Skills Required by Instrumentation Technicians

Who is an instrument technician?

A person who works as an instrumentation technician should be able to test, maintain, and fix instruments that are used to record and report data.

The majority of instrumentation technicians work for manufacturing facilities, ensuring that machinery is functioning correctly, safely, and effectively.

An instrumentation technician will test, calibrate, install, rectify, and inspect manufacturing equipment and monitoring devices and also do routine maintenance on the instrument.

On the fundamental design, they will also collaborate with instrumentation engineers or process engineers.

The general maintenance of the apparatus, the adjustment of system parts, and the replacement of faulty parts make up additional duties.

What is the role of a control and instrumentation technician?

Responsible for doing a variety of technical tasks in the process industries that have to do with electrical, mechanical, instrumentation, and control functions.

Installs, inspects, and troubleshoots electrical and mechanical equipment, instruments, and associated information systems.

What are the key skills of an instrument technician?

Instrument Commissioning, Calibration, Preventive Maintenance, Distributed Control System (DCS), Process Control, Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), and Control Valves are some of the most common and in-demand hard skills for instrument technicians.

A good foundation in mathematics, reading comprehension, problem solving, critical and analytical thinking, computer and mechanical abilities, clear written and spoken communication, good judgment, and the ability to make smart decisions.

What does an instrumentation technician do?

Repairing, maintaining, calibrating, adjusting, and installing the dials, sensors, and other instrumentation that monitors and controls equipment in industrial and commercial operations are the responsibilities of industrial instrument technicians.

What are the requirements for an instrument technician?

Instrument technicians normally possess at least a high school education; however, an associate degree or advanced training specifically connected to instrumentation is recommended. Instrument technicians may also be required to pass certification exams.

They are expected to have an understanding of any legal standards that are relevant to their field or work environment. These positions call for precise attention to detail and excellent organizational abilities.

What responsibilities are common for Instrument Technician jobs?

  • Assess, plan, and provide documentation for simulators and test fixtures.
  • Perform tasks in a safe and ecologically responsible way.
  • Using hand tools, reassemble and reinstall the system’s instruments.
  • Support the creation and specification of new systems.
  • Perform component-level repairs and calibration as required for instruments.
  • Participate in a setting that emphasizes teamwork to assist in the resolution of complex and difficult problems.
  • Develop proactive changes to industry norms to guarantee effectiveness and quality.
  • Interact with staff members from different departments to handle any problems that may arise.
  • Work together with department operators to realize operational challenges as well as opportunities for processes and equipment.
  • Effectively communicate information and reply to queries from groups of managers, clients, and quality inspectors.
  • Perform repairs on test equipment or contract out repairs as necessary.
  • Utilize computer-based service reporting systems to record every work completed.
  • Examine and test any components that were installed by personnel or contractors.
  • To guarantee that production volume, quality, and overall uptime objectives are fulfilled, use recognized troubleshooting techniques.
  • Adapt measuring equipment, standards, and methodologies to conduct measurements that go beyond their typical use.

What are the typical qualifications for Instrument Technician jobs?

  • Electronics, instrumentation, and control engineering diploma or bachelor’s degree, or comparable work experience
  • Hands-on experience with calibration, assemblies, and measurements.
  • Basic familiarity with programmable logic.
  • Good communication and English language abilities.
  • Effective leadership and problem-solving skills.

What are three instrument technician duties?

Instrument technicians keep equipment in excellent working condition by doing regular maintenance, testing, inspections, and calibration. Additionally, do routine maintenance on the apparatus and create new measuring and recording devices.

Here are summaries of the requirements for each of the essential skills.


  • Instrumentation and control technicians need to be able to read in order to find and understand technical information. 
  • There are technical articles about new products and how the industry works, health and safety bulletins from manufacturers, calibration and service guides, incident reports, procedures, manuals, and notes.

Document Use

  • Instrumentation and control technicians find information in both written and digital formats and figure out what it means.
  • Documents that are referred to include computer printouts with numbers, lists of suppliers, and engineering documents like forms, graphs, tables, charts, schematics, assembly diagrams, and drawings.
  • They may also make sketches and detailed schematics on the spot, as well as assembly drawings, graphs, and charts.


