Nearly everything we use in our daily personal, domestic and professional lives has been manufactured. And whether that product is a plane, a computer, a surgical instrument, a toy or even a can of beans, teams of manufacturing engineers have played a fundamental role in its creation.
Manufacturing engineers are the people who design, create and coordinate the processes and systems that go into making any product. More often than not, they have to do this in a way that meets very specific technical, commercial and environment specifications and standards, all of which may change fast and frequently.
They are also responsible for planning and designing the layouts of manufacturing plants and facilities where these products are made. Once the production lines have started rolling, they are the ones who also have to make sure that often complex machinery is so well maintained there is only the bare minimum of costly downtime lost to mechanical failure. And should there be a breakdown, they are under immediate pressure to resolve the issue as fast as possible, so production can begin again.
Once an item is being produced, manufacturing engineers must also monitor production quality to make certain each component continues to match the specification originally decided.
With companies not only having to respond to the demands of the market place, but also obtain competitive advantage by continually introducing new products, the work of the manufacturing engineer is never done, as they constantly find ways to make new items ever more cost efficiently.
Because manufacturing engineers have to continually provide creative solutions to complex production problems, they have to make sure they regularly update their knowledge about new processes, machinery and materials to help them do that. They must also learn how to work with chemical, mechanical and electrical engineers to ensure all aspects of production are integrated into a highly effective and efficient process.
Understandably, manufacturing engineers must have an excellent and in-depth knowledge of relevant production processes, and also of the machinery that’s available to perform different manufacturing functions, as well as the distinctive characteristics of a wide-range of materials that might be used.
The level of technical expertise required will depend upon the sector the engineer is working in, but with production standards becoming ever more precise, manufacturing engineers are increasingly working with cutting edge machinery in hi-tech environments, as well as being needed by companies that haven’t yet embraced the newest production technologies.
As the economy picks up, it’s obvious manufacturing jobs will have a growing and crucial role to play in driving growth, as companies who have put off investment due to the financial conditions begin to invest in new facilities. This will result in an increased requirement for trained technical experts who are able to make their manufacturing plans happen.
Without manufacturing engineers, UK PLC will not be able to produce the goods that consumers and businesses at home, and most crucially abroad, are looking for.