Dictionary Definition



1 an artifact (or system of artifacts) that is instrumental in accomplishing some end [syn: instrumentality]
2 the act of providing or using the instruments needed for some implementation
3 the instruments called for in a musical score or arrangement for a band or orchestra
4 the act of arranging a piece of music for an orchestra and assigning parts to the different musical instruments [syn: orchestration]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The act of using or adapting as an instrument; a series or combination of instruments; means; agency.
  2. The arrangement of a musical composition for performance by a number of different instruments; orchestration; instrumental composition; composition for an orchestra or military band.
  3. The act or manner of playing upon musical instruments; performance; as, his instrumentation is perfect.
  4. On a vehicle, dashboard gauges monitoring engine functions and performance, along with other essential functions.
    The car’s instrumentation included fuel, temperature, voltimeter and oil pressure gauges, along with a speedometer and tachometer.


Extensive Definition

Instrumentation is an electrical or pneumatic device placed in the field to provide measurement and/or control capabilities for the system.
The simplest measurement instrumentation device is a thermistor. A thermistor is very similar to a typical resistor, except that it greatly varies its resistance depending on its temperature. Therefore this device can easily be used for measurement of temperature in the field. Other temperature-sensitive devices include RTDs, which also change resistance depending on temperature, and thermocouples, which produce a varying voltage when subjected to heat.
Control instrumentation includes devices such as solenoids, Electrically Operated Valves, breakers, relays, etc. These devices are able to change a field parameter, and provide remote control capabilities.
Transmitters are devices which produce an analog signal, usually in the form of a 4-20 mA electrical current signal, although many other options are possible using voltage, frequency, or pressure. This signal can be used to directly control other instruments, or sent to a PLC, DCS, SCADA system or other type of computerized controller, where it can be interpreted into readable values, or used to control other devices and processes in the system.
Instrumentation plays a significant role in both gathering information from the field and changing the field parameters, and as such are a key part of control loops.


Instrumentation can be used to measure certain field parameters (physical values):
These measured values include:


In addition to measuring field parameters, instrumentation is also responsible for providing the ability to modify some field parameters.
Some examples include:

Instrumentation engineering

Instrumentation engineering is the engineering specialization focused on the principle and operation of measuring instruments which are used in design and configuration of automated systems. They typically work for industries with automated processes, such as chemical or manufacturing plants, with the goal of improving system productivity, reliability, safety, optimization and stability.

Instrumentation technologists and mechanics

Instrumentation technologists, technicians and mechanics specialize in troubleshooting and repairing instruments and instrumentation systems. Installation, on the other hand, is normally performed by industrial electricians. This trade is so intertwined with electricians, pipefitters, power engineers, and engineering companies, that one can find him/herself in extremely diverse working situations.
instrumentation in Spanish: Instrumentación electrónica
instrumentation in French: Instrumentation (science)
instrumentation in Indonesian: Elektronika dan instrumentasi
instrumentation in Japanese: 計測
instrumentation in Norwegian Nynorsk: Instrumentering
instrumentation in Portuguese: Instrumentação
instrumentation in Finnish: Mittaustekniikka

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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