  • Instrumentation and control technicians need to be able to write in order to make lists of parts, schedules for maintenance, and reports on inspections.
  • Instrumentation and control technicians write down instructions for how to control and run equipment and find problems.
  • They use their writing skills when they send e-mails and write in logbooks about how things are going.


  • Instrumentation and control technicians need data interpretation, numerical estimation, and measurement and calculating abilities. 
  • Analyzer malfunctions, flow, volume displacement, pressure, graph interpretation, and value comparisons are some of these activities.
  • Instrumentation and control technicians look at sets of data from tests and simulations to find problems, judge how well equipment is working, and figure out how fast it is wearing out.

Oral Communications

  • Instrumentation and control technicians collaborate alongside steamfitters/pipefitters, welders, machinists, electricians, and industrial mechanics to coordinate work. 
  • They may also talk with supervisors and engineers about the design and problems of systems and give their expert advice and opinion. 
  • Instrumentation and control technicians also talk to process operators about broken equipment and machinery and share information about how to fix them. They may sometimes have to give formal presentations to explain how to monitor or how to use new equipment.


  • Instrumentation and control technicians diagnose problems, prevent risks, and determine whether to repair or replace components depending on time and cost.
  • They plan and organize maintenance schedules, the installation of new equipment.
  • Instrumentation and control technicians must think fast and synthesize information to handle situations like significant equipment breakdowns that might cause injury or property and environmental damage.

Digital Technology

  • Instrumentation and control technicians install and maintain PLC, DCS, SCADA systems, and HMIs.
  • Handheld digital devices may adjust settings and obtain measurement and operating data.
  • Instrumentation and control technicians may utilize word processing, databases, spreadsheets, communication software and devices, the Internet, CAD, manufacturing, or machining applications, depending on the work.

Working with Others

  • Instrumentation and control technicians work alone but may collaborate with other tradesmen, experts, and process operators.
  • Instruments and control technicians collaborate with process operators to maintain instrumentation and handle emergencies efficiently. 
  • Test transmitters, controllers, and control valves with other tradesmen. 
  • When running cables, instrumentation and control technicians operate in teams. They may then lead or manage project teams.

Continuous Learning

  • Instrumentation and control technicians can get training in areas that are new to their field or are always changing, such as safety, digital technology, and more advanced computer program for process control. 
  • Representatives from suppliers may offer them technical courses on new equipment as well as seminars on team leadership and communication. 
  • You can also keep learning by reading technical literature and figuring out how to fix problems.
  • Instrumentation and control technicians have to make sure their workplaces are a safe  environment by following rules and procedures for safety.
  • The use safety equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) to make sure they and others are safe.
  • Also, they use de-energizing, lock-out and tag-out procedures to keep things safe when working on the machines.

Organize the work

  • Instrumentation and control technicians organize their work well with the help of tools and procedures.
  • They interpret and update drawings, diagrams, and documents to get the information they need for their jobs.
  • Instrumentation and control technicians plan and coordinate their work with other trades and services when needed.
  • They also make sure that the work site, tools, and equipment are ready before tasks are done.

Perform routine trade activities

  • Instrumentation and control technicians use procedures, tools, and equipment to do routine work in a safe, efficient, and effective way.
  • Maintenance work must be recorded and reported, which is an important part of this trade.

Required knowledge to carry out routine trade activities:

  • Different kinds of test and calibration equipment, like multimeter, pressure calibrators, and hand-held communicators
  • Types of configuration equipment, such as highway addressable remote transducer (HART) communicators, computers, and software.
  • Calibration, configuration, and test equipment operating procedures and limits.
  • How to use hand tools and what they can’t do
  • How to use and how not to use portable and stationary power tools
  • How belts, ropes, cables, and slings work and what they are used for.
  • Operating instructions for lifting and hoisting tools
  • Capacities for hoisting and lifting

Responsible for the maintenance of testing, setup, and equipment calibration

  • Calibrating, configuring, and testing apparatus must comply with the maintenance schedule and certification standards.
  • Verification of measuring and checking instruments
  • Inspect configuration equipment and make sure it works.
  • Check the software and firmware versions and do updates
  • Calibration and testing equipment and devices need to be recertified according to manufacturers’ recommendations and government rules.
  • Adjust test and calibration equipment to standards that are known and can be found.

