Mechanical engineering and manufacturing engineering are similar but not the same. There are key differences in the types of projects that each pursues, although there is some overlap. Mechanical engineers design and develop specific types of machines, while manufacturing engineers usually work to improve the manufacturing process for a range of products and may also contribute to altering product designs.
Passing the Buck – Whether you prefer to call them manufacturing engineers, production engineers or manufacturing technologists, they all go by one thing: “problem solvers.”
In the eyes of those who have to better equip manufacturers for their changing role in industry, problems can be found everywhere.
The fastest growing segment in manufacturing is now Maintenance. With modern manufacturing now becoming more automated, the need for skilled maintenance professionals is now higher than ever before. Often, these roles are misdiagnosed as engineering tasks. Although maintenance engineers are accountable to the same annual budget as their engineering counterparts, they are also responsible for equipment management over time.
Sub-disciplines of maintenance include preventative maintenance, emergency maintenance, reliability engineering, equipment failure analysis, asset management, facilities management and many more.
So how is it possible that one role could cover so many different aspects? Simple. Maintenance is responsible for all aspects of the equipment both during the day-to-day operation and over the whole lifespan of the equipment. That’s where it differs from something like reliability or asset management. For these subdisciplines have a limited scope of time over which they are responsible.
Most people have a pretty clear understanding of the differences between electrical and mechanical engineering, but the overlap between the two is less well-known. Mechanical engineers design and develop specific types of machines, while manufacturing engineers work to improve the manufacturing process for a range of products and may also contribute to altering product designs.
Explaining the difference between these two roles is easier when using an example from a very common field. Let’s say an automotive company has decided to begin producing larger vehicles, which means it needs to upgrade some of its plant equipment. A mechanical engineer would then be responsible for designing that new equipment, while a manufacturing engineer would be responsible for fine-tuning that design (to fit into the current plant setup, for example) and for overseeing the construction of the new equipment once it’s actually ordered. The goal of both roles is always to make products more efficiently and more affordably.