Manufacturing engineers make things. Everything that manufacturing engineers do is ultimately tied to the production of goods. Almost everything that we use at home, at work, at play is manufactured. By its official professional definition, manufacturing occurs when the shape, form or properties of a material are altered in a way that adds value. Manufactured goods are everywhere aircraft structures, machinery, electronics, medical devices, automobile parts, household products, toys, textiles and clothing, cans and bottles virtually everything we use.
Everything needed in modern society is manufactured. And manufacturing engineers design, direct and coordinate the processes and production systems for making virtually every kind of product from beginning to end. As businesses try to make products better and at less cost, they turn to manufacturing engineers to find out how.
Manufacturing engineers apply scientific principles to the production of goods. They are key team members in production of a wide range of products automobiles, airplanes, tractors, electronics, surgical instruments, toys, building products, foodstuffs, sports and recreational equipment and on and on. In all cases, manufacturing engineers design the processes and systems to make products with the required functionality, to high quality standards, available when and where customers prefer, at the best possible price and in ways that are environmentally-friendly.
Manufacturing engineering is a creative activity: manufacturing engineers design, implement, monitor and maintain manufacturing processes. They consult with design engineers in order to achieve the most efficient and cost effective way of producing the highest quality product possible.
Employment is found in numerous industries, such as clothing, food and drink, pharmaceuticals and shipbuilding. Many organizations operate 'cross-functional' teams with the manufacturing engineer involved at every stage, from design and development, to production, research and after-sales service.
Manufacturing engineers have expertise in a wide range of manufacturing technologies and computer and management control systems. They apply state-of-the art technology to meet increasingly competitive business needs.
Roles vary according to the setting but the range of activities common to most manufacturing engineering positions usually includes:
* organizing, planning, commissioning and maintaining production lines;
* improving existing operations, incorporating new methods and processes;
* handling equipment purchase and installation;
* investigating operational problems affecting production and dealing with them in a systematic, methodical manner;
* planning the use of resources and scheduling activities in order to meet an objective;
* preparing manufacturing documentation required for product manufacture;
* co-ordinating projects;
* providing manufacturing data;
* running meetings with other team members;
* identifying ways to reduce production costs;
* managing budgets;
* working with engineering and other departments to produce cost estimates for new designs;
* liaising with research and development departments;
* understanding and analyzing graphs and statistics and other complex information;
* giving presentations to engineers and colleagues in other departments;
* liaising with suppliers and customers;
* training and supervising staff;
* working with regulatory bodies to ensure safety, environmental and design standards are met;
* reading specialist journals and attending training courses and industry meetings in order to keep up to date with the latest technological developments and trends within this and other branches of engineering