Key Skills for maintaining tools

  • Keeping tools in good working order means putting them in the right place.
  • Check for damage on hand tools.
  • Hand tools like hydraulic cutters and threading tools need to be oiled to work properly.
  • Clean tools after using them to make sure they work well.
  • Change out parts of hand tools like cutting blades and hacksaw blades.
  • Check the batteries and chargers for your tools to make sure they are in good shape and fully charged.
  • Clean and check power tools for things that could make them unsafe, like missing, worn, or broken parts, missing guards, and frayed electrical cords.
  • Change parts of power tools like drill bits and cutting discs.

Key Skills for Keeping Documentation Up-To-Date

  • Update calibration sheets per maintenance procedures
  • Update and create new maintenance procedures to keep up with changes in equipment
  • According to maintenance procedures, create backup databases of how equipment is set up and what software it uses.
  • Keep maintenance records and operation manuals up-to-date.
  • Report to supervisors on the condition and evaluation of equipment
  • Service reports can be made with forms and data sheets.
  • File and update legal documentation
  • Use systems like work orders, preventive maintenance program, and instrument databases to keep track of your assets.

Competencies Essential for Operating Equipment Used to Move Materials

  • Find out how much each piece of equipment can lift and how much it can do.
  • Choose material-handling equipment based on the type of lift and how much it needs to move.
  • Find out what rigging and lifting jobs need to be done by other qualified people based on regulations and workplace policies.
  • Check for damage and expiration dates on equipment used to move things.
  • Find potential dangers like pinch points, unstable loads, obstacles, and power lines that are too close to the ground.
  • Before lifting, block off the work area with safety equipment like barricades and warning lights.
  • Store equipment in suitable locations

Required Knowledge for Installs and services devices for measuring various inputs

