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Control and Automation Engineer

Thea Energy

Thea Energy

Software Engineering
Kearny, NJ, USA
Posted on Friday, August 11, 2023
About Thea Energy:
Thea Energy is leveraging recent breakthroughs in stellarator physics and engineering to create a faster and simpler approach to commercializing fusion energy. The company is reinventing the stellarator using computer-controlled arrays of planar coils thereby replacing the intricate, complex modular magnets required in all other stellarator architectures. Thea Energy is on a mission to create a limitless source of zero emission energy for a sustainable future.
Position Overview:
As a control and automation engineer at Thea Energy, you will play a pivotal role in developing prototyping and process concepts in collaboration with cross-functional teams, including the electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and HTS magnet engineering, and science groups. Your responsibilities encompass creating a robust system architecture to support various control components, such as instrumentation, PLCs, safety devices, HMIs, servo drives, and more. Throughout each project, you will be involved from the initial design phase through commissioning, process, and validation, ensuring the reliable functioning of all systems while meeting technical requirements.
We are seeking a talented control and automation engineer with a strong background in engineering, design, installation, and start-up of control and automation systems. This role involves designing and programming PC-based and PLC-based control systems, as well as developing monitoring and maintenance systems.
At Thea Energy, you’ll be part of the organizational build-up of a leading fusion energy company. This role will have a high degree of autonomy and must be able to move quickly. The Thea Energy team is comprised of self-motivated, creative, and fun individuals with an excitement for solving complex problems.

Key Responsibility Areas:

  • Engage in the conceptual development of initial equipment, considering technical specifications, process control requirements, layout complexity, cost, quality, and timelines
  • Specify, select, and program automation systems for system prototypes and the manufacturing of superconducting magnets
  • Produce detailed designs and specifications for hardware, distributed IO, and infrastructure components
  • Liaise effectively with other engineers to gather requirements for control systems
  • Develop automation and control requirement specifications, functional requirement specifications, and design qualification documents for new projects
  • Ensure the design and deployment of automation control solutions align with Thea Energy's standards, requirements, and scopes of work
  • Conduct design reviews for logic control sequences and automation design projects
  • Write, debug, and maintain organized, structured, and documented PLC code that is both reusable and compliant with ANSI/OSHA standards
  • Program controllers using advanced techniques and develop Human Machine Interfaces (“HMIs”) adhering to modern UX/UI standards
  • Collaborate with outside consultants and suppliers of PLC control hardware and software
  • Lead the ground-up installation and integrated commissioning of PLC systems and troubleshoot issues on site
  • Conduct root cause analysis for automation and controls-related incidents
  • Identify, document, and program complex interlocks, equipment protection systems, fault routines, and safety systems
  • Implement control safety systems to ensure a safe and secure operational environment
  • Develop data management and tracking communication network architectures, interfacing with cross-functional teams for the implementation of process control
  • Manage drawing revisions, participate in factory acceptance testing, and execute plans for correcting various automation and control problems
  • Track and report results and progress against program goals and milestones

Ideal Experience & Skillsets:

  • At least a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, software engineering, controls engineering, physics, or related fields
  • Experience with magnetic confinement fusion, aerospace, or other highly technical industries is ideal
  • Over 5 years of experience with complex and large distributed PLC control systems in an industrial or scientific environment
  • Expertise in control system architecture
  • Knowledge of networks and serial communications (VLans, subnet isolation, Ethernet, Modbus, DeviceNet, RS-422, RS-232)
  • Experience with safety PLCs, safety relays, and real-time data collection and storage from processes to enterprise-level databases
  • Experience with control safety systems compliant with ANSI/OSHA standards
  • Strong knowledge of Allen Bradley and/or Siemens PLC, Rockwell, and HMI software
  • Experience with Allen-Bradley ControlLogix systems (SFC, FBD, and ST programming experience) and Studio 5000
  • Experience with Allen-Bradley distributed IO (FlexIO, Safety blocks, etc.)
  • FTView SE HMI programming in a distributed architecture
  • Knowledge and use of PlantPAX, networking using Ethernet, EtherNet/IP, and other common industrial protocols
  • Safety systems experience preferred
  • Allen Bradley certification preferred
  • Experience in the creation and revision of technical documentation and validation documentation for automated systems
  • Ability to read and understand technical drawings and specifications
  • Ability to prioritize multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • High self-motivation, drive for quick execution, and excellent troubleshooting and problem-solving skills

Company Benefits:

  • Competitive salary
  • Comprehensive health benefits (e.g. medical/dental/vision)
  • Employee equity stock options
  • Open vacation policies
  • Work-life balance
It’s not necessary to meet all of the skillsets outlined above. Please feel free to send us a note and tell us why you would still be a great fit for this role or Thea Energy.
Diversity and Inclusion:
Thea Energy is an equal opportunity employer committed to creating a company of diverse backgrounds. By creating a diverse environment, we will bring new ideas and approaches to solving some of the world’s hardest (and most important) problems. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, family or marital status, age, disability, veteran’s status, or other characteristic protected by applicable laws and regulations.