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Instrumentation Technologist

Queen's University - HR
Kingston, Ontario
Closing date
Aug 22, 2022

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Physical Sciences, Other Physics
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
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1. Give a short summary of the duties and responsibilities of your job.
a) Provide instrumentation and electronic services, training and guidance in the proper use of equipment to staff, faculty, and students. This includes maintaining, servicing, repairing or replacing instrumentation hardware and addressing requests for electronic shop services.
b) Provide technical support and maintenance to all analytical instrumentation equipment. Set up equipment and ensure that undergraduate laboratories are well-equipped with operational instrumentation equipment. Respond to equipment failures and/or malfunctions in undergraduate, research laboratories, and shared departmental technical resource facilities.
c) Technical support can take the form of verbal or written advice in regards to equipment evaluation, status reporting, repair and maintenance of electronic instrumentation and computing systems, the modification or fabrication of systems for specialized research and teaching purposes and the setup of new equipment to manufacturer’s specification.
d) In consultation with the Instrumentation Managers, provide regular preventative maintenance and technical support to the shared departmental technical resource facilities, such as the NMR and mass spectrometers, surface analysis systems (SEM, TEM, XPS, etc.), and X-Ray diffractometer; ensure that downtime of the instruments is kept to a minimum and maintain super-conductivity of the magnets in the NMR facility with safe handling of cryogens (liquid helium, liquid nitrogen).
e) Assist in the design, fabrication and maintenance of unique research equipment or electronic devices for teaching and research projects. In consultation or as directed by faculty, students, research staff or Department Manager, prepare or modify schematics, fabricate, and prepare operating manuals.
f) Recommend new equipment purchases and perform the installation and commissioning of this equipment
e.g. electronic instrumentation equipment. Install and repair audio/visual instrumentation equipment used within the department. Purchase of materials and/or supplies as required.
g) Maintain inventory of electronic parts, tools, and equipment to be utilized in the daily routine of the electronics shop; procure stocked supplies and various materials, either hardware or software, along with individual parts needed to complete repairs.
h) Issue, track, and ensure payment of items purchased on the department’s credit card for repair work.
i) Provide back up support to the Computer Network Administrator/Electronic Technologist, provide backup support with basic troubleshooting (e.g. rebooting) for servers, computers, etc., and respond to general questions.
j) Perform other related duties as required.

2. To fulfil your duties what knowledge, skills and specialized techniques are required? How would each be normally acquired? How long would it take to become proficient in each of the areas of your work?
• This position requires a 3-year Electronics or Instrumentation Technologist diploma and a minimum of 5 years of practical experience in the field of instrumentation engineering.
• Experience providing advance expertise and supporting instrumentation needs for a wide range of laboratory experiments, preferably in a University setting working on undergraduate and research projects.
• Experience in design, operation, assembly, maintenance and repair of instrumentation equipment including interpretation and drafting of plans and workable solutions for equipment and facility designs from broadly defined requests, and preparing circuit schematics to assist with creating technical manuals using CAD and related software packages.
• Knowledge of laboratory best practices to provide safe testing environment.
• Experience working with and operating machining equipment such as lathes, milling machine, band saw, etc. for fabrication and repairs.
• Experience working with computers and related operating systems such as Unix, Linux, Topspin, Xwin, Windows, Mac, microcomputers and data acquisition systems.
• Thorough knowledge of vacuum systems/pumps used in labs, Gas-Chromatorgraphs-Mass Spectrometer systems and ultra-high vacuum systems (turbo, ion pumps, etc.) used in Surface Analysis.
• Working knowledge of the physics involved in detecting light transmission and detection used in infrared and U/V Spectrophotometers.
• Excellent interpersonal skills to communicate clearly with a wide range of individuals internal and external to the University.
• Strong organizational and time management skills in order to effectively deal with continuous competing priorities.
• Broad knowledge of safe work practices to comply with regulations set out under the Occupational Health
& Safety Act, the University’s purchasing policies and procedures, and government safety regulations.
• On-the-job training will be offered to become proficient in the use and service of specialized equipment such as NMR, Mass Spectrometers, Surface Analysis equipment, X-Ray diffraction, FTIR spectrometer, as well as other research-related instrumentation equipment, which could take up to three years.
• Keep abreast of new and current instrumentation developments and apply this knowledge to rapidly evolving research demands.

3. Is it necessary in this position to oversee the work, or to instruct other staff? If so, what does this involve?
• No, this position does not oversee the work of other staff. The position provides technical support, training and advice to staff, faculty, and students on the safe use of instrumentation equipment housed within the department.

