20 Questions to Ask About Control Systems in an Interview (Plus Sample Answers)
Control systems are systems with inputs and outputs that are used to make valves, pumps, and other machines work better by adjusting them. Control systems are used in a lot of different industries to make their processes more efficient. Employers may ask job applicants about their experience with control systems if the job requires them, such as for engineers. If you know what kinds of questions hiring managers might ask, you might do better in interviews for jobs where you might use control systems or run them. 20 Questions to Ask About Control Systems
This article gives you sample answers to 20 interview questions about control systems to help you get ready for your own.
20 questions about control systems, with answers as examples
Here is a list of interview questions about control systems, along with explanations of how to answer them and examples of answers:
Describe a control system.
This is a question that interviewers might ask to see how much you know about control systems. To answer this question, you could give a simple definition of a control system that shows you know what it means in general.
“A control system is a system that is made to change the output of a system to reach a goal that has already been set.”
2. What are the three main parts of a control system?
Interviewers may ask you this question to see how much you know about control systems. Some jobs may require you to know a lot about different control systems or at least understand them on a basic level. This question could help the interviewer figure out if you have the right skills for these jobs. You could list the three parts of a control system and say what each one does in your answer.
Example: “There are three parts to a control system: a controller, an actuator, and a feedback device. So that it can show how the output variable should be set, the controller translates commands into actions. The actuator is what changes or adjusts the input variables that are being measured by sensors or calculated using estimation techniques. Most of the time, the feedback device is an indicator that shows if the controller has reached its goals or not. As an example, an LED light on a thermostat setting for the desired room temperature could be used as an indicator.”
How does a set of checks and balances work?
This is a question that interviewers might ask to see if you know what a good control system does and how it works. If you can explain how a control system works, you might be able to get a job where you design, install, and maintain systems that work the way they are supposed to.
“Sensors, like temperature or pressure sensors, measure the signal that comes in and send it to controllers, which are mathematical formulas. Sensors send data to controllers, which use that data to change the output signal or control variable so that it stays within limits that have already been set.”
4. What’s the difference between systems you control yourself and ones that do it for you?
The interviewer can see how well you understand the main differences between the two types of control systems by asking you this question. You could talk about when and why one system is better than another.
Example: “A control that gets information from sensors and changes output variables by hand is called a manual system. Using information from controllers, an automatic system can keep taking samples, measuring them, and changing the outputs until they reach the goal.”
5. What are some other names for things that are controlled by a system?
This question may help the interviewer figure out if you know what the different types of control systems are called and what their terms are. When you know what the different control systems are called, it’s easier to use them. You might also be able to make better control systems if you knew the names. In your answer, you can use common names for control systems, describe each one, and give an example.
Example: “Control systems are also sometimes called feedback devices, automation devices, or computerized process controls. “Feedback device” refers to the way information is sent back to the control device in a closed-loop system. “Automation devices” are the things that make control systems work on their own without any help from a person. In the same way, the name “computerized process controls” describes how these systems use computers to automate and control processes.”
6. How does a device that lets you know what’s going on work?
The goal of this question is to see how well you understand how feedback devices work in general. You can explain what each part of a feedback system does and how it works in your answer. You can also show that you understand by giving examples.
Example: “The feedback device is the part of a control system that lets the controller know if he or she made a mistake. The controller then tells the feedback device what the value of the output variable was. This information is shown by a light or a thermometer on the feedback device, which tells the controller if it is moving in the right direction.”
What kinds of things can’t control systems do?
This is a question that interviewers might ask to see how much you know about how control systems can go wrong. You could talk about problems that could happen and how to avoid them or fix them.
Example: “One of the most common problems with control systems is that they do the same thing over and over because the controller or feedback device is slow. To avoid this problem, I think that manual actuators should be used as backups to automatic actuators. This would give people more control over adjustments.”
What are some of the things a control system is good for?
The interviewer might ask you this to see if you know how a well-designed control system can help a business run better and save money. You could say why control systems are good for businesses in general in your answer.
