ISA Interchange

Welcome to the official blog of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

This blog covers numerous topics on industrial automation such as operations & management, continuous & batch processing, connectivity, manufacturing & machine control, and Industry 4.0.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the automation community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

All Posts

Book Excerpt + Author Q&A: Control Systems Engineering Exam Reference Manual


This ISA author Q&A was edited by Joel Don, ISA’s community manager. Control Systems Engineering Exam Reference Manual: A Practical Study Guide has been updated by author Bryon Lewis, PE, CMfgE, CCNA. In this Q&A feature, Lewis explains why focuses attention on areas of new and enhanced content.


Q. Why did you feel it was important to write a new edition? What added value does it provide?

A. I have taken a plant-wide design approach in this new release to help the PE/CSE candidate better understand the design task given and successfully complete the task on the NCEES exam. The updated release also is designed to help prepare the controls engineer for the many large projects that will be emerging in the decade ahead. Manufacturing and chemical plants are about to meet what is called Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution. Almost all plants will be network controlled and connected to the Internet, so focus should be placed on understanding industrial networking, switching and routing applications for industrial protocols.”


Q. What areas of new content do you view as particularly important in helping candidates prepare for the NCEES exam?

A. Several new chapters have been added to prepare the PE/CSE candidate for the possible subject matter that may be presented on the professional engineer’s examination. New content matter of particular importance relates to:

  • Valve sizing concerns of differential pressure limitations and cavitation when installed in in actual plant piping systems.
  • Head type instrumentation for level and flow measurement and their calculations.
  • Motor control applications.
  • PLC and DCS programming and their implementation.
  • Typical processes found in production plants and how to control these processes.
  • The economic benefits of selecting a proper control scheme.

I’ve also introduced new calculations, sample problems and appendix tables that are intended to cover nearly all the data the PE/CSE candidate will need to answer questions on the examination.


Are you preparing to obtain your credential as an ISA Certified Control Systems Technician (CCST) or license as a Professional Engineer (PE)? The latest edition of the Control Systems Engineering study guide can help you prepare along with other ISA books and courses.


Q. What about areas of the book that you have enhanced or added to? Can you point out material that has been expanded on?

A. I’ve updated and expanded material on all important topic areas, including:

  • Examination content as per the NCEES 2011 examination specifications
  • Fluid mechanics for level and flow measurements
  • Calculation of irregular tank volumes for a given level measurement
  • Mass flow and two-phase flow
  • Valve actuators and positioners
  • Valve sizing and their installed characteristics applied to plant piping systems
  • ASME, NFPA and EPA code requirements for pressure relief and release
  • Control theory calculations, controller tuning and block algebra
  • NFPA, IEC codes and the applications to hazardous classified locations
  • Proper power, signal and communication cable usage, routing and sizing
  • Understanding SIS (Safety Instrumented Systems) and their calculations
  • Calculations for pumping and piping systems
  • Networks for industrial and corporate interfacing of control systems
  • Electrical power quality, harmonic generation and filtering
  • Motion control systems
  • Pneumatic and hydraulic systems
  • Sizing emergency standby systems

About the Author
Bryon Lewis is a Professional Engineer (PE), licensed in Control Systems Engineering (CSE). He is a Senior Member of ISA, a SME Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE), a Certified Journeyman Electronics Technician in industrial electronics (CET), an ISA Level III Certified Control System Technician, and a licensed Master Electrician. He has more than 30 years of experience in electrical, mechanical, instrumentation and control systems. Bryon holds letters of recommendation from Belcan Engineering, S&B Engineers and Constructors, Enron Corporation and Lee College. His design experience includes electrical lighting; power and control systems design for manufacturing and industrial environments; and instrumentation and control for pharmaceutical and petrochemical plants, compressor stations and food production plants. He also has extensive experience supervising the installation of electrical, instrumentation and control systems.


Connect with Bryon


Joel Don
Joel Don
Joel Don is an independent content marketing, social media and public relations consultant. Prior to his work in marketing and PR, Joel served as an editor for regional newspapers and national magazines throughout the U.S. He earned a master's degree from the Medill School at Northwestern University with a focus on science, engineering and biomedical marketing communications, and a bachelor of science degree from UC San Diego.

Related Posts

5 Ways Manufacturers Can Protect Their IP

Industry 4.0 is defined by the marriage of the digital and the physical, taking the form of smart factori...
Emily Newton Aug 16, 2022 5:30:00 AM

IDM Can Improve Plant Reliability and Reduce Downtime

There are hundreds of smart instruments including sensors and final control elements installed in medium-...
Bakhtiar Pour Ahmad Aug 12, 2022 5:30:00 AM

The Opportunities and Obstacles in Using Automation for PCB Assembly

Automation has revolutionized the printed circuit board (PCB) industry with enhanced product reliability ...
Suresh Patel Aug 9, 2022 5:30:00 AM