Manufacturing Systems Engineer

Manufacturing systems engineers work as part of a team to design, install, monitor and develop all systems affecting the manufacturing cycle of a product, for example manufacturing equipment and assembly lines. They may also be involved in the design and building of new manufacturing plants.

Manufacturing systems engineers work to integrate the entire manufacturing process. This ranges from production and supply right through to sales. The aim is to allow the maximum volume of high-quality product to be produced at the lowest cost and in the shortest time. They use the latest computer technology and employ a systematic approach to finance, methods, materials and technology across traditional departmental boundaries.

Typical work activities

Manufacturing systems engineers are responsible for seeing a job through all of its stages, rather than focusing on one particular part of the process. Tasks vary but typically include:

  • designing the layout of the plant using computer-aided design/manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software to build 3D models;
  • designing, developing and installing plant control systems;
  • liaising with designers, researchers and engineering consultants;
  • attending production meetings and forecasting production requirements;
  • calculating production costs that include equipment, time and labour;
  • deciding on the effective use of resources, e.g. raw materials, equipment and staff;
  • producing maintenance schedules;
  • testing that systems are working correctly and identifying, investigating and repairing any system faults;
  • discussing and evaluating systems failures with plant managers and non-technical personnel;
  • supervising the work of manufacturing engineers, trainee engineers and support staff;
  • overseeing the installation, repair and re-assembly of equipment;
  • demonstrating new and existing equipment to systems engineers, support staff and production managers;
  • investigating environmental hazards as well as conducting safety tests and removing potential hazards;
  • reviewing results and meeting with managers to discuss methods of improving the productivity of existing systems, taking into consideration the use of the latest technology;
  • sourcing new suppliers of industrial equipment;
  • testing, monitoring and evaluating new mechanical equipment;
  • establishing and implementing a quality culture within the manufacturing environment;
  • visiting other production sites;
  • reading specialist journals and attending training courses and industry meetings in order to keep up to date with the latest technological developments and trends in engineering.