An equipment engineer works with machinery used in manufacturing and other processes. This can include the design, installation, and maintenance of equipment, depending on an engineer’s level of skill and job focus. Qualifications required to work in this field vary and may include a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a higher qualification for more advanced design work. Experience in the industry is also typically required for lead designers and other key personnel, although entry-level positions may be open to new graduates.
In the design phase, an equipment engineer can work with a client to determine the needs of a project and develop specifications. These take the client’s requests into account along with regulatory concerns and industry standards to make sure the finished product will be safe and appropriate. Equipment engineers can develop designs and determine if machinery needs to be fabricated or if it can be purchased. They can also work on designs for mass-produced equipment, like medical devices. Cooperation with people in other fields may be required for some jobs, like developing safe medical implants, where doctors and other medical professionals can be involved.
Engineers can also be tasked with supervising the development of prototypes through to finished products. The equipment engineer needs to inspect the processes used, confirm that products align with the stated standards, and supervise equipment testing. This can include vigorous tests to make sure the equipment doesn’t fail under strain. At the same time, an equipment engineer can start to work on documentation that will accompany the finished product to provide information about how to operate it.
Operation and maintenance can also be the responsibility of an equipment engineer. Facilities with complex equipment rely on engineers to keep it running effectively and appropriately. This can involve a variety of activities to make sure equipment remains operational. Equipment engineers in this setting may need to have certifications indicating they can work safely with equipment like rotating turbines and work with a staff of skilled personnel to provide complete coverage for a manufacturing or other facility.
Continuing education may be part of the responsibilities of an equipment engineer. This can include reading trade publications to keep up with developments in the field, attending conferences, and taking classes or workshops to learn about new technology. Engineers need to be aware of progress so they can advise clients appropriately and develop systems that take these developments into account. Monitoring the industry an engineer works in is also advised; someone who handles pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment, for example, needs to know about new processes that might be used.