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Engineering, Technologies & Research
Kings Grant, United States
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Engineering Involved in the Manufacturing Processes

Manufacturing engineering is primarily a branch of mechanical engineering, but is also influenced by electrical engineering, industrial engineering, and computer engineering. Today’s manufacturing systems include complex automation processes to increase throughput and quality.

Branches of Manufacturing Engineering

While the discipline of manufacturing engineering can cover a wide area, and many engineers have specific specialties in their industries, some of the major branches of manufacturing engineering include:

  • Metal Fabrication – Metal fabrication includes processes such as metal forming, including casting and forging; welding, machining methods, sheet metal fabrication processes, and other operations to produce metal parts.
  • Plastic and Composite Fabrication – This branch includes materials research and development, as well as production processes for plastic and composite products. Specific operations could include braided composite parts, plastic injection molding, and extrusion processes.
  • Product and Process Design – Design activities include developing design processes for creating parts and products in an efficient manner that meets quality requirements. Specific areas can include computer aided manufacturing and operations research. For example, manufacturing silicone rubber molded products using compression molding is a process in this area.
  • Automation and Assembly – Automation is at the heart of nearly any industrial manufacturing facility. This branch includes creating automated production, assembly, and inspection processes to increase production throughput and maintain quality.
  • Inspection and Quality Control - Maintaining quality while minimizing costs is an important part of manufacturing. Inspection can be as simple as a person looking at a part, or a high speed video-based automated inspection system.

Manufacturing Engineering Education

Some engineering schools may have separate manufacturing engineering degrees and departments, while others may include manufacturing engineering as a study area within mechanical engineering. Students who are looking to become manufacturing engineers generally start their education with a strong base in mathematics and physics, and may potentially have some computer science courses.

Mid-level courses may include materials, robotic systems, logic systems, and kinematics. Advanced courses may include: high level control courses, design for manufacturing, production planning, mechatronics, and advanced materials courses.

Manufacturing Engineering Professional SocietiesThe Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is the primary professional society for manufacturing engineers, with members in over 70 countries. Other societies exist that focus on specific industries, such as the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE).

Larger organizations such as the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME) have divisions dedicated to manufacturing engineering as it relates to mechanical engineering as a whole. All of these societies have student chapters at most engineering schools.