What Is Mechanical Engineering?
Hubbard Mechanical is an in-demand career that spans a variety of industrial settings. Mechanical engineers create devices that simplify and improve our lives, from manufacturing machines to engines to blood pressure monitors that store and transmit readings.
The word mechanical means anything related to machinery or tools. It also describes physical forces that occur on a macro scale, like turbines turning at nuclear power plants or the kinetic energy of roller coasters.
Whether creating an entirely new product or machine or tweaking existing technology, mechanical design turns a concept into a physical reality. It involves considering all aspects of form and function and the underlying math needed to ensure a product will work properly and be manufactured cost-effectively.
Mechanical design also requires a deep understanding of manufacturing processes. The most mind-blowing CAD model in the world will only be of use if it can be produced on the manufacturing line. This is why mechanical engineers often collaborate with manufacturing technicians early in the design process to discuss potential issues or limitations and how to overcome them.
Another key factor to consider is safety. Regardless of how well the machine works, operating and complying with all relevant safety standards must be safe. In addition, if a part of the machinery breaks, it should be easy to disassemble for quick repair or replacement.
Once a final design has been agreed upon, prototypes must be created and tested under various stresses. This can be done using specialized mechanical design CAD software, allowing designers to simulate real-world conditions and predict how the machinery will behave.
The resulting data from this testing phase can then refine the initial designs. For example, if the prototypes fail to meet strength requirements, additional calculations can be made to improve them. This can be done by incorporating new materials or altering the shape of parts and components.
The result of the design and analysis process is a machine that can do the job it’s designed for safely and reliably. This is why mechanical engineers are so valuable in the military and commercial industries and why they’re at the forefront of all manufacturing industries. Like the best athletes in their fields, mechanical engineers spend years training and perfecting their craft to produce better results than their competitors. This dedication to excellence makes them some of the most sought-after people on the planet.
Mechanical testing is a series of standard tests that determine the physical properties of materials and ensure they are suitable for specific applications. This testing is critical for any product manufacturer, especially in the healthcare and consumer goods industries. Performing these tests allows companies to meet regulatory standards and gain necessary certifications.
There are many mechanical tests, but most involve applying stresses to material specimens to determine their corresponding physical properties. For example, tensile testing is commonly used to determine a material’s strength. It consists of clamping the material in a standard form, such as a dog bone shape or sheet, and elongating it to measure its capacity to resist the applied load. This measurement is then compared to a standard to find the material’s tensile strength. The results from this and other mechanical tests can be used to design components and structures that will withstand certain loads and conditions.
In addition to evaluating a material’s strength, other mechanical tests can assess its flexibility, toughness, and hardness. These can be determined through various tests, including but not limited to a Charpy V-notch test, an Izod test, a bend (ductility) test, and a Vickers or Brinell hardness test.
These tests are important to perform before putting any material into mass production. They can help identify a material unsuited for its intended application and prevent costly mistakes during production. Furthermore, they can provide valuable information for developing maintenance programs and predicting a component’s service life.
Finally, mechanical testing can help to mitigate risk and liability. Failure of a manufactured product can have devastating consequences, including loss of life and massive financial implications. Conducting quality checks with the right mechanical equipment can prevent these issues and ensure that a product will function properly when it is in use.
Mechanical tests are a crucial part of any manufacturing process and can be conducted in-house or by external laboratories. Depending on the industry, manufacturers may need to adhere to strict regulations regarding the safety of their products and the environmental conditions in which they operate. These requirements are typically indicated on the drawings of the parts, and it is normally the manufacturer’s responsibility to carry out the required tests.
Mechanical maintenance involves keeping the machinery and equipment of a facility functional through regular inspections, repair work, and replacement of worn or broken parts. This can be done reactively, as with repairing a machine after a breakdown, or proactively, through preventive maintenance and equipment monitoring. Depending on the type of machinery, the mechanical maintenance team can include engineers or technicians.
A mechanical maintenance engineer will typically have an engineering degree in a subject such as electrical or mechanical engineering or may be qualified through experience or a trade school certificate program. The job’s specifics depend on the employer and may involve working with complex machinery in potentially dangerous environments. A mechanical engineer will have the skills to identify issues and troubleshoot problems. In contrast, a technician will have more hands-on experience with mechanical equipment and can disassemble machines for more in-depth diagnostics.
Mechanics are often responsible for the daily maintenance of heavy machinery and equipment in factories and production plants. This includes routine cleaning and lubrication of equipment, repairing or replacing worn or damaged parts, and testing electrical systems for safety. Mechanics may also be called upon to perform emergency repairs and troubleshooting in case of breakdowns.
The mechanics are often skilled at disassembling equipment and repairing or replacing broken parts. They can also be creative in their problem-solving abilities if an issue arises and they need help fixing it. This might involve a bit of improvisation, such as “jerry-rigging” something to get the machine back in operation (think MacGyver). The mechanical maintenance technician will also use computer systems to keep track of the work they have done and any problems encountered so that they can reference this information when necessary.
In addition to repairing and maintaining equipment, mechanical maintenance workers are often involved in installing new machinery and equipment for facilities or construction projects. This can be anything from installing conveyor systems to welding and machining equipment. These workers will also have a basic understanding of manufacturing processes and quality control standards.
The mechanical equipment procurement and supply chain management process is complex. It requires a strategic approach and the latest technology to streamline it. It also involves a close relationship with suppliers, which helps enterprises identify cost savings opportunities and ensure the quality and reliability of products over the long term.
Unlike the buying roles in other departments, the role of a mechanical buyer is highly specialized and requires a strong educational and experiential background. This includes a degree in finance and familiarity with industry production standards. Additionally, a mechanical buyer must understand technical blueprints and drawings. The main duties of this position center on purchasing materials and supplies that meet company production requirements at the best possible price.
As a procurement specialist, you must be able to negotiate with suppliers and find ways to get the best prices on parts. You may also work closely with engineers and department managers to develop proposals for purchasing equipment that fit the company’s budget. You must be able to read engineering blueprints and production plans specific to your industry and communicate with engineers. Manufacturing leads about the specifications of each product you are procuring.
Purchasing laboratory equipment and other equipment is a vital part of any mechanical project. Many projects involve expensive equipment that needs to be bought and sourced from various companies. To help make the procurement process faster and simpler, the University has a cooperative purchasing agreement with the National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NCPA).
By using the NCPA contract, Rowan can bypass the lengthy bid and award process that would otherwise take up valuable time, resources, and money. This allows us to purchase from the awarded vendors at competitively low prices. Whether or not you use the NCPA contract, the Mechanical Engineering Department encourages you to shop around for the most reasonable prices. Before purchasing, you should check with other academic institutions, local industrial companies, and online retailers to compare their prices.