  • Many different kinds of flow measuring devices, like vortex, thermal mass, and ultrasonic.
  • Thermocouples, RTDs, filled thermal systems, and pyrometers are all examples of devices that can measure temperature.
  • Chart recorders, digital displays, and gauges are all types of displaying devices.
  • Different kinds of pressure scales, like absolute, gauge, differential, and barometric.
  • Connections like piping, tubing, and wiring
  • Primary elements like orifice plates, turbines, and Coriolis tubes
  • Pressure calibrators, dead weight testers, and multimeter are some of the tools used to measure pressure, level, and flow.
  • Multimeters, temperature baths, dry block calibrators, and infrared thermometers are some of the tools used to calibrate temperature.
  • Accuracy and the limits of calibration instruments.
  • Knowledge of variety of different loops interacting with one another.
  • Functions of the measurement instrument.
  • Repair/replacement method, Root cause analysis and diagnosis, maintenance procedures, documentation, and schedules.
  • Choosing and using tools and equipment based on the type of device.
  • Choose a device based on the process application, environment, and engineered designs.
  • According to the manufacturer’s instructions and developed designs, choose a mounting position and install the instrument there.
  • Change enclosures and panels to hold devices and indicators.
  • Wire devices according to the engineer’s plans and the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Configure and calibrate devices according to the manufacturer’s instructions, process requirements, and data sheets.
  • Using test equipment and procedures, make sure the device works within the parameters set.
  • Save the configuration and calibration settings and write them down so you can get them back later.
  • Perform an inspection to look for problems like leaks, loose connections, and corrosion.
  • Check the devices’ functions to make sure they’re working right.
  • Clear the devices’ sensing lines and sensing taps by isolating, equalizing, or blowing down to make sure the lines are not clogged.
  • Use things like solvents, fine wire, abrasives, and contact cleaners to clean devices.
  • Check that the devices are calibrated according to the maintenance specifications.
  • Calibrate device before putting it back into service.
  • Choose and use diagnostic tools and equipment like software, handheld configurator, and calibration equipment.
  • Check for problems like leaks, physical damage, and poor wiring connections.
  • Check the device’s functions to find problems like a plugged sensing line and not enough power.
  • Verify the calibration based on the as-found conditions.
  • Choose tools and equipment like digital multimeters, pressure calibrators, and test gauges, and use them.
  • Choose the replacement parts needed based on codes and manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Replace parts such as sensor boards, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), and thermocouples.
  • Using liquids or air under pressure to clear clogged lines.
  • Check and clean parts that get wet from the process where the device touches the process.
  • Calibrate the device according to the instructions from the manufacturer.
  • Find the likely root cause and location of faults and the repairs that need to be done.
  • Motion and position/displacement sensors include torque switches, proximity switches, proximity probes, and analogue position sensors.
  • Instruments that measure speed include tachometers, strobes, and proximeters.
  • Knowledge about probes and proximeters are tools that measure vibration.
  • Principles of operation and the laws of physics, such as the speed and velocity device operates.
  • Choose the cable based on the manufacturer’s instructions and how it was made.
  • Carry out an examination in order to identify any irregularities, such as corrosion, loose connections, and dirt.
  • Use things like solvents, abrasives, and contact cleaners to clean things like optical lenses and probe faces.
  • Choose and use diagnostic tools and equipment like oscilloscopes, multimeters, and hand held configurators.
  • Check for problems like misalignment, physical damage, and bad electrical connections.
  • Remove and replace parts like sensors, sensor boards, reflectors, and transmitters.
  • Knowledge about devices that measure strain and mass, including load cells, scales, and strain gauges
  • Using the devices for measuring density include u-tubes, displacers, nuclear gauges, and refractometers.
  • Rebuild instruments such as rotary consistency transmitters and mechanical belt scales in order to replace components that have become worn.
  • Process analyzers like ORP, pH, conductivity, and turbidity.
  • Analyzers for quality control include chromatographs, spectrometers, and pulp quality analyzers.
  • Analyzers for environmental emissions like noise, dangerous gasses, and greenhouse gasses.
  • Different kinds of connections, like piping, wiring, and flange mounted.
  • Operating parameters like sampling time, lag time, and limits on measurements.
  • Required installation conditions, like ambient temperature and cleanliness sampling systems, conditioners, and methods.
  • Lab instruments, multimeters, and software, like multimeters and software, were used to calibrate analyzers.
  • Material for calibration, like inert and standard gases, water, and oil.
  • Methods of calibration in accordance with what is needed by the analyzer
  • The interaction between the analyzer and the process
  • The potential for contamination of the analyzers
  • Theory behind the workings of an analyser
  • Jurisdictional regulations and licensing requirements
  • Choose analyzers based on the process application, environmental conditions, manufacturer’s specifications, and engineered designs.
  • Installing sampling systems and conditioners.
  • Using known standards, sampling routines, and procedures, check that the analyzer and sampling system work within the parameters set.
  • Carry out inspections to look for irregularities such leaks, improper sample flow, and corrosion.
  • Check for problems like leaks, dirty probes, physical damage, and wrong electrical connections.
  • Replace parts like chopper motors, light sources, sensors, and sensor boards.
  • Fix problems with the sampling system, like sampling lines that are clogged or solenoids, filters, valves, or regulators that don’t work.

Knowledge of Safety and Security System Devices

  • Safety systems and devices are used to find and deal with hazards like gas leaks, fires, and spills. Alarms, shutting down of the plant, and even evacuations may be done.
  • Types of gas detection equipment like infrared and electrolytic
  • UV and infrared detection devices are two examples of flame detection equipment.
  • Thermal pencils and heat sensors are two examples of heat sensing devices.
  • Types of smoke detectors include ionic and particle detectors.
  • Various kinds of emission monitoring devices for circumstances such as effluent pH, stack emissions, and water turbidity.
  • Personal protection devices include portable gas detectors, breathing air systems, and dosimeters.
  • Acceptable limits according to codes for things like oxygen levels, H2S levels, radiation levels, and water quality.
  • How to shut down, what to do, and what it means.
  • Safety systems needed to have their parameters calibrated.
  • Limitations of safety systems’ accuracy
  • Specific calibration methods are needed for safety systems.
  • Interactions between safety systems and processes.
  • Identify the hazard or emission that needs to be detected
  • Find out where the detection system and devices should be placed based on the manufacturer’s instructions, as well as industry standards and codes.
  • Choose and use test equipment and materials like an ultraviolet/infrared (UV/IR) source, calibration gasses, filters, and smoke generators to check a protection system or device.
  • Check systems to make sure they work right by comparing them to local rules and the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Check that PPE is working properly by bump testing and calibrating portable gas detectors, for example, based on local rules and manufacturer instructions.
  • Calibrate safety system devices and parts according to the manufacturer’s instructions, testing and maintenance schedule, process requirements, and data sheets.
  • Test the safety loops functions on a regular basis.

