The Role And Responsibilities Of A Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers are some of Australia’s most in-demand professionals. Opting for mechanical engineering apprenticeships gives you access to rewarding and challenging work in the country’s most productive industries.

As a mechanical engineer you’ll be responsible for fabricating all types of mechanical devices. This is a vital role, and you’ll have a chance to play your part in keeping Australia moving. To become a mechanical engineer you’ll need to undertake a 4-year apprenticeship that includes both classroom and on-the-job training.

If you have good maths skills, enjoy working with your hands and can exercise great attention to detail, mechanical engineering may be the career for you. In this article we’re going to explore the role and responsibilities of mechanical engineers to see whether it’s a job you could be interested in!

What is a Mechanical Engineer?

Mechanical engineering is a highly skilled engineering discipline that focuses on designing, fabricating and maintaining power-producing systems. Mechanical engineers use their understanding of energy and motion to produce systems that function efficiently, safely and reliably.

The equipment that’s developed and maintained by mechanical engineers is used all over the world. Almost every modern invention in healthcare, mining, manufacturing, energy production, transport, aeronautics and food production has passed through the hands of a mechanical engineer.

Depending on the specialty, mechanical engineers may focus on designing individual components, or they may be involved with developing an entire machine or system. Anything with moving parts that needs to be manufactured will require the expertise of a mechanical engineer at some point or another.

A Day in the Life of a Mechanical Engineer

As a mechanical engineer you can find work in a huge range of Australian industries. You will be responsible for fabricating, optimising and maintaining mechanical equipment and manufacturing processes.

On any given day, a mechanical engineer will spend time:

  • Developing blueprints and drawings that can be used to manufacture mechanical designs
  • Studying and interpreting blueprints to fabricate components and subassemblies
  • Planning production workflows and optimising them to deliver greater quality and efficiency
  • Programming and operating computer controlled machining equipment
  • Operating hand tools and shaping materials such as composites and metals
  • Machining complex components
  • Assembling components and subassemblies into final products
  • Testing, maintaining and optimising mechanical systems
  • Designing precision tools and equipment to improve manufacturing workflows

It is also common for mechanical engineers to spend time optimising production processes. Much of the equipment you design will be manufactured by a third party, which means the instructions and blueprints provided need to be precise. Learning to design processes that can be correctly interpreted by others is a major component of mechanical engineering apprenticeships.

Mechanical Engineering Specialisations

Mechanical engineering is one of the world’s broadest engineering disciplines. Becoming a mechanical engineer gives you access to work throughout industries such as manufacturing, mining, power generation, aeronautics, automotive, food manufacturing and more.

 As part of your mechanical engineering apprenticeship, you will be given the opportunity to explore one of two broad specialisations:

  • Tool making – Tool makers focus on designing, developing, fabricating and maintaining a range of precision tools, moulds and jigs. This may be done using hand tools, but it’s also commonly done using CNC machines, milling machines, laser cutters, water jet cutters and other sophisticated equipment. These tools are used in the manufacturing industry to make high quality components for all types of products, equipment and machinery.
  • Machining – Machinists focus on the use of specialist equipment for the production and maintenance of mechanical systems. Using CNC machines, lathes, grinders, mills, laser equipment and more, machinists fabricate components and sub assemblies, and they play a role in optimising manufacturing workflows.

Whichever specialisation you choose, a skilled mechanical engineer can find work in industries such as automotive, automation, aerospace, biotech, manufacturing, mechanics, production planning, robotics and more.

Mechanical Engineering Salary in Australia

As a nation with strong mining, manufacturing and energy generation industries, Australia has a large demand for skilled mechanical engineers. Depending on your years of experience, specialised skills and where you’re working, you could expect to earn an average salary of $105,000.

You could earn substantially more by choosing to work in high-paying industries, such as mining, and by taking jobs in remote locations. The biggest factor in your salary as a mechanical engineer is your attention to detail. The systems you work on will be complex and precise. The better you understand the mechanical principles involved, and the better you can work to tight tolerances, the more money you will be able to command on the job market.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *