What is Manufacturing Engineering?
From the shoes on your feet to the car you drive, nearly everything you use in your daily life is man-made, or ‘manufactured’.
At its most basic level, Manufacturing Engineering takes ideas from concept generation right through to working products.
The reality is more complex, and much more interesting.
- Design a product,
- Select the best technologies and processes for manufacturing it,
- Plan and design the factory that will produce the product, and
- Oversee the running, management, maintenance and improvement of the factory.
Manufacturing Engineers also get involved in supply chain management, logistics and distribution, quality management as well as environmental and life-cycle management.
In short, Manufacturing Engineering is the branch of engineering that is concerned with understanding, analysing and improving complex industrial, manufacturing and infrastructure systems.
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, especially skills in integrating technology with commercial and organisational solutions.
What skills do Manufacturing Engineers need?
Manufacturing Engineering is based on core mechanical engineering skills, adding important elements from mechatronics, commerce, economics and business management.
For example, a modern factory would consult or employ a manufacturing engineer. Not only does the factory need to produce a product, it also needs to produce it efficiently and be able to meet the demand for the product, and do so at the right cost, quality and delivery timeframe.
Manufacturing engineers are trained to see the ‘big picture’ as well as ‘the specific details’.
Manufacturing Engineering is probably the most flexible and marketable of all the engineering disciplines. Many engineers that originally studied other engineering disciplines will end up practicing as Manufacturing Engineers.
Find out more about studying Manufacturing Engineering at the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at UNSW.
Note: Manufacturing engineering is equivalent to ‘Industrial Engineering’ in the USA and EU.