The New Face of Manufacturing: A Q&A with CPM Beta Raven's Chad Brenton
Tell us about your position with CPM Beta Raven.
CPM Beta Raven is a full-service systems integrator that has been providing automated solutions to many industries for over 40 years. In my position as controls system engineer, I am responsible for programming PLCs (programmable logic controllers), HMIs (human machine interfaces), as well as project management. I am also responsible for the commissioning of the projects assigned to me.
Why did you choose the field of engineering?
I chose engineering because I wanted to feel like my work made a difference in society.
What is most rewarding about working in the food processing equipment industry?
With the population as big as it is, it takes a massive industry and infrastructure to feed people in our country and across the globe. I really don’t think the average person even thinks about it—they just know there will always be what they need at the grocery store. It is rewarding to know that, by being in the food industry, I am helping to keep those products in stores, and am ensuring they are safe to consume.
What advice do you have for those pursuing jobs in this industry?
Automation is a lot more than PLCs and HMIs now. Most systems are integrated into complex Ethernet networks that may even span into other locations. Separate processes may not be “islands” anymore. A processing facility may need to communicate to the distribution facility to receive order demands or inventory levels. Someone looking to enter this field should be learning basic knowledge of network communications and database functionality. You don’t need to be an expert, but you should have a basic knowledge of how a system works.