4. What other people must you deal with in this job and why? (i.e. is there direct contact with students, teaching staff, other departments, and people outside the university community).
• Communicates directly with external contractors, suppliers, and service personnel for equipment servicing and maintenance, design or fabrication information.
• Frequent contact with other departments, both on and off campus to share or exchange information or assist with their instrumentation inquiries and work. Examples of varying types of interactions include:
o Collaborate with research staff, Department Manager, external contractors on conceptual and schematic design for research projects.
o Interact with students, faculty members and research staff for collaboration on research projects.
o Interact with students, academic staff, and technical support staff requiring assistance by the electronic shop, the NMR, Mass Spec, Surface Analysis, and X-Ray facilities, and other analytical/research and teaching equipment used within the department.
o Interact with ITS or support staff in matters related to various equipment repair, such as photocopier, audio visual equipment, computers, servers, etc.
o Liaise with Physical Plant Services in matters related to repair and maintenance of specialized research facilities within the department.

5. How is your work assigned to you and how closely is your work checked by someone else?
• The incumbent works independently, reporting directly to the Department Manager.
• When the incumbent has an assigned or requested project/job/task, he/she works directly with the originator until completion, initiating changes or repairing equipment in consultation with the originator. The originator may be a faculty member, student, researcher, technical or administrative staff, Department Manager or Department Head.
• Work is not normally checked by others but by results and consultation with key stakeholders (i.e. Instrumentation Managers, technical support staff, etc.). Incumbent is responsible for the safe use of the repaired equipment.

6. a) Are the sorts of problems encountered in this job usually covered by established procedures or do you frequently have to develop or invent solutions to problems yourself?
• Problems encountered differ widely due to the use of various instrumentation equipment. Most of the problems that arise are within the incumbent’s field of expertise and solutions are developed according to the circumstances. For problems not completely covered by procedures, incumbent is expected to provide a solution or make a recommendation to resolve issue. Unusual or complicated problems are referred to the Department Manager. A significant part of the job is developing and applying troubleshooting techniques to resolve instrumentation equipment problems. For example, the originator of the request to repair may provide general information and performance criteria which the incumbent uses to work through the repair.
• Faculty or students provide general schematics and technical information to incumbent for design and fabrication of apparatus. Modifications to schematics or design are made in consultation with faculty, students, researchers, manufacturers or Department Manager.
• Assists with basic troubleshooting (e.g. rebooting) for computers when backup is needed. Technical problems or inquiries are referred to ITS or Department Manager.
• The incumbent participates as an equal team member in discussions on new equipment acquisitions and for any upgrades to existing equipment.

b) Are you involved in establishing standard procedures? (Give examples)
• The incumbent works within established standard procedures and contributes to new or revised operating guidelines and procedures for instrumentation equipment. For example when a calibration procedure (i.e. electronic balances, temperature controllers, etc.) or an instrument setup is needed, a step-by-step procedure is followed.
• Incumbent is responsible for maintaining standard procedures involved with the electronic shop billing and filling systems in order to account for spending, and determines which equipment parts are to be stocked items in the shop.
• Incumbent is responsible for setting up processes for the transfer of liquid nitrogen and the ordering and scheduling of liquid helium transfers.
• Establish procedures for any preventative maintenance in conjunction with the Instrument Managers to keep the technical resource facilities running properly and safely and to minimize "downtime".

7.a) What is the size of your department (i.e. #of classes for which you are involved with labs., # of students, # of staff you might come in contact with, # of technicians in department).
• The Chemistry Department consists of approximately 25 academic staff, approximately 130 postgraduate and research associates, and 13 technical and support staff with whom the incumbent comes in contact with.

b) What kind of equipment or material are you responsible for? Are you solely responsible for it and what is its approximate value?
• The incumbent is responsible for providing maintenance on laboratory equipment in excess of $12 million. The undergraduate equipment would be valued at approximately $1 million. The shared research equipment is valued at far over $10 million.

8. Give details of any unusual factors affecting this job? i.e. hazards, unusual working conditions, requirement for a high degree of manual dexterity etc.
• Deal with conflicting demands on his/her time, such as multiple simultaneous tasks and frequent interruptions.
• Maintain sensitive and expensive lab equipment where a high degree of manual dexterity is required to conduct instrumentation repairs and operate machining equipment (e.g. electromechanical circuit repairs and soldering equipment).
• Work in hazardous areas where health and safety precautions are required (e.g. various laboratories, NMR facility, etc.).
• Work around hazardous lethal voltages with currents higher than 5 kV, knowledge of safety standards is required to avoid electrocution and refilling superconductive magnets with both liquid nitrogen and helium.
• Handle toxic and explosive materials used in sample preparation is required.
• Spend extended periods of time sitting at a keyboard and in front of a monitor.
• Occasionally move heavy objects (equipment, parts, tanks, etc.).

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