Auto assembly line in 1940s

The assembly line, 1913 – Turned a craft-based economy into a mass-market one

Manufacturing Engineering – technology related to manufacturing between industry, universities and research laboratories. Manufacturing engineering specializations include

  • Materials Handling – application of technological advancements through mechanical engineering, systems engineering and information technology.
  • Plant Engineering & Maintenance – design, fabrication, installation, operation and maintenance of manufacturing systems, equipment, processes and facilities to create products of enhanced value.
  • Process Industries – design of systems and machines for heating, cooling or treating industrial fluids and gases, including the efficient management and control of the processes themselves.
  • Nondestructive Evaluation – evaluation of critical system components for material/defect/structure characterization through nondestructive methods, such as ultrasonics, radiography and other techniques.
  • Pressure Vessels and Piping – technology of pressure boundary containment.

Meet a Manufacturing engineer

  • Lisa finds new and better ways to run a biomedical company that manufactures surgical instruments.
  • Joenel Johnson, Senior Manufacturing Engineer – video – ”It’s great to know you had a hand in a satellite people depend on every day.”
  • I regard engineering as implementing new technologies – making them useful if you will. My job involved taking advanced technical/technology concepts (usually from a research or advanced technology laboratory) and then to figure out how to reduce them to practice, release them to manufacturing and then help manufacturing to improve them. In today’s electronics world, engineers have to devise a manufacturing line (and tools) to make things in the billions of parts a year. Today tools can place devices (IC’s, capacitors, resistors, etc.) on a circuit board at rates approaching 200,000 parts per minute with a tolerance of +/- 0.001 inches (tool design and development). Today’s semiconductor factories are about 1,000,000 times cleaner than a hospital operating room (facilities engineering). –R. Gedney, Manufacturing Engineer

Materials courses – How do you choose what material to make a product? Metal, many types and strengths, steel vs. aluminum, plastic, casting/forging, etc. You can look at products or components of products and ask why this material and not another.

Manufacturing courses – making parts on mills, lathes, drills, etc and measuring to specific tolerances, advanced manufacturing techniques (more book and less practical) but necessary depending on the product to be made, i.e. extrusions, forgings and castings, powder coating, etc.

Drawing courses – early basic course that all engineers use to be able to read and interpret drawings

Math courses, trigonometry and calculus – foundation for strengths of materials, mechanical design and movement of bodies, Thermodynamics.

Manufacturing satellite systems
Manufacturing engineers (2:55) – There are approximately 3000 satellites operating in Earth’s orbit out of roughly 8000 man-made objects in total. Many of these were manufactured by Loral Space Systems. Manufacturing engineers working in the aerospace field conduct research, build and design parts, and develop hardware for the manufacturing of satellite systems. Everyday, manufacturing engineers use the [/Engineering%20Design%20Process Engineering Design Process] to work with people and equipment.

  • Ask – Loral Space Systems manufacture commercial satellites. Joenel Johnson is a Senior Manufacturing Engineer. One part of his job is to ensure that technicians have everything that they need to do their jobs and produce the products on schedule. What are some of the specific things that Joenel does every day?
  • Imagine – Some of the work follows diagrams and plans provided by the design engineers. Production efficiency is important to the company. How does Loral determine manufacturing efficiency?
  • Plan, Create – Joenel helps the technicians understand the plans that the design engineers have prepared. How did Joenel prepare to do this job? Sometimes Joenel has to write emails and documents for other engineers and managers. He says a lot of his work relies on good communications skills.
  • Improve– Working for Loral, manufacturing commercial satellites requires new materials, processes and people who understand these improvements and make use of new technologies. How has Joenel improved his ability to work as a Manufacturing Engineer?

That’s engineering

  • poka-yoke – any mechanism or process that prevents mistakes or defects. Poke Yoke Error-Proofing comes from Poka-yoke, a Japanese term that means to make fail-safe or mistake proof.

Engineering ideas

  • analytical and critical thinking skills, troubleshooting, business management, mathematics, verbal and written communication, collaboration.

Do it
Here are some challenges for you to work on…

  • explore the field of manufacturing engineering. Find examples of different types of manufacturing based on size of product, number of units produced, types of materials, complexity of process, use of people and machines,…
  • packaging products is as important as making the product inside. Solve the “Ball Box” problem

Learn more…

  • Manufacturing – How are designs turned into products? What resources, materials and methods used and what set of activities that goes under the heading of ‘manufacturing’? Manufacturing as a system and different ways of making products. How the required properties of the materials in a product influence the choice of manufacturing process used.
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – Manufacturing – Providing technical support to the nation’s manufacturing industries as they strive to out-innovate and outperform the international competition has always been one of NIST’s top priorities.