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Design engineer

Design engineer

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Design Engineer is a general term that covers multiple engineering disciplines including electrical
Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

, mechanical
Mechanical engineering
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...

, industrial design
Industrial design
Industrial design is the use of a combination of applied art and applied science to improve the aesthetics, ergonomics, and usability of a product, but it may also be used to improve the product's marketability and production...

 and civil
Civil engineer
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering; the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.Originally, a...

 engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

, architectural engineers
Architectural engineering
Architectural engineering, also known as building engineering, is the application of engineering principles and technology to building design and construction...

 in the U.S. and building engineers
Building engineering
Education in the field of Building Engineering, better known as Architectural Engineering in the United States, is the study of the integrated application of engineering principles and technology to building design and architecture...

 in the UK.

The design engineer is distinguished from the designer
Designer
A designer is a person who designs. More formally, a designer is an agent that "specifies the structural properties of a design object". In practice, anyone who creates tangible or intangible objects, such as consumer products, processes, laws, games and graphics, is referred to as a...

/drafter by virtue of the fact that a design engineer takes care of the total system as well as inner workings/engineering of a design. While industrial designers may be responsible for the conceptual aesthetic and ergonomic aspects of a design, the design engineer usually works with a team of engineers and designers to develop the conceptual, preliminary and detail design and the most critical parts. He/she may work with industrial design
Industrial design
Industrial design is the use of a combination of applied art and applied science to improve the aesthetics, ergonomics, and usability of a product, but it may also be used to improve the product's marketability and production...

ers and marketing to develop the product concept and specifications, and he/she may direct the design effort from that point. Products are usually designed with input from a number of sources such as marketing, manufacturing, purchasing, tool making
Tool and die maker
Tool and die makers are workers in the manufacturing industry who make jigs, fixtures, dies, molds, machine tools, cutting tools , gauges, and other tools used in manufacturing processes...

 and packaging engineering
Packaging engineering
Packaging engineering, also Package engineering and Packaging Science, is a broad topic ranging from design conceptualization to product placement. All steps along the manufacturing process, and more, must be taken into account in the design of the package for any given product...

. In addition design engineers deal with much more complex technological and scientific systems (aircraft, spacecraft, rockets, trains, ships, dams, bridges, building structures, urban infrastructure, machinery, production systems, propulsion systems, oil, gas, and mining exploration systems, manufacturing processes, military systems, cars, electronics, computers, power generation systems - nuclear, fossil, wind, ocean, and power distribution systems).
In many engineering areas, a distinction is made between the design engineer and the planning engineer in design. Planning engineers are more concerned with designing on a more systems engineering level, and overlaps onto the operational side are often necessary. Design engineers, in contrast, are more concerned with designing a particular new product or system. Analysis
Analysis
Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it. The technique has been applied in the study of mathematics and logic since before Aristotle , though analysis as a formal concept is a relatively recent development.The word is...

 is important for planning engineers, while synthesis is paramount for design engineers.

When the design involves public safety, the design engineer is usually required to be licensed, for example a Professional Engineer
Professional Engineer
Regulation of the engineering profession is established by various jurisdictions of the world to protect the safety, well-being and other interests of the general public, and to define the licensure process through which an engineer becomes authorized to provide professional services to the...

 in the U.S and Canada. There is usually an 'industrial exemption' for design engineers working on project internal to companies and not delivering professional services directly to the public.

Design engineer tasks


They may work in a team along with designers to create the drawings necessary for prototyping and production, or in the case of buildings, for construction
Construction
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...

. However, with the advent of CAD
Computer-aided design
Computer-aided design , also known as computer-aided design and drafting , is the use of computer technology for the process of design and design-documentation. Computer Aided Drafting describes the process of drafting with a computer...

 and solid modeling software (SolidWorks
SolidWorks
SolidWorks is a 3D mechanical CAD program that runs on Microsoft Windows and is being developed by Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp., a subsidiary of Dassault Systèmes, S. A. . SolidWorks is currently used by over 1.3 million engineers and designers at more than 130,000 companies worldwide...

