Controls Engineer

Job Summary

Designs and specifies control, motion, and electrical systems to meet customer expectations for cost quality and delivery. Orders electrical, controls and fluid power components and supplies. Programs machine controls. Debugs and optimizes machine controls. Updates schematics and assists in documenting machine operations. Services machine control systems at customer site when needed.

Essential Job Duties & Responsibilities

The activities listed below will be performed at all levels within the progression but with increasing independence and emphasis on unique situations and original thought. At a level I, work is mainly standard with supervision and some guidance provided on more complex projects. At a level II, work involves complex issues but these issues typically can be addressed through unique application of standard practices. Greater independence in planning and accomplishing work is expected. At a level III, the work includes large/complex projects and/or projects requiring advanced technical abilities. May provide direction to less experienced controls engineers. Original thought and problem-solving is expected with ability to foresee difficulties and take proactive measures to prevent project delays. Elevation to level III will occur on a selective case-by-case basis.

  • Interprets product specifications and determines best control systems to meet project goals. Specifies motion systems (controllers and motors). Designs electrical systems and creates schematics. Designs main panel and junction box panel layouts. Specifies or approves main electrical enclosures, junction boxes, wire ways and pushbutton boxes. Creates and/or approves pneumatic and hydraulic power schematics. Designs and draws operator interface and pushbutton layouts. Ensures machines meet all safety requirements.
  • Interprets customer-specific programming specifications, and selects and programs PLC’s, PC’s, robots, servos, etc. for machine control. Selects and programs software interface for operator ease of use.
  • Updates electrical schematics to document changes after panel build and machine wiring is complete. Updates sequence of operations, programs, schematics and operator interface screens for machine documentation. Assists Project Managers in writing the controls section(s) of the machine documentation.
  • Purchases and tracks necessary controls and electrical components and materials, as needed.
  • Debugs and optimizes machine control to achieve specified machine functionality and required cycle times. Manages dry cycling (reliability testing). Assists Machine Builders in identifying and troubleshooting mechanical problems during the debug phase of projects. Assist project managers with completing machine runoff requirements.
  • May assist with product installation and provide warranty and service work at customer locations. Identifies root cause of issues and fixes problems so they don’t reoccur.
  • Tracks and analyzes machine controls costs (labor and material) and timing. Works with Project Management to resolve variances and meet customer expectations. Utilizes analysis to recommend continuous improvement changes.
  • Assists in machine concepting, quoting, design reviews, quality control, and continuous improvement activities when requested. Takes ownership of the controls process and continuously works to improve systems, methods, and processes.
  • Follows all safety requirements and communicates any safety concerns.


Controls Engineer I

  • BS degree in electrical engineering or related science, or equivalent, with experience reading and debugging PLC and OPI code and writing basic computer programs.
  • Demonstrated ability to troubleshoot safety circuits.
  • Demonstrated ability to create simple schematics and layouts using AutoCAD software.
  • Demonstrated ability to integrate simple self-contained motion controls.
  • Demonstrated basic understanding of pneumatics.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a team.
  • Demonstrated organizational skills to efficiently plan and complete work details.
  • Demonstrated initiative to be proactive in identifying and addressing issues and opportunities.

Controls Engineer II

In addition to the above requirements…

  • Minimum of 2 years of experience designing, building or programming controls for special machines.
  • Demonstrated experience in PLC logic and programming.
  • Demonstrated ability to program embedded simple coordinated motion.
  • Demonstrated basic understanding of third party component software, (i.e., color sensors, screw qualifiers, barcode readers, etc.). Demonstrated ability to work with factory or sales reps to achieve a working solution.
  • Demonstrated experience wiring special machines, working with AC and DC motors and gearing, and designing or building electrical panels.
  • Demonstrated broad understanding of machining techniques (metal forming, plastics joining, and assembly techniques) with the ability to problem-solve moderately complex issues.
  • Demonstrated experience programming robots.
  • Demonstrated success in utilizing lighting, optical and vision systems.
  • Demonstrated in-depth understanding of NEC requirements, machine safety, and work safety.

Controls Engineer III

In addition to the above requirements…

  • Minimum of 5 years of experience designing, building or programming controls for special machines.
  • Demonstrated in-depth understanding of machine design, build and controls systems as well as production and product launch techniques.
  • Demonstrated in-depth understanding of machining techniques (metal forming, plastics joining, and assembly techniques) with the ability to develop original solutions to complex production issues.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully manage complex projects and meet cost, quality and delivery expectations

Working Conditions

  • Work involves both office and on the floor requirements.
  • Work involves moving in and around machines, often in tight places such as within panel enclosures.
  • Work may require non-typical work hours including Saturdays and overtime in order to meet project deadlines. Must be able to maintain focus and concentration to ensure safety and quality of work.
  • May perform installation, warranty and service work at customer locations. This will sometimes require overnight travel.

Note: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned this job. They are not an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, knowledge, skills, abilities, and working conditions associated with it. Additions, deletions, or changes in this job description can be made at any time at the discretion of management.

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How To Apply

Interested in joining the Extol Team?

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Extol is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal or state law.