Example: “Businesses can change their processes without having to move equipment by hand thanks to control systems. This makes the business more efficient because employees don’t have to make changes themselves, which could take time.”
9. What kinds of problems can control systems keep from happening?
The interviewer might ask you this to see if you understand how control systems stop mistakes and accidents that would happen every day without them. You could talk about how automation devices are used on machines and in automated processes in your answer.
Example: “Control systems are used to keep things from going wrong by automating things like how a machine works. When a process takes too long or hurts something, operators may stop it to keep more problems from happening.”
What are some mistakes that people often make with control systems?
Interviewers may ask you this question to see if you know what most people get wrong about control systems. You could talk about the most common mistakes people make on this topic in your answer.
Example: “People often think that control systems can only be used to make machines run on their own. In fact, you can make sure that things like cleaning and fixing happen at certain times and in certain ways by using a control system. This is especially important for businesses that have more than one location or plant.”
11. In a system that controls things, what does a controller do?
This question is meant to see if you know enough to know that a control system needs a controller to work. In a control system, you can explain what each job the controller does if you want to.
“The controller is the part of a control system that takes information from sensors, analyzes it, and makes any changes to outputs that are needed to meet goals that have already been set.”
Who decides when and how to use automation devices in a process?
This question is meant to find out if you understand how important it is to have people set up and run systems. You could talk about how people are involved in making control systems work.
Example: “Control systems make it possible to run things smoothly and accurately for a long time, but they don’t do this by themselves. People who use these systems every day have just as much to do with how well they work because they helped set them up in the first place.”
What are some ways that automation is used in plants that make chemicals or make things?
Interviewers may ask you this to see if you know what kinds of tasks in chemical or manufacturing plants can be done by machines. You can give some examples of how factories and chemical plants use automation.
“Chemical or manufacturing plants use control systems to keep an eye on and change processes, like filling containers.
14. What are some ways a building can automatically heat or cool itself?
Interviewers may ask this question to see if you know how important it is to install control systems that can monitor and control things like heating and cooling. You can use things from your own life as examples, such as a power supply that never goes out.
“Control systems are used to handle things like heating and cooling, which can affect how comfortable a building is.”
15. What can manufacturers do with the help of control systems?
This is a question that interviewers may ask to see if you know how automation tools are used in different fields. You could say that manufacturing, warehousing, and farming are all examples of businesses that use automated processes.
“Most industries use automation devices to keep up with processes that can be done over and over and can be checked without human help.”
16. How are control systems and automation different?
Interviewers may ask you this question to see if you know what the main differences are between a control system and an automation system. You could talk about how an automated device is different from a control system.
“Control systems are harder to use than automation devices because they don’t change things on their own.”
17. How does power make things run on their own?
Interviewers might ask you this question to see if you know how control systems can be used to automate tasks that use power. You can give examples of industries that use control systems to keep an eye on power levels and change them as needed.
“Control systems are used to automate things like using electricity because they can keep track of how this electricity is being used.”
18. What is it that makes control systems so powerful?
This question is meant to see if you know that control systems are strong technologies that are used in many different fields. You could show how control systems and automation technologies are different by giving some examples.
“Control systems are so popular because they do most of the work for you by keeping an eye on processes and making any necessary changes.”
19. How can you improve the accuracy and reliability of your process automation?
This question checks to see if you know that using control technology can make your process automation more accurate, reliable, and safe. You could give some examples of how control technologies can make things more accurate, reliable, and safe.
“The best way to improve the accuracy and reliability of your process automation is to make sure it is built with a control system, because these technologies make it possible to improve accuracy and reliability.”
20. What are the main things that devices that automate tasks can’t do?
Interviewers may ask you this question to find out how much you know about the limits of control systems. You could give some examples of things that can go wrong when you use technology, like control systems, to keep an eye on and change a process.
“Some of the problems with automation devices are that they only have binary controls, limited access to data, applications that don’t work well together, and few networking options.”