A Mechanical Engineer’s objectives include investigating, designing, and developing different machinery and systems that can have various functionalities (e.g. heating, ventilating, and air conditioning, power generation, transportation, processing, and manufacturing). These professionals may also carry out other duties, such as evaluating, installing, operating, and maintaining the aforementioned mechanical systems. Mechanical Engineers tend to work mainly for consulting firms and power-generating companies, as well as in different industries (e.g. manufacturing, processing, and transportation industries).
Mechanical Engineering can be defined as the study of three very important elements: motion, energy, and force. Mechanical Engineers strive to control these elements by using a combination of material, human, and economic resources to develop mechanical solutions in order to satisfy the needs and desires of society.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Mechanical Engineer are required to complete.
- Conducting the appropriate investigation in regards to the feasibility, design, operation, and performance of the different mechanisms, components, and systems.
- Designing and fabricating power-producing machines (e.g. electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines), power-using machines (e.g. refrigeration and air-conditioning systems), and other machines (e.g. appliances, elevators, escalators, conveyor systems, and automated transfer stations), components, tools, fixtures, and equipment:
- Analyzing the dynamics and vibrations of mechanical systems and structures;
- using computer-aided design (CAD) software to create and analyze designs, run simulations, and test how a machine is likely to work, as well as to generate specifications for parts;
- preparing conceptual and detailed design calculations, layouts, sketches, specifications which comply with thorough Engineering practices and standards;
- developing and testing prototypes of the devices they design;
- detecting and solving mechanical failures or maintenance issues that may arise, making the appropriate design changes; and
- deciding the size, material, and shape of every part of the machine or mechanical device.
- Planning and managing projects:
- Preparing materials, costs, and timing estimates, as well as plans, reports, design requirements, design manuals, technical specifications, technical notes, and customer proposals;
- preparing contracts and evaluating estimates for industrial construction or maintenance;
- performing site surveys and field reviews and preparing reports in order to document new and existing construction conditions;
- designing and building the required machines;
- overseeing the process of mechanical systems while being installed, modified, and commissioned at construction sites or in industrial facilities;
- developing maintenance standards, schedules, and programs, as well as providing guidance to industrial maintenance crews;
- following up on any project issues; and
- monitoring and controlling project progress and costs against the established schedule and budget.
- Providing mechanical Engineering design and analysis for industrial plants:
- Providing expert advice in piping design, pressure vessels selection and sizing, heat exchangers selection and sizing, and offering assessment/design/specifications of HVAC equipment and components;
- performing detailed calculations for pipe sizing, pump sizing, and heat transfer; and
- specifying and designing pipe supports.
- Managing the operations of a large system, such as a manufacturing facility or a power plant.
- Conducting the necessary research to come up with new ideas and solutions, or improving older ones, that could be able to satisfy the demands of the current society.
- Supervising and working with Technicians, Technologists, and other Engineers.
- Following and ensuring compliance with the Canadian National Building Code (NBC), plumbing and gas code, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes, and industry practices, regulations, standards, and other applicable codes.
- Designing, redesigning, and fabricating power-producing machines.
- Conducting the necessary research to come up with new ideas and solutions, or to improve older ones.
- Making the necessary changes to the design after analyzing the prototype results.
- Overseeing the process of mechanical systems while being manufactured and installed.
- Supervising and working alongside a multidisciplinary team of professionals.
The average Mechanical Engineer salary is $64,730 per year or $33 per hour. This is around 2 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $45,000 while most experienced workers make up to $91,000. These results are based on 372 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding creativity to design and build complex pieces.
- Excellent interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills:
- Communicating clearly, both verbally and in writing, in order to create a clear and communicative environment with coworkers and clients;
- being able to read and write technical reports; and
- being able to work cohesively as part of a multidisciplinary team.
- Mathematical and mechanical skills:
- Using the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced math topics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting; and
- applying basic Engineering concepts and mechanical processes to the design of new devices.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills:
- Identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner using critical thinking and good judgment; and
- being precise and accurate in their calculations and analyses.
- Organizational and time management skills and great attention to detail:
- Avoiding disorganization in the workplace that can lead to legal problems, damage to equipment, and accidents;
- being able to work independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced environment;
- handling various projects with aggressive deadlines; and
- being able to prioritize tasks and responsibilities accordingly.
Most Mechanical Engineer positions require an undergraduate degree (BEng) in Mechanical Engineering or other related Engineering disciplines, such as Aeronautical or Manufacturing Engineering. Candidates with relevant postgraduate degrees, such as masters or Ph.D.’s, tend to have the advantage over other candidates when applying for a job in the area. Employers usually ask for 3 to 5 years of related Engineering experience.
All candidates applying for a job as a Mechanical Engineer must be proficient in MS Office and CAD software, especially AutoCAD, as well as being a registered professional in their corresponding province. Only licensed Engineers can practice this career in Canada. The provincial and territorial regulatory bodies for all Engineering careers in this country are the ones associated to Engineers Canada and they are in charge of regulating the profession and licensing professional Engineers in Canada.
Furthermore, Mechanical Engineers must demonstrate an understanding of quality standards relative to mechanical system analysis and have technical familiarity with calculation software and design methodologies, codes, and standards.
Generally, Mechanical Engineers work around 8 to 10 hours a day. However, when project deadlines are approaching or if they’re doing field-based work, they may be required to work additional hours on weekends and national holidays.