Strictly speaking, the history of engineering begins with the invention of the wheel.
Later, other fundamental inventions like the pulley and the lever were used to spur innovation – in agriculture (the bullock cart and the water wheel), warfare (forging swords, building the catapult and cannons) and construction (pyramids in Egypt and other ancient wonders).
Today, mechanical engineering applications are vast, ranging from automotive engineering to aerospace engineering, materials engineering and industrial engineering.
But is the old adage that mechanical engineering is the âmother of all branches of engineeringâ still true in the digital age? What could a mechanical engineer possibly bring to IT companies or the biomedical sector, for example?
Here are some areas where mechanical engineering continues to be relevant.
Biomedical and pharmaceutical industry: Most of the advanced technologies used in the pharmaceutical industry are developed with the participation of mechanical engineers, especially those with knowledge of design and manufacture.
Even a company that makes something basic, like disposable syringes, needs a machine that molds medical-grade plastic into a syringe.
Regular maintenance of these machines also requires the skills of a mechanical engineer.
Aeronautics: Components of aeronautics involve the study of subjects such as materials science, manufacturing processes, thermal engineering, fluid mechanics, and design engineering, which are basic mechanical skills.
Even here, mechanical engineers play an important role in the maintenance of the aircraft. They analyze data from sensors and other devices, which helps the aircraft’s maintenance team make decisions about repair and replacement of parts.
Food industry: The food industry has experienced a strong evolution towards automation, which has taken place behind machines.
It starts with the manufacturing of the food processing machines used and involves other topics such as automation, robotics, the manufacturing process, mechatronics (sensor technology) and non-destructive testing that is used in the process. Manufacturing.
Automobile industry: The role of mechanical engineers is important in this area. Basic knowledge of mechanical engineering is required to design and manufacture every part of the automobile.
These could include topics ranging from metal casting and welding, machining, thermodynamics (thermal engineering), engineering economics, design engineering and even mechatronics. . In some cases, learning the software also involves familiarity with the subjects that a mechanical engineering student takes up.
In India, there are many reputable institutes offering MTech, MS and PG degrees in specializations such as industrial engineering, machine design, robotics, industrial design, product design and manufacture, artificial intelligence, manufacturing engineering and mechatronics, which
Courses in topics such as operations research, operations management, and organizational behavior could also help mechanical engineering students.
Abroad, there are many opportunities for mechanical engineers in the field of industrial engineering (USA), which is at the forefront of industrial engineering, including process optimization and supply chain management. .
Germany, with its advanced design and production of automobiles, is also a natural destination for mechanical engineers.
The employment opportunities for mechanical engineers are vast as the branch, including sub-branches like
Manufacturing (automobiles, aircraft parts, products related to household applications, electronic devices, foundries, steelworks).
Design (automobiles and auto parts, aircraft parts, machinery, structures, etc.)
Thermal engineering (boilers, power plants, automotive sector, aerospace sector, etc.)
IT companies (business analyst, programmer, tester, management activities, etc.)
Defense services offer good career prospects for mechanical engineers, as does the merchant navy.
If the graduate is innovative and has leadership qualities, then you can create your own startup. There are also opportunities to take on jobs related to research activities, such as a junior researcher in leading institutes.
Mechanical engineering is an evergreen branch despite some declines in the recent past, the number of students opting for this field has remained constant over the past decades.
This is a testament to the flexibility offered to mechanical engineering students.
(The author is an assistant professor in an engineering school in Belagavi)