement

DAY 2: Control Valves & Strategies

You Will Cover:

  • Introduction: Valve in Loop | Valve | Actuator | Positioner
  • Basic Valve Types: Globe | Ball | Plug | Butterfly
  • Installation: Performance | Safety | Other
  • Valve Sizing: Manual | Computer
  • Review of Feedback Control Concepts and Components: History of Control Operation | Concepts
  • Control Modes: Proportional | Integral | Derivative
  • Dynamic and Steady State Considerations: Gain | Dead Time | Time Constant
  • Tuning Control Systems: Closed Loop Tuning Using Ziegler Nichols Method | Evaluation and Control Criteria
  • Advanced Regulatory Control: Feedback Penalty | Challenges in Feedback Control | Real-World Control

Classroom/Laboratory Exercises:

  • Size valves manually and with software
  • Specify valves, actuators, and auxiliaries for specific applications
  • Tune feedback control loops via a number of different methods
  • Tune using PC-based simulation software

You Will Be Able To:

  • Compare various types of final control elements
  • Size valves for any flow condition likely to be found in a process plant
  • Define the concepts of PID control
  • Explain the operation of the components in a closed loop control system including static and dynamic functions
  • Use three methods to tune a control system for stated quality control
  • Apply the operation and function of ratio control systems
  • Identify real-world control problems as the basis of need for advanced control

DAY 3: Safety & Operator Effectiveness

You Will Cover:

  • Graphics and Controls: HMI Hierarchy Design | Classes of Displays | Navigation
  • Human Engineering: Human Factors in Console Design
  • The Common Problems in Alarm Systems
  • The Alarm Management Lifecycle
  • Location Classification Standards
  • Protection Techniques Standards
  • Explosion Proof Enclosures
  • Intrinsic Safety
  • General SIS Design Considerations: Design Life Cycle | Separation of Control and Safety
  • Failure Rates and Modes: Safe vs. Dangerous | Failure Mode vs. Technology | Failure Rates | Test Intervals
  • System Technologies: Pneumatic | Relays | Microprocessors
  • Operations and Maintenance: Installation | Bypassing | Testing

Classroom/Laboratory Exercises:

  • Alarm prioritization
  • Area classification
  • Calculate device failure rates

You Will Be Able To:

  • Design a graphical hierarchy for navigation
  • Explain best practices in HMI
  • Develop an Alarm Management Philosophy
  • Discuss rationalization, classification, and prioritization of alarms
  • Describe and use procedures for electrical classification
  • Describe the basic principles of protection
  • Select explosion proof apparatus for specific applications
  • Select the appropriate protective techniques for different hazards
  • Differentiate between process control and safety control
  • Analyze the performance of different logic system technologies
  • Specify and select safety instrumented systems (SIS)

DAY 4: Industrial Security & Project Management

You Will Cover:

  • What is Data Communications?: ISO/OSI Reference Model | Terminology Basics
  • TCP/IP Basics: Is Ethernet Ready for the Plant Floor? | Industrial Ethernet Design Techniques
  • Data Exchange: Using OPC for Inter-System Data Exchanges
  • How Cyberattacks Happen: Understanding the Threat Sources | The Steps to Successful Cyberattacks
  • Standards and Models: ANSI/ISA95 Standards | MESA International Model | WBF B2MML XML Schemas
  • Information Model: Production Resources | Process Segments | Product Definition and Capability | Production Schedules | Production Performance
  • Types of Projects: Facility Update | Addition to Existing Process | Technology Replacement | New Facility
  • Fundamentals: Activity/Phase Concept | Best Practices | Phase Interaction | What to Do/How to Do it | Do it
  • Project Development: Schedule Preparation | PERT | CPM | GANT | Cost

Classroom/Laboratory Exercises:

  • Conduct security threat analysis
  • Identify key business processes and objects
  • Identify process segment definitions
  • Practice project scheduling techniques

