In contemporary manufacturing companies, mechanical engineers play a key role in the "realization" of products, working closely with other engineers and specialists in corporate management, finance, marketing and packaging. ME's design products, select materials and processes, and convert them to finished products. They design and manufacture machine toold - literally the machines that make machines and design entire manufacturing processes, aided by the latest technologies in automation and robotics. Finally, the finished products are transported in equipment designed by mechanical engineers. This is the largest area of employment for mechanical engineers, especially when the process and textiel industries are included. A finished product requires the right materials, a viable plant and equipment, and a manufacturing system. This all comes within the purview of mechanical, manufacturing and industrial engineers.

Manufacturing Engineering

About half of all ME's work in companies that manufacture something, such as consumer goods, transportation or industrial equipment. Another 16% work in the process industries, like petrochemical or pharmaceutical. The challenges are as diverse as the products - from miniature devices used by surgeons, to disk drives or massive pieces of industrial equipment. This work calls for a knowledge of materials, manufacturing proceses, thermal processes, controls, electronics, and as in all of engineering - teamwork skills.

Materials Handling Engineering

Materials must be delivered at the right time, place and in the right form - a challenge with the costly, exotic and sometimes hazardous materials used in some industries. Some ME's specialize in materials transportation, handling equipment and procedures, hazard control technologies and in the training of employees who will work with these materials.

Plant Engineering and Maintenance

Competitive industries must often update their plants, manufacturing equipment, and operating procedures. This must be done quickly and with the least possible disruption. ME's in plant engineering focus on systems, equipment, processes and facilities. They provide creative solutions that allow companies to meet their goals for quality, safety and cost.

Process Industries

The ME process engineer changes materials from one form to another or gives them new properties. They can then be used in manufacturing components and finished products. the ME process engineer designs and builds the systems and machines that heat, cool, softedn, harden or liquify substances - anything from industrial fluids and gases to metals, or even food products and phramaceuticals.

Textile Engineering

Textile manufacturing is a global industry that depends on automated equipment to prepare and handle fibers, weave or knit fabrics, manufacture finished apparel, and handle finished products. Multinational textile industries turn to ME's for expertise in plant design and construction, equipment installation, programming and control techniques, operations and mantenance.