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  • Should a Mechanical Design Engineer know everything about everything?

    Discussion in 'The main mechanical design forum' started by Archimedes, Apr 26, 2012.

    1. vic.blackall

      vic.blackall Well-Known Member

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      [h=2]"Should a Mechanical Design Engineer know everything about everything?" ......No but a good designer will know what he doesn't know and where to find it.[/h]
       
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    3. combustioneer

      combustioneer Member

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      This depends on your position in the company. From my first position after college I have always been the lead engineer or THE engineer. Luckily I had 13 years of field experience on electro-mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems before I went to college. In my situation I have always been the goto guy for information. In those situations where I couldn't pull the rabbit out of my hat, I would act as the teacher/mentor, going to the shelf and retrieving the book that had the information, handing it to the accolite along with some scholarly advice on where to look in the engineering tome they are holding in their hand. The fact that I knew which book they needed and had it on the shelf was enough.

      Non engineers will never understand why it is not all in your head readily available. They will also will always expect projects to take no longer to complete than they took to quote.

      What it comes down to is that no one can be an expert on everything, but you can be surprisingly knowledgeable about almost everything. I now own and operate an industrial machine design and contracting company. I am still the chief engineer of everything from PLC programming to combustion control piping and structural steel walls and roofs for industrial furnaces.

      Because I continue to work in all those areas I am able to retain the information I have absorbed on each project. That's what I love about this industry. I use on a regular basis every tool I received during my college education.

      The engineering toolbox is a good place for information or a good portal to the right place on the internet. The ASME library is also a decent starting point if you are a member.
       
    4. VentureTech

      VentureTech New Member

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      This depends on yourself somewhat, you can always ask for outside expert opinions. I took the opportunity to keep expanding my knowledge and application base in a growing group or my own companies, mostly sponsored by the employer. Some engineers grow into marketing, six sigma and switch their careers into finance, I kept going deeper and wider in mechanical, and you're right, it seems endless.

      Smaller companies need people with broader skill sets, larger companies add resources and grow groups. Even if you're not an expert in all facets you can still make a better risk assesment in my opinion.

      What I find dangerous is hobby mechanical engineers with day jobs in other disciplines making decisions for mass production products, watch out and push back in a political correct way.
       
    5. Archimedes

      Archimedes Active Member

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      I suppose it depends on the size of your department or company. If you are the sole engineer in the company then I guess by default you will be expected to answer any engineering based question regardless if relevant to your day to day tasks or not. If it’s a larger company then it is more likely that there would be an engineer with some experience in that field that you could go to for help.

      One thing that other departments in business (sales, accounts, purchasing, HR etc) don’t seem to grasp is the size of the topic that is ‘engineering’ and in their job roles they appear to carry out what seem to be identical tasks day in day out and can’t understand why anything would be different or difficult. Or maybe I am as naive about their jobs as they are of mine.
       
    6. brads

      brads Active Member

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      I see this all the time.

      If you work in a Technical department you are expected to know everything. If you work in a company that designs escalators you will still get asked why the printer has stopped working or why the car park barrier is making weird noises.

      These little projects can be fun, but I do agree that there is often a very condescending look from people when you can’t fix their car for them and say take it to a mechanic with their reply being ‘but you’re a mechanical engineer?’
       
    7. Travis W

      Travis W Member

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      I ams suprised that internal knowledge capture was never mentioned as a source for info. Nor were internal bulletin boards. Am I the only big box employee reading this? In a small company these answers make sense, but for big box companies not so much.
       
    8. Cragyon

      Cragyon New Member

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      Nobody knows or will ever know everything
       
    9. andrew_neil

      andrew_neil Active Member

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      I don't think that every mechanical designer can know everything about their trade.It needs time to be an expert.
       
    10. s.weinberg

      s.weinberg Well-Known Member EngineeringClicks Expert

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      No one can know everything, but a good engineer should probably know how to figure out what they need to know, and who to ask, or where to look, to find out.

      The resources we have to learn stuff nowadays are unparalleled in the history of engineering.
       
    11. Gary152

      Gary152 Member

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      In my opinion, it is classified in 2 type of engineer: generalist and specialist in general, generalist is the person who can connect things and people, and should have the overall knowledge of everything as much as possible to propose a way to inspire people to follow, usually generalist manages people who are specialized in their strongest domain so called the specialist, they are the expert in their domain and are the reference contact points where people looking at for advices for a specific matter. The existing of MDF is to connect everyone of 2 types above I think.
       

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