What are some essential skills that a mechanical engineer should learn?
Being an institution that offers mechanical engineering courses, this is a question we often encounter at Skill-Lync. Students want to be equipped with a unique skillset that would help them stand apart from the crowd. From our observation and experiences with the industries, here’s our take on the matter:
A Mechanical engineering is required to know how the product works and put it together manually. However, with the advent of computers, mechanical engineering is evolving more to utilize less manpower and more computer power. Bear in mind that the future of industries seems largely dependent on robots and computers. On that note, I would say that the essential skills for a mechanical engineer would be:
Why does a mechanical engineer have to learn coding? Because the industry is more inclined towards computers and robots these days. A mechanical engineer has to learn to control, manipulate and utilize these systems to the best of their abilities. Let me explain how:
Consider a company that manufactures the outer body of automobiles. Earlier, engineers would work on these products manually and ensure every nut and bolt is in its place. But that’s not the case today. Automated robots are fed with a set of instructions which guide them to perform the task. A mechanical engineer’s main job is to insure that the parameters fed into the system are precise and that the end product attains the planned design. And to enter this data into the system, codes are written using languages like python, MATLAB etc.
Not only this, learning to code will help an engineer solve engineering problems faster and more efficient than analytical or practical methods. Consider another example:
Let us say that you are faced with a classical thermodynamic problem. You are required to calculate the pressure in a system after combustion occurs at different temperatures and plot a PV diagram. To calculate this, you must solve the value of pressure for each temperature value and finally plot the diagram, not to mention that manual PV diagrams are only approximates. This is where the coding will be hugely beneficial. Using MATLAB or Python, you can write a program that can calculate the output for various temperatures in moments. You can also plot a PV diagram instantaneously using MATLAB. Here are some courses on MATLAB and Python that are tailored to benefit mechanical engineers:
How do engineers state the temperature inside an engine during combustion? Or how do they know the fuel flow inside the engine? They cannot send a camera or a thermometer inside an engine when it is working. The physical conditions will be too extreme to be measured directly. This is where CFD comes into the picture.
Using CFD, engineers can build a virtual environment where they can test the systems and acquire approximated results. It is also economically positive since computer simulations are way cheaper than prototypes. We can compute flow of any liquid/gas in a system using CFD and acquire the needed readings.
Here is a set of images from a CFD simulation of air and fuel mixture flowing from the valves into the inlet pipes in an IC engine:
You can find specialized CFD courses here.
A lot of us are quite aware that iPhones undergo heavy testing before it is launched commercially. One of the common test performed on iPhones is checking how much force a device can withstand by bending it. Now, this doesn’t mean that a prototype is built and bent to destruction immediately. After a model is designed, it undergoes finite element analysis where the impact stress is studies on each element.
This is one of the projects our students work on at Skill-Lync for the course “Advanced Structural analysis using ANSYS Workbench”.
If the design fails to appear durable enough during this test, it will be re-designed and tested again. The same process can be time and money consuming if we were to use prototypes firsthand. Once the design seems to durable enough virtually, it is then made into prototypes and tested.
This is just one example where FEA is applied. In the industries, FEA is applied in every zone where some kind of force acts on a system. for instance, consider a slider-crank mechanism or a universal joint. These mechanisms undergo continuous friction and a certain amount of loads. FEA can be used to calculate these loads and estimate the life of these mechanisms. Here are some snapshots of FEA analysis on the same systems performed at Skill-Lync:
To learn how to perform FEA on mechanical systems, you can check out these courses:
- Crash Worthiness Analysis using HyperMesh and Radioss
- Advanced Structural Analysis using ANSYS Workbench
- Virtual Product Development using FEA MBD CFD MATLAB
Being specialized in kinetics and dynamics of multi-body systems opens a wide door for mechanical systems. Rather than being a general automotive engineer, you can select a system like suspension and specialize in their designs and performance. One of the promising area in multibody dynamics is vehicle dynamics.
Part of learning MBD is about assembling and reviewing the kinematics and dynamics of such assemblies.
Some of the courses that will equip you will such knowledge are:
- Multi-Body Dynamics for Automotive Applications
- Vehicle Dynamics using MATLAB
- Vehicle Dynamics for FSAE and BAJA
- Suspension Design using Adams
Its common knowledge that design engineers are in evergreen demand. Every sector in mechanical engineering needs design engineers. There are many design software to learn from but it is important that the software we learn is widely used by the industries as well. Some of the popular design software are SolidWorks, NX CAD.
This is the American Chopper that students design in the Ultimate SolidWorks course at Skill-Lync.
In the automotive sheet metal design course, students learn to design in Automotive BiW.
At Skill-Lync we offer courses where we teach the students to design an American chopper or automotive sheet metal design from scratch. You can follow this link for more info:
If you are looking for opportunities to upgrade your skillset to the next level and sync up with the industry’s demands, Skill-Lync is the place for you. You can tune into our website (https://courses.skill-lync.com/courses) for more details.