Process Technicians work in a process or continuous manufacturing environment and operate equipment, monitor the machinery and document results in strict adherence to protocols. Process Manufacturing uses a chemical reaction or blends ingredients continuously or in a batch into a final product which is usually a liquid, powder or gas.
Process Technicians are involved in all stages of the manufacturing process in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industries, less so in medical device manufacturing. They often work within a clean-room environment.
Some Companies Might Call This Role…
- Chemical Process Technician
- BioProcess Technician
- Cleanroom Operator
- Chemical Plant and System Operators
In the Medical Device Manufacturing Sector where the emphasis is more on discrete manufacturing they might be know as:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 report on “Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing”, process technicians (also referred to as chemical plant and system operators), earned an average wage of $24.29 per hour and an average salary of $51,970 per year.
Check out our salary guide for Process Technician salary information for “Euro” and “Dollar” salaries local to you.
Let’s now take a closer look at the details of the role of a Process Technician.
Process Technicians are involved at all stages of a manufacturing process. The role requires individuals to follow strict internal protocols and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as well as following current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP).
There is a large amount of responsibility given to individuals within these roles. Any deviation from these practices or any mistake made could have serious repercussions, resulting in potentially unsafe defective products or expensive destruction of batches.
They often work within a cleanroom environment so personal protective gear (including masks, clothing, footwear, and gloves) is required. This is both for their own safety and to maintain the integrity of the product by avoiding contamination.
A Process Technician will typically be responsible for a single specific step in the manufacturing process. Their job is to know this process in great detail as they will be responsible for identifying when the process is deviating from the norm and taking action to correct it or involve senior members of staff if/when they are not able to correct the problem.
They are also responsible for keeping any equipment in good working order – this involves regular inspection, cleaning, servicing and maintenance.
A key feature of the role is to maintain accurate and clear documentation that proves that these processes are being carried out in accordance with both internal and external regulations.
It is important that procedures are followed, but it is also important that it can be shown and proved that procedures were followed.
A Process Technician may also be responsible for the gathering of data from their process and reporting it to senior staff members (typically a Process Engineer).
Process Manufacturing takes a formulation or recipe of ingredients and blends them together using a chemical reaction, heat, cold, fermentation, etc continuously or in a batch into a final product which is usually a liquid, powder, gas or solid. (Think turning milk into baby formula, oil refining, gasoline, general anesthetic, plastic, cheese, butter, paint or pharmaceutical manufacturing,)
In a process manufacturing plant, you typically find, piping, pumps, tanks, flow valves, steam valves, temperature gauges, boilers, vessels, reactor vessels, crackers, distillation columns, heat exchangers, boilers, steam pipes, autoclaves, clarifiers, decanters, fluidised dryers, Program Logic Controllers (PLCs) PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) Controllers, conveyer belts, etc,
Discrete Manufacturing machines and or assembles (screws, bolts, welds, glues, rivets) individual pieces into a distinct product often on an assembly line. (Think car assembly – Telsa’s production line for electric cars, ship building, cellphones, computers, airplanes, syringes, medical pumps, scalpels, pacemakers, etc)
In a discrete manufacturing plant, you typically find, assembly lines, U shaped assembly areas, machine tools, CNC machine centers, robots, welders, pick and place robots, injection moulding machines, packing machines, air-powered assembly tools, painting and finishing areas, etc.