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How 2020 Has Changed Mechanical Engineering

  • 2020 has been a tough year for everyone
  • Mechanical engineering has improved in a number of ways
  • Working from home has become widespread
  • Collaboration among rivals has commenced
  • The speed with which projects can be completed under the right conditions, has become apparent

2020, what a year! We think it is safe to say that it has been a very different year for everyone on planet Earth. Pretty much every aspect of our daily lives have been affected by the virus that has been terrorizing the world, but we are here to focus on the positives! This year has absolutely changed mechanical engineering, and the way the mechanical engineers operate, and even think!

We are going to end this year looking back on the positive things that 2020 has brought to mechanical engineering, we hope you will join us and here’s to 2021! These are the main changes that 2020 has brought to mechanical engineering:

Working from Home

There’s no getting away from it, the biggest change in all mechanical engineers day-to-day lives in 2020 was the fact that we all had to work from home. In previous years, it was thought that mechanical engineers can’t work from home, it was just not possible! However, there are aspects of engineering that can now be done from home as technology has progressed. Paperwork is the easiest task to carry out as programs like Microsoft Word and Excel are readily available.

The biggest challenge is design work. Remote capabilities have allowed engineers to be productive at home where they use powerful workstations, and anything that is portable and could be removed from offices was. We have seen a major shift in mechanical engineering, where work that was one thought impossible to carry out from home, was now being completed from home offices, living and sitting rooms all over the world.

18% of workers have stated in a Professional Engineering survey that they have found no impact on their ability to work from home, one can only imagine that number will rise as people become more accustomed to working from home. Some engineering companies plan to keep some people remote working after the current world situation is over, which shows the faith that major companies are showing in remote working!

Mechanical engineering is sometimes referred to as outdated due to its old-school techniques and the need for in-person collaboration. 2020 has shown that mechanical engineers can work from home, be productive and still be as efficient in their job as when they were in the office 100% of the time.

female mechanical engineer working from home
Source: Pexels

Collaboration

Speaking of collaboration, the last year has seen companies collaborating that have been seen as rivals in the past. As demands for certain products sky-rocketed in early 2020, the response of mechanical engineers was immediate. The manufacturing of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), the building of ventilators and new hospital facilities, companies that have never communicated before came together to help with a problem that was affecting everyone. It was inspiring!

Profit margins were a thing of the past, they were looked past and the ultimate goal was made a priority. New connections that have been made while the pandemic was rampant, will absolutely carry over into the post-pandemic world and will allow the mechanical engineering industry to flourish. The collaborative and supportive nature of the work that has been carried out in the last year has changed engineering networks for the better, and we can’t see this changing one the pandemic is over.

Speed

The need for speed was in full effect this year. With the speed that the pandemic spread around the world, the engineering response needed to be as fast if not faster. Prototypes and models were created in days and full, working devices were up and running in just weeks. The pandemic regulations that have been in effect will not be as relaxed in the year to come, but this efficiency just shows how mechanical engineering can work.

This efficiency that we have seen regarding the pandemic was astounding. Hopefully in the next few months when we start the recovery process, this speed can be applied to other fields that need rapid ingenuity and advancements to help solve major issues, i.e. climate change. It has been said that at the beginning of the pandemic that engineers achieved two and a half years worth of work… in four to five weeks! Why not remove some barriers (like they were for the pandemic) and let’s attack other huge worldwide problems.

2020 can hopefully inspire us to believe that we overcome any hurdle that faces us, just with a bit of teamwork and efficiency!

Future of Mechanical Engineers

If you are worried about the future of mechanical engineers, we think that 2020 has shown that mechanical engineers can overcome any challenge that is presented to them. They have shown in 2020 that they can work from home, work with professionals completely outside of their network (even rivals!), and work on important projects with speed and efficiency. Mechanical engineers will always come out on top!

Mechanical engineering is a classic stream of engineering and there will always be demand for the classics. Some might say that the shift it has taken this year towards technology was a necessary one, and we would be inclined to agree with that. If you can take one thing away from 2020, be assured in your knowledge that due to the tumultuous year that has passed, mechanical engineering is now on the path to becoming future-proof, and some of the major issues that we face in today’s society will be focused on. Future lives will be saved, and the Earth will benefit from this progression.

So even though it has been a tough year, remember that the silver lining for mechanical engineering is there and is there to stay!

What have been the best things to take from the challenges that 2020 has presented to us? Have you been working from home this year? You can let us know of your personal experiences during 2020, we would love to hear them in the comments below. Bring on 2021!

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