You Will Be Able To:

  • Identify Local Area Network (LAN) topologies and protocols
  • Define the different Ethernet varieties and which are best for industry
  • Discuss the principles behind creating an effective long-term security program
  • Define the basics of risk and vulnerability analysis methodologies
  • Specify the requirements for an enterprise-control integration solution
  • Explain the business drivers involved in integration
  • Identify project types and overall goals and objectives
  • Explain the four important objectives critical to automation projects vs. the three objectives typical of other projects

DAY 5: Advanced Process Automation

You Will Cover:

  • Physical Model: Process Cells | Units | Equipment Modules | Control Modules
  • Recipe Information Categories: Header | Procedure | Formula | Equipment Requirements
  • Procedural Control Model: Procedure | Unit | Operation | Phase
  • Modes and States: Exception Handling | Allocation and Arbitration
  • Control Activity Model: Recipe Management | Production Planning and Scheduling | Production Information Management | Process Management | Unit Supervision | Process Control | Personnel and Environmental Protection
  • Integration: Communications | Manufacturing Execution System (MES) | Network Security
  • Workflow and Project Leadership: Opportunity Identification and Project Justification | Communications and Team Processes

Classroom/Laboratory Exercises:

  • Develop procedural elements using the ANSI/ISA88 procedural control model and test those procedural elements against the equipment entities

You Will Be Able To:

  • Specify the requirements for a batch control system
  • Effectively structure and subdivide equipment entities
  • Describe modes and states and how they are applied at the equipment level
  • Describe the interfaces that are needed between batch control and other systems within an enterprise
  • Apply the critical areas of automation opportunity identification and project justification
  • Interpret the best practice methodology for automation project execution

For more information:
Contact us at +1 919-549-8411 or to start your company on the path to well-trained employees.



Your Automation Survival Experts

Nicholas Sands is currently a process control engineer working for DuPont's Kevlar® and Nomex® businesses. In his 19 years with DuPont, he has been a business process control leader, site process control leader, process control consultant, and plant control engineer in several different businesses.

Over the last 18 years, Nick has worked on several alarm management projects, both for new plants and existing plants. He led two company alarm management teams from the early 1990s to the early 2000s. He is the author of DuPont's best practices on alarm management.

Nick is co-chair of the ISA18 standards committee working on alarm management; and was the lead editor for the new standard: ANSI/ISA-18.02-2009, Management of Alarm Systems for the Process Industries. He followed Vernon Trevathan as editor for ISA's A Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge, as well as authored the chapter on alarm management.

Nick's path to instrumentation and control started when he earned his BS in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech. When not working, or reading, Nick and his wife Ruth run a recreational sled dog team.

Scott Sommer, PE, CAP, has over 27 years of experience in automation, instrumentation, and process control design and applications, with 20+ years of batch control experience. During his career, Mr. Sommer has worked for several large manufacturing companies, including Conoco, Celanese, and Wyeth, and several engineering firms, including principal ownership in a growing systems integration firm for nearly 10 years.

His experience from all sides of the automation and systems integration industry has given him a unique vision and insight to effectively and efficiently managing the automation scope and activities of large industrial projects.

Mr. Sommer holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois and an M.Eng. in Chemical Engineering from McNeese State University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in multiple states and is an ISA Certified Automation Professional and Senior Member of ISA. Scott is a frequent speaker and presenter at ISA, WBF, and ISPE conferences.

Past Students Said…

"[He gave a good] Explanation of how to achieve an alarm management program and how to interpret ISA-18.2." - Kevin Zaderey, Past ISA Student

"[He provided a good] Introduction of the lifecycle concept for alarm management." - Calvin Lambie, Technologist

"[He provided an] Excellent introduction to the ISA18.2 standard. I can find immediate application for the information I received today." - Michael Marshall, President




August 2013 Graduating Class

March 2013 Graduating Class

Fall 2012 Inaugural Graduating Class