Knowledge of Hydraulic, Pneumatic and Electrical Systems

  • Types of hydraulic oils, like synthetic and conventional, and what makes them different and how they are made.
  • Cleanliness and filtration standards are needed for hydraulic systems.
  • Risks associated with hydraulic systems, including high pressures, high temperatures, leaks, and the release of stored energy
  • Use components like tubes and fittings to join control devices like solenoids, switches, gauges, and actuators.
  • Use test equipment and procedures to check the operation of hydraulic equipment and control devices to make sure they work within the parameters set.
  • Choose tools and replacement parts to fix the system based on its specifications and uses.
  • Fix broken control devices by replacing parts, cleaning, and calibrating. Replace broken control devices with ones that are compatible with the system.
  • Theories and standards about pneumatics
  • Types of pneumatic equipment, parts, and devices such as compressors, air dryers, safety valves, switches, solenoids, and regulators.
  • Compressed gas characteristics including dew point, the presence of particles and oil contamination, the functioning of pneumatic equipment with flammable gasses, and venting procedures
  • Risks of pneumatic systems include high pressures, high temperatures, and dangerous gasses.
  • System parts and materials, like filters and desiccants, need to be changed.
  • Electrical theories and formulas include Ohm’s Law, Kirchoff’s Laws, and Faraday’s Law.
  • Power parameters, potential dangers, and ratings
  • Types of electrical equipment like AC/DC power supplies and UPS
  • Dangerous places to use electrical and electronic equipment
  • Types of batteries and the risks that come with them
  • Electrical and electronic equipment, such as voltage, voltage ripple, current, repeatability, and accuracy
  • Utilizing electrical concepts and theories, check system operational characteristics and requirements including voltage and current.
  • Check the voltage, fluid level, and corrosion on the terminals as part of regular battery maintenance.

Knowledge of Final Control Devices such as control valves, positioners and variable speed drives 

