Modern manufacturing wouldn’t be possible without manufacturing engineers. While production workers have a strong understanding of the equipment they use on a daily basis, the manufacturing engineers must have a complete, top to bottom understanding of every piece of equipment in a facility, and how all of the parts work together to create one cohesive unit. In many ways, manufacturing engineers are the hub that holds a modern production facility together and keeps it running efficiently. With this in depth knowledge, comes with an abundance of responsibility and challenges in the day to day work of a manufacturing engineer.
Manufacturing engineers must have an incredible breadth of knowledge in order to be successful. Fundamentals of math, physics, engineering and good manufacturing practices are essential, in addition to industry-specific knowledge of the processes being carried out in the workplace. In order to thrive, a manufacturing engineer must constantly be expanding their knowledge base to adapt to changing technologies and industry specific needs.
Manufacturing engineers are inherently adaptive problem solvers. The nature of their skill is to draw from detailed knowledge and experience and apply it to overcome obstacles both big and small. A required understanding of engineering concepts allow them to come up with actionable solutions, often in a time crunch.
So how is one person supposed to keep track of all of this information? And what happens if a machine decides to stop working on a day when the manufacturing engineer is out sick?
As the saying goes, 'Power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it.' This unknown author might not have been directing the quote at manufacturing engineers, but might as well have been. Having and maintaining written procedures, protocols and research can save everyone both time and money when determining why a machine has failed, or analyzing ways in which the manufacturing process can be improved.
Documenting this vital information is not only beneficial to the company as a whole, but also to the manufacturing engineer. Although manufacturing engineers are typically the ones in charge of performing vital studies such as equipment validation and process improvement, it is unrealistic to expect all the knowledge and information they have to be simply retained in their brain. Having detailed records, notes and results from previous studies can help simplify the process and keep everything running smoothly.
As professionals, manufacturing engineers have an incredible scope of responsibilities, and maintaining accurate records and results are an integral part of keeping it all together. Whether repairing equipment, developing a manufacturing plan for a new machine or simply maintaining the safe operation of a production facility, manufacturing engineers make modern manufacturing possible, efficient and profitable.