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The Institution of Engineers of Ireland
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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.