What Does A Mechanical Engineer Do?

Mechanical engineers are concerned about the creation and building of mechanical devices and systems. Depending on the scope of their work, they may focus on heat utilization or machine design. Heat utilization is concerned with harnessing energy and is applied in the design, development and testing of such things as boilers, air conditioners and refrigerators. Machine design, on the other hand, refers to the building and testing of machines that produce power. These include automobile engines, electric generators, turbines and computer hardware.

Mechanical engineers typically use computer tools like CAD to help them design their products. Software that specifically allows them to create preliminary drawings for mechanical or thermal devices make the job of mechanical engineers easier as these can allow them to perform simulations and tests even without building the actual product yet. While they do rely on computers, mechanical engineers also perform hand calculations on important parts of the design to double check its soundness and reliability. There are also specifically-developed stress analysis software tools that can do these functions for more advanced and complicated designs.

Once mechanical engineers have developed the designs and created blueprints for proposed devices, they would then develop the prototype. Together with other engineers, they test the prototype after it has been built to see to if it actually works. Even if they already have an idea on the feasibility and workability of their designs using computer programs, building a prototype is still an integral part of the design process inasmuch as mechanical engineers need to know whether the actual product really works. If there are problems in the design, they find ways to address these issues. They also subject the device to various conditions the way it would be utilized once target consumers would buy and use the product on a regular basis. Based on these tests, they then determine other ways by which the prototype can be improved.

Once the product has already undergone the necessary tests and the mechanical engineers believe that it is ready for mass production, they also supervise the manufacturing process. They see to it that the quality products are manufactured at the production line and that the production schedule is followed. In some cases, they may utilize robots and other kinds of specialized industrial production equipment to manufacture various devices.

Aside from product design and development and manufacturing, the duties of mechanical engineers may include systems management. In this role, they may supervise the operations of a power plant, ensure that it works without fail every day and address malfunctions. They also oversee the personnel who work there.

When they are not developing designs, making prototypes or overseeing the production lines, mechanical engineers typically meet with other engineers and the management team of the company to talk about current or upcoming projects, conduct reviews and get in touch with clients. They may also visit worksites if there are problems with a particular piece of equipment.

There are also mechanical engineers who focus on various types of work. For example, they can become patent researchers, sales engineers or test engineers. Patent researchers look into various patents to see if they already exist, sales engineers try to sell solutions to problems experienced by clients and test engineers devote their time and attention testing and writing reports about prototypes that are developed by the company.

Mechanical engineers work in various industries. They are connected with architectural, engineering and related services companies as well as in various kinds of manufacturing industries, such as in the manufacturing of machinery, transportation equipment, computer and electronic products and fabricated metal products. The natural gas, oil and alternative energy industries also hire mechanical engineers to help them come up with vehicles, devices and gadgets that are more fuel-efficient.

To succeed in their job, mechanical engineers enjoy solving difficult problems involving their designs. As innovators, they enjoy thinking of new ways to solve problems related to mechanical and thermal devices. They are also curious and are not content with existing systems. They are always striving to make things better and improve their performance, often with the help of cutting edge technology. Mechanical engineers use their math and science skills to find practical solutions to problems encountered in daily life.

Career Spotlight: Mechanical Engineer

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