From the shoes on your feet to the car you drive, nearly everything you use in your daily life is manufactured. Manufacturing Engineering is concerned with understanding, analysing and improving complex industrial, manufacturing and infrastructure systems. In simple terms, this means taking ideas from concept generation right through to working products.
Manufacturing engineers do the following:
- Design a product
- Select the best technologies and processes for manufacturing it
- Plan and design the factory that will produce the product
- Oversee the running, management, maintenance and improvement of the factory.
Manufacturing Engineering jobs also involve supply chain management, logistics and distribution, quality management, and environmental and life-cycle management.
Note: Manufacturing Engineering is equivalent to Industrial Engineering in the USA and EU.
The Growing Importance of Manufacturing Engineering
We live in an age of rapid innovation, complex technology and sustainability. Naturally, the job of a manufacturing engineer has become even more important.
Organisations, both public and private, are crying out for manufacturing engineers because they have diverse analytical skills. That’s especially true when integrating technology with commercial and organisational solutions.
What Skills Do Manufacturing Engineers Need?
Manufacturing engineers are trained to see the big picture as well as the specific details.
They take core engineering skills and add important elements from mechatronics, commerce, economics and business management. It’s probably the most flexible and marketable of all the engineering disciplines.
For example, a modern factory would consult or employ a manufacturing engineer. The factory needs to produce a product, but also needs to produce it efficiently and meet demand – at the right cost, quality and delivery timeframe. This requires input on everything from product and factory design to manufacturing process refinement, packaging efficiencies and even transport.
What Do Manufacturing Engineers Do?
Industries all over the world are looking for ways to increase production and profits. They do this by making their production more efficient and reliable while reducing manufacturing costs. But this isn’t a simple process.
Manufacturing engineers research and develop ways of designing, building, and shipping products on time and within budget. They determine the best ways to use machinery to maximise efficiency – keeping costs down and increasing company profits. When new machinery is required, they make sure the most appropriate equipment is purchased and integrated in the most efficient way possible.
On top of increasing production efficiency, manufacturing engineers focus on improving worker safety and reducing equipment malfunctions. They do this by writing detailed instruction manuals and creating and enforcing safety rules.
Some examples of things a manufacturing engineer might be hired to do include:
- Using computer integration to automate a chemical manufacturing facility
- Assigning machines and equipment to various manufacturing processes to ensure efficiency
- Developing processes to fabricate nano-devices
- Finding a cost-effective facility layout alternative for an aerospace manufacturing company.