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Instrumentation is the variety of measuring instruments to monitor and control a process. It is the art and science of measurement and control of process variables within a production, laboratory, or manufacturing area. An instrument is a device that measures a physical quantity such as flow, temperature, level, distance, angle, or pressure. Instruments may be as simple as direct reading thermometers or may be complex multi-variable process analyzers. 


Instruments are often part of a control system in refineries, factories, and vehicles. The control of processes is one of the main branches of applied instrumentation. Instrumentation can also refer to handheld devices that measure some desired variable. Diverse handheld instrumentation is common in laboratories, but can be found in the household as well. For example, a smoke detector is a common instrument found in most western homes.