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What is Delta V?

Tom Evans our consultant managing the role
Posted by Tom Evans
Published on 17 April 2024

What does Delta V Mean?

Delta V is a distributed control system (DCS) that helps to improve operational efficiencies. This automation system is built with process control applications in mind. Companies use Delta V to reduce engineering costs and limit the time needed to shut down for maintenance while increasing efficiency and throughput.

Why should you train to use it? 

Perhaps you come from an engineering background, and you’re looking to take your career down the automation route. You’ll find that many companies – especially biotech and biopharmaceutical companies – use Delta V. You can also specialise in Delta V jobs and Delta V engineering jobs. Alternatively, you might already work within automation engineering but want to take the next leap forward in your career. The suite of products and services developed by Emerson has many useful features. We’ll dive into them shortly.

What are the origins of Delta V? 

So where did Delta V originate? "Delta V" (Δv, where "delta" is a Greek letter often used to denote change in mathematics and science, and "v" stands for velocity) represents a change in velocity. In the context of space exploration and astrodynamics, delta V is a measure of the effort required to change from one trajectory to another by modifying velocity. This concept is central to mission planning and orbital manoeuvres. Here's a breakdown:

  • Rocket Propulsion: When a rocket fires, it expends a certain amount of fuel to change its velocity by a specific amount. This change in velocity is the rocket's delta-V. The more fuel a rocket has (and the more efficiently it can burn), the greater its potential delta-V.
  • Orbital Maneuvers: In space, a change in velocity is required to move a spacecraft from one orbit to another (like from a lower Earth orbit to a higher one or the Moon). This is often achieved by firing the spacecraft's engines to accelerate or decelerate. The amount of velocity change required for such manoeuvres is termed delta-V.
  • Mission Planning: When planning space missions, scientists and engineers must calculate the total delta-V requirements for the entire journey. This includes taking off from Earth, entering the desired orbit, moving to another celestial body (if that's part of the mission), landing, taking off again, and returning to Earth.

Understanding, Delta V requirements is crucial because it directly impacts the amount of fuel the spacecraft needs to carry. If a mission requires more Delta V than the spacecraft can provide with its fuel load, it is infeasible with that particular design. In essence, Delta V can be thought of as the "currency" of space travel. The more you have, the further and more complex manoeuvres you can perform.

automation engineer Uses Laptop for Programming Robotic Arm

I/O on Demand

The engineering and management of I/O (input/output) subsystems is a time-consuming element of process automation. This is where I/O on Demand comes into play. According to Emerson, the automation system will deliver ‘what you want, when you want, where you want it’. What this means for users is that Delta V provides the I/O that you demand. How will this impact a project? The benefits are threefold: it shortens the project timeline, minimises system footprint, and improves future flexibility. As a result, Claudio Fayad - MD at Emerson - states that “automation is no longer a project bottleneck and is off the critical path”. Therefore, anyone with experience using and maintaining Delta V will play a key role in limiting project risk and be a vital team member.


While DeltaV was developed to assist with some of the most complex automation projects, the system architecture can be scaled down to suit even those smaller projects. Not only that, but the automation system can also be scaled as a business grows.  And because of Emerson’s commitment to human-centred design (HCD), tasks like this can be executed by anyone with Delta V knowledge without consulting personnel outside the business. Delta V proves its worth in its ability to fit a project’s operations, so users don’t need to alter a project to fit the system. Whether your goal is to become a DeltaV engineer or a software quality engineer with system knowledge, you can help your company transform its operations at every growth stage.

Embedded Intelligent Control

Using predictive technologies and embedded learning algorithms, DeltaV calculates process models and diagnostics. As a result, the system creates synergy between loop diagnostics and tuning. This removes the tedious tasks associated with plant engineering, freeing up time to test how you can run your operations at their full potential. The removal of the more monotonous elements of plant engineering supports the argument that automation doesn't replace workers; it creates new and more exciting jobs. You must illustrate that you’re an automation specialist to land these jobs. If you learn the applications of DeltaV, you’ll be able to pick up the knowledge of other DCSs quickly.  And with the DCS market now worth over $16.18 bn, learning about these computerised control systems will help you propel your career.  For example, if you’re already an automation engineer, you might find that many senior automation engineer roles stipulate that you need excellent DeltaV knowledge.

Are you Looking for your Next Automation Delta V job?

If it’s time to make your next career move, Quanta is here to help. We’ve matched candidates with jobs for around 30 years, so we know exactly what it takes to provide top-level candidate care. After all, each individual has a unique mix of talents, skills and needs, and it’s our job to use our industry knowledge to find the opportunity that matches this mix. Don’t miss out on our latest opportunities – browse our life sciences roles to find your next automation job. Need help finding what you're looking for? Sign up for job alerts, and you'll be the first to hear about the latest jobs that suit you.