Career Focus |
What is a Mechanical Engineer?
A Mechanical Engineer is concerned with the design, planning and development of machines and equipment ranging from jet engines to minute instruments used in medicine and surgery. The Mechanical Engineer is also responsible for organising their means of production. The Mechanical Engineer has been involved with many things we take for granted such as the car, dishwasher, central heating and even the humble paperclip. They design and develop power "producing" machines such as internal combustion engines, steam and gas turbines, jet and rocket engines and power consuming machines like refrigerators, air-conditioning and robots. Today, the Mechanical Engineer responds to the demands for improved, sophisticated product design and engineering. In what areas do Mechanical Engineers work?
In the Manufacturing industry:
* Design and development
* Factory management
* Testing manufactured products
In the private sector:
* Design and management consultancy
* Designing and installing plants
In specialised areas:
* Energy and heating
* Refrigeration and air-conditioning
* Pressure vessels
* Materials engineering
* Analysis and development
The Work of a Mechanical Engineer
Contrary to popular belief, mechanical engineers do not spend their days fixing cars. Instead, they are involved with an amazing variety of tasks dealing with all types of machinery, from the large plant found in a billion euro operation, to the small tools required by a four person outfit. A working definition of what mechanical engineers do might be that they are concerned with the design, development, manufacture, operation and maintenance of machinery and equipment. Mid you, with all these skills, many mechanical engineers are probably quite good at fixing their cars! mechanical engineers apply sophisticated computer based tools and equipment such as Computer Aided Design (CAD), robotics and computer controlled manufacturing systems to aid them in their work to produce better machinery more quickly. Most mechanical engineers work in industry, in the design and manufacture of products and in organising the means of production. In recent years, the overlap between Mechanical and electronic engineering has led to the development of new courses in Manutronics at DIT and Mechatronics at DCU.
Me and My Job |
Adrian McCann, Mechanical Engineer
Adrian has been a Product / Project Engineer with Sennheiser for 4 and a half years. What qualifications did you need to obtain to do your job?
A Degree in Engineering, preferably Mechanical. In addition, design experience was essential, and familiarity with all aspects of launching a new product into the market from concept phase to delivery to customer with technical support. What attracted you to this career?
Mechanical Engineering is extremely broad based and covers such a variety of disciplines. My first choice was architecture, second was electronic engineering and third was mech. Eng. Of which I knew the least about and it seemed very interesting and challenging. As I was offered all three this made the choice more difficult, but I based it on duration of the course, challenging and interesting. Describe a typical day in your job.
We produce consumer and professional headphones in Ireland (the parent company produces microphones and aviation headphones in Germany.) We are continuously launching new products, so I work closely with the design and development team (in Germany) from a design for Manufacture aspect. Therefore, I would go to Germany on a regular basis, ensuring that all aspects of the production processes are considered before the product is prototyped. After this I introduce it into the production plant in Ireland, train people and continuously optimise the processes (this would be for existing and new.) I provide technical support to all the departments; from Customer service,...