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What is a Manufacturing Engineer?

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Manufacturing Engineers are the individuals responsible for development, design, implementation and monitoring of equipment, tools and machinery used in the manufacturing process.

Their primary goal is to create the stages of a manufacturing system that ultimately produces a product in the most time-efficient and cost-effective way possible, while always maintaining staff safety and product quality.

What is Manufacturing Engineering?

Manufacturing engineering is essentially concerned with finding and using the equipment needed to turn raw materials into a finished product in the most efficient way possible. Within pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing, this also involves strict adherence to both internal quality protocols and external industry regulations.

Manufacturing engineering will typically focus on optimising each individual stage of the manufacturing process in turn. However, while daily tasks might be focused on a specific stage of the manufacturing process, manufacturing engineers will always work with the larger manufacturing system in mind. They are involved at all stages of the manufacturing process.

What Does a Manufacturing Engineer do?

A manufacturing engineer is essentially responsible for ensuring that manufacturing is carried out (and end product is produced) in the most time-efficient and cost-effective way while still maintaining overall product quality. This is particularly important in pharmaceutical or medical device manufacture where there are strict quality protocols that must be followed and standards that must be met.

In new facilities or production set-ups, they might be involved in establishment of systems and determining the best process of manufacture. Within existing manufacturing set-ups, they are more likely to work in monitoring of equipment and identifying opportunities for improvements to increase productivity while maintaining product quality. At all times, the safety of staff and maintaining the quality of the final product, are leading considerations.

Exact tasks will vary greatly between roles depending on the final product of manufacturing, but examples of tasks include:

  • Conceptual design of new tools or equipment
  • Analysis of a necessary manufacturing processes to determine the most effective equipment
  • Installation of new equipment
  • Optimisation of machine and equipment use through ongoing analysis and identification of inefficiencies within the system
  • General oversight and monitoring of machinery – including project coordination for maintenance, upgrades and repair when needed
  • Working with manufacturing staff to train on new equipment or optimisation processes
  • Writing equipment manuals
  • Supervision of junior manufacturing staff
  • Help with troubleshooting of problems within the manufacturing process
  • May have budgetary responsibilities

To be a great manufacturing engineer, it is also important to keep up to date with new technologies and improvements in the field.

Becoming a Manufacturing Engineer

Manufacturing engineers will typically have a Bachelors degree in engineering. Many will start with a mechanical engineering degree but other areas of specialisation (such as electrical, chemical or production) may also be useful.

The skills needed to be an effective manufacturing engineer in this field include:

  • Analytical Skills – need to be able to identify areas of low efficiency and work to provide improvements
  • Communication Skills – will work with manufacturing employees at all levels and need to be able to effectively explain the relevant points of equipment to each. Also needed for successful project management.
  • Technical Skills – must be able to work with different technology to provide a solution that produces the required result in the most efficient way possible
  • Commercial Awareness – must keep the “bigger picture” in mind at all times when considering each step of the manufacturing process
  • Problem Solving Skills – have to take a concept of a process and establish the equipment needed to make it happen
  • Organisational Abilities – should be able to prioritise tasks, set schedules and work between different projects to achieve overall business goals

Switch to Manufacturing Engineering in the Pharmaceutical Industry

If you have experience as a Manufacturing Engineer and want to move into the pharmaceutical or medical device industries, consider our 30 week conversion certificate course – eBioPharmaChem.

For a list of currently available pharmaceutical Manufacturing Engineering roles, head over to our jobs boards and select Engineering in the “Jobs by Category” menu. We currently have jobs boards for Ireland, the UK, and Philadelphia, USA.

What is the Salary of a Manufacturing Engineer?

For an idea of average manufacturing engineering salaries in your location, check out our Salaries Page.

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