  • Various valve types, including ball, butterfly, v-ball, globe, pinch, plug, gate, and plug.
  • Characteristics and uses of valves.
  • Different kinds of packing, like teflon, graphite, and rope, and how they are used.
  • Valve problems like leaks, valve passing, and broken parts.
  • Repair procedures like taking apart, putting back together, and replacing parts.
  • Dangers of mechanical energy that has been stored, like compressed air and a compressed spring
  • Choose the type of valve to be installed based on the job, the engineering designs, and the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Choose and use installation tools and equipment based on the needs of the application, torque specifications, and valve sizes.
  • Depending on the application, choose the gasket material and mounting hardware and put them in place.
  • Mount valve by bolting, welding, flanging, and threading, among other ways.
  • Orient the valve according to the manufacturer’s instructions to keep it from breaking down too soon and to make sure it works right.
  • Use test equipment and calibration procedures to make sure that the operation is within the set parameters.
  • Check valves for packing leaks, worn parts, and stem wear based on the specifications and maintenance schedule.
  • Using the manufacturer’s instructions, grease the valve stems, bushings, and bearings.
  • Check that the valve assembly moves smoothly the whole way.
  • Information like valve stroke, wear, and overall condition should be written down.
  • Using diagnostic software, you can read the valve signature to figure out things like seat load and sticking valves.
  • Find the likely cause and location of problems and the repairs that need to be done.
  • Choose and use tools and equipment like seat pullers and packing pullers
  • Valves should be taken apart according to job instructions and manufacturers’ suggestions.
  • Choose replacement parts like the cage, plug, and seat based on the valve’s specifications and how it is used in the process.
  • Put the valve back together according to the job instructions and the manufacturer’s advice.
  • Types of actuators to know about are pneumatic, hydraulic, and electric.
  • Using actuators like fail-open and fail-close
  • Actuator actions include spring return, double-acting, and rotary.
  • Some of the parts of an actuator are diaphragms, plates, couplings, springs, bushings, and o rings.
  • Possible problems with actuators include leaking diaphragms, broken springs, and damaged or worn o rings
  • Install the actuator based on the valve type, the application, and the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Choose and use tools and equipment for installation based on the needs of the application and the size of the actuator.
  • Choose, orient, and mount the actuator based on the manufacturer’s instructions and engineered designs.
  • Connect and complete the actuator using methods like wiring, tubing, and bolting, depending on the needs of the application.
  • Benchset actuator to overcome static process pressure and make sure seat load
  • Using test equipment and calibration procedures, check the actuator to make sure it works within the set parameters.
  • Using the manufacturer’s instructions, grease the actuator stems, bushings, and bearings.
  • Check that the assembly moves smoothly all the way through.
  • Analyze actuator travel to find problems like broken springs and limits.
  • Reassemble the actuator with new parts like o-rings, diaphragms, and pistons, following the job instructions and the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Positioners come in rotary, pneumatic, and electronic varieties.
  • Positioner components include levers, nozzles, flappers, diaphragms, feedback devices, I/P transducers, and bellows.
  • Auxiliary components such as position switches and boosters.
  • Choose the positioner to be installed depending on the task and the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Choose an action for the positioner, such as fail-close or fail-open, based on the process and engineered designs.
  • Choose and use tools and equipment for installation, such as hand-held configurators and loop calibrators, based on the needs of the application.
  • Choose the mounting hardware based on the job.
  • Orient the positioner and attach it to the actuator according to the manufacturer’s instructions and engineered designs.
  • configure and calibrate positioner according to specifications
  • Using test equipment and procedures, check the positioner to make sure it works within the set parameters.
  • Adjust, calibrate, and tune positioner based on valve specifications and process application.
  • Replace parts like o-rings, I/P transducers, and feedback devices on the positioner according to job procedures and manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Varieties of VSDs, including DC drives and VFDs
  • VSD parameters and applications, such as power needs, amperage, limits, and input and output devices
  • Configurations of VSDs and their interfaces
  • Diagnostic features of VSDs include fault codes and error codes
  • Check VSDs for things like dirt, loose connections and also be able to check the inputs and outputs.

Knowledge about process control Strategies

  • Process control strategies like feed forward, cascade, and ratio controller functions like direct/reverse action, auto/manual, and split range
  • Strategies like proportional-integral-derivative use math equations to make decisions (PID)
  • Different process parameters that need to be controlled
  • Process control limitations
  • Failure modes and  multi-variable control processes
  • Scientific Apparatus Makers Association (SAMA) and process and instrumentation diagram (P&ID) drawings
  • Create a loop diagram as a preliminary step for implementation
  • Find out controller actions like forward and backward
  • Find out how controller functions, such as PI and PID, work.

Required Knowledge about Control systems:

  • Types of DCS & PLC made by different companies and how their architecture and functions differ.
  • Languages for programming like script, ladder, function block, and sequential function chart.
  • Different kinds of parts, like the power supply, processor, memory, and I/O modules.
  • Distinguish the digital, discrete and analogue signals
  • Communication networks and procedures.
  • Alarm priorities.
  • The communication systems used by PLC & DCS.
  • Cause and effect of forcing and bypassing I/Os.
  • Working online and offline.
  • Connect the wiring and network to the PLC according to schematics, drawings, and the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Download and upload PLC programmes.
  • Address things like temperature and contamination in the environment
  • Change the backup batteries, watch the indicator lights, and check the temperature and cleanliness as part of regular maintenance.
  • Using error codes, logs, and status lights to find the problem.
  • Find the likely root cause by looking at symptoms and conditions to find where faults are.
  • Do troubleshooting steps like forcing I/O and setting traps and counters.
  • Connect the wiring and network to the PLC according to schematics, drawings, and the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Software such as word processors, spreadsheets, and databases.
  • Check that the details of installing DCS components like cabinets, operator stations, and servers are done according to the specifications and engineered designs of the manufacturers.
  • Confirm and test HMI configuration.
  • Backup the HMI programme and configuration in case you need to get your data back in the future.
  • SCADA theory includes things like remote processes and how systems interact.
  • SCADA equipment like MTUs, RTUs, PLCs, HMIs, communication systems, and connection media.

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