Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the design, production, and operation of machines and tools. It is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines.
The engineering field requires an understanding of core concepts including mechanics, kinematics, thermodynamics, materials science, and structural analysis. Mechanical engineers use these core principles along with tools like computer-aided engineering and product lifecycle management to design and analyze manufacturing plants, industrial equipment and machinery, heating and cooling systems, transport systems, aircraft, watercraft, robotics, medical devices and more.
Mechanical Engineering science emerged in the 19th century as a result of developments in the field of physics. The field has continually evolved to incorporate advancements in technology. Mechanical engineers today are pursuing developments in fields such as composites, mechatronics and nano technology. Mechanical Engineering overlaps with aerospace engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, petroleum engineering and chemical engineering to varying amounts.
Mechanical Engineering Functions
Four functions of the mechanical engineer, common to all branches of mechanical engineering, can be cited. The first is the understanding of and dealing with the bases of mechanical science. These include dynamics, concerning the relation between forces and motion, such as in vibration; automatic control; thermodynamics, dealing with the relations among the various forms of heat, energy, and power; fluid flow; heat transfer; lubrication; and properties of materials.
Second is the sequence of research, design, and development. This function attempts to bring about the changes necessary to meet present and future needs. Such work requires a clear understanding of mechanical science, an ability to analyze a complex system into its basic factors, and the originality to synthesize and invent.
Third is production of products and power, which embraces planning, operation, and maintenance. The goal is to produce the maximum value with the minimum investment and cost while maintaining or enhancing longer term viability and reputation of the enterprise or the institution.
Fourth is the coordinating function of the mechanical engineer, including management, consulting, and, in some cases, marketing.
In these functions there is a long continuing trend toward the use of scientific instead of traditional or intuitive methods. Operations research, value engineering, and PABLA (problem analysis by logical approach) are typical titles of such rationalized approaches. Creativity, however, cannot be rationalized. The ability to take the important and unexpected step that opens up new solutions remains in mechanical engineering, as elsewhere, largely a personal and spontaneous characteristic.
Mechanical Engineers are required in all manufacturing facilities. The working criteria of a mechanical engineer changes according to the type and domain of the company they are working with and the area of specialization. In a broader sense it can be said that mechanical engineer works on design and control of a system that goes into the process of manufacturing the machinery and product. He tests new systems for feasibility and efficiency and carries out quality management and improvement process.
There is tremendous scope for mechanical engineers in automobile engineering, cement industry, steel, power sector, hydraulics, manufacturing plants, drilling and mining industry, petroleum, aeronautical, biotechnology and many more. Nowadays they are also increasingly needed in the environmental and bio-medical fields.
A beginner in Mechanical Engineering can opt for various job openings such as: Maintenance Engineer, safety Engineer, Quality Assurance, CNC Programmer, Jr. Engineer, Design Engineer, CAD/CAM Trainer, Production Supervisor/Engineer, R&D Trainee etc.