What is Product Engineering – Role ,Duties ,Skills For Product Engineers

A Product Engineer is a Mechanical Engineer who specializes in designing products and their corresponding manufacturing processes. They are also responsible for transitioning the product from design to manufacturing at scale. Virtually every industry that involves manufacturing products for sale employs Product Engineers. Their work environment is typically on-site at a manufacturing plant or in the corporate office working on designs and meeting with stakeholders.

Product engineering refers to the process of designing and developing a device, assembly, or system such that it be produced as an item for sale through some production manufacturing process. Product engineering usually entails activity dealing with issues of cost, producibility, quality, performance, reliability, serviceability, intended lifespan and user features. These product characteristics are generally all sought in the attempt to make the resulting product attractive to its intended market and a successful contributor to the business of the organization that intends to offer the product to that market. It includes design, development and transitioning to manufacturing of the product. The term encompasses developing the concept of the product and the design and development of its mechanical, electronics and software components. After the initial design and development is done, transitioning the product to manufacture it in volumes is considered part of product engineering.

For example, the engineering of a digital camera would include defining the feature set, design of the optics, the mechanical and ergonomic design of the packaging, developing the electronics that control the various component and developing the software that allows the user to see the pictures, store them in memory and download them to a computer.

Product engineering is an engineering discipline that deals with both design and manufacturing aspects of a product.

product engineers
product engineers

Product Engineer Duties and Responsibilities

Designing products and the processes to manufacture them at scale involves several duties and responsibilities. We read through several Product Engineer job descriptions to compile this list of the most common Product Engineer tasks.

Manage the Design of Products and Processes

Designing products and their processes for manufacturing is where a Product Engineer spends a good portion of time. This involves using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to build digital models of product concepts.

Create and Test Product Prototypes

Once a digital model of a product is created, the Product Engineer then creates and tests product prototypes. This requires complex problem solving skills, as the initial build of a prototype is rarely a smooth process.

Select Materials for Product Manufacturing

The Product Engineer is in charge of sourcing the materials necessary to build a prototype, and then scale that prototype in a cost-effective manner. This process involves working closely with Logisticians and Shipping Managers.

Collaborate with Product Development Teams

Speaking of collaboration, a Product Engineer has to collaborate with the Product Development team to turn concepts into reality. Good communication skills are required here, as debates between departments can get heated.

Ensure Manufacturing is up to Specifications and Safety Standards

Safety is one of the Product Engineer’s primary concerns. They must ensure product design meets any and all safety regulations, and that goes for the manufacturing process as well.

Product Engineer Skills

It is easy to assume that the role of Product Engineer is all about technical skills. While having a high degree of technical skill is important, being a Product Engineer also requires several soft skills. Product Engineers are almost always part of a team, so they may be able to thrive in a collaborative environment. Product Engineers also must be proficient multi-taskers to ensure all aspects of engineering a product are addressed. We analyzed several job descriptions to compile the following list of core skills required by most employers, as well as some advanced skills that will impress employers.

Core Skills:

The following are core skills you should work on acquiring if you want to be a Product Engineer.

Area of responsibility

  • Product engineers define the yield road map and drive the fulfillment during ramp-up and volume production,
  • Identify and realize measures for yield improvement, test optimization and product cost-ability methods,
  • Define qualification plan and perform feasibility analysis.
  • Product engineers are the technical interface between the component development team and the production side (Front End and Back End), especially after the development phase and qualifications when the high volume production is running.

Product engineers improve the product quality and secure the product reliability by balancing cost of test and test coverage that could impact the production fall-off. They support failure analysis request from customers.

Product Engineering Tools:

A product engineer will use a wide range of tools and software, possibly including: 20/20, AutoCad, CATIA, PTC Creo, Solidworks, Unigraphics, Labview, JMP, DataConductor.

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