, SpaceClaim
SpaceClaim
SpaceClaim Corporation was founded in 2005 to develop 3D solid modeling software for mechanical engineering. The company launched its first product, SpaceClaim 2007 Professional, in 2007 as a CAD application that uses an approach to solid modeling where design concepts are created by pulling,...

, Solid Edge
Solid Edge
Solid Edge is a 3D CAD parametric feature solid modeling software. It runs on Microsoft Windows and provides solid modeling, assembly modelling and drafting functionality for mechanical engineers...

, Autodesk Inventor
Autodesk Inventor
Autodesk Inventor, developed by U.S.-based software company Autodesk, is 3D mechanical solid modeling design software for creating 3D digital prototypes used in the design, visualization and simulation of products...

, Pro/ENGINEER
Pro/ENGINEER
Creo Elements/Pro, a product formerly known as Pro/ENGINEER is a parametric, integrated 3D CAD/CAM/CAE solution created by Parametric Technology Corporation . It was the first to market with parametric, feature-based, associative solid modeling software...

, NX, CATIA
CATIA
CATIA is a multi-platform CAD/CAM/CAE commercial software suite developed by the French company Dassault Systemes...

, etc., for example) the design engineers may create the drawings themselves.

The next responsibility of many design engineers is prototyping. A model of the product is created and reviewed. Prototypes are usually functional and non-functional. Functional "alpha" prototypes are used for testing and the non-functional are used for form and fit checking. Virtual prototyping
Virtual prototyping
Virtual prototyping is a technique in the process of product development. It involves using computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering software to validate a design before committing to making a physical prototype...

 software like Ansys or Comsol may also be used. This stage is where design flaws are found and corrected, and tooling, manufacturing fixtures, and packaging are developed.

Once the "alpha" prototype is finalized, after many iterations, the next step is the "beta" pre-production prototype. The design engineer, working with a manufacturing engineer
Industrial engineering
Industrial engineering is a branch of engineering dealing with the optimization of complex processes or systems. It is concerned with the development, improvement, implementation and evaluation of integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy, materials, analysis...

 and a quality engineer
Quality control
Quality control, or QC for short, is a process by which entities review the quality of all factors involved in production. This approach places an emphasis on three aspects:...

 reviews an initial run of components and assemblies for design compliance and fabrication/manufacturing methods analysis. This is often determined through statistical process control
Statistical process control
Statistical process control is the application of statistical methods to the monitoring and control of a process to ensure that it operates at its full potential to produce conforming product. Under SPC, a process behaves predictably to produce as much conforming product as possible with the least...

. Variations in the product are correlated to aspects of the process and eliminated. The most common metric used is the process capability index Cpk. A Cpk of 1.0 is considered the baseline acceptance for full production go-ahead.

The design engineer may follow the product and make requested changes and corrections throughout the life of the product. This is referred to as "cradle to grave" engineering.

The design process is an information intensive one and design engineers have been found to spend 56% of their time engaged in various information behaviours, including 14% actively searching for information. Furthermore, in addition to design engineers’ core technical competence, research has also demonstrated the critical nature of their personal attributes, project management skills, and cognitive abilities to success in the role.

See also


  • Architectural engineering
    Architectural engineering
    Architectural engineering, also known as building engineering, is the application of engineering principles and technology to building design and construction...

  • Building engineering
    Building engineering
    Education in the field of Building Engineering, better known as Architectural Engineering in the United States, is the study of the integrated application of engineering principles and technology to building design and architecture...

  • Civil engineering
    Civil engineering
    Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings...

  • Electrical engineering
    Electrical engineering
    Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

  • Industrial engineering
    Industrial engineering
    Industrial engineering is a branch of engineering dealing with the optimization of complex processes or systems. It is concerned with the development, improvement, implementation and evaluation of integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy, materials, analysis...

  • Industrial design engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
    Mechanical engineering
    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...

  • Production engineering
    Production engineering
    Production engineering is a combination of manufacturing technology with management science. A production engineer typically has a wide knowledge of engineering practices and is aware of the management challenges related to production...

  • Tool engineering
  • Product Development

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