Product Engineering vs. Plant Engineering
In many manufacturing sectors, innovation is the pinnacle of success. The ability to make a component more efficient or design a turnkey part for a private client is key to innovative manufacturing on a micro scale and is typically specific to single or limited application. But manufacturing innovation also occurs on a macro scale in determining best practices and innovative procedures for factory production.
This is the difference between product engineering and plant engineering. Both are crucial to manufacturing success, but they require different perspectives. While product engineering focuses on details, plant engineering is process oriented.
What is product engineering?
Product engineering is extensive and difficult to categorize, though it mostly refers to the process of developing and designing a product for a specific purpose. During the process, engineers consider a product’s cost, performance, construction, reliability, and user features. Product engineering involves developing all a product’s mechanical, electrical, and software components to prepare it for manufacturing. There are several phases involved in product engineering, including ideation, architecture, design, testing, and technical support. All these steps ensure a product works efficiently in compliance with market requirements and regulatory rules.
What is plant engineering?
Plant engineering is essential to the success of a manufacturing company. A well-designed factory enables a higher standard of production. The process itself involves fostering collaboration between employees to create a good factory environment. Factories sometimes have a plant engineer on staff to oversee a factory’s mechanical, automated, and electrical systems. These engineers also develop plans for making production more cost-effective and efficient.
Plant engineering is more process-driven and less technical than product engineering. Engineers closely observe factory operations to determine solutions for improving productivity. This might involve upgrading to new technologies, repairing equipment, reducing bottlenecks, and developing preventive maintenance programs.
The differences in product vs. plan engineering
Product and plant engineering are both instrumental in creating a good manufacturing environment, but there are key differences between the two.
Product engineering’s focus is creating a product while the purpose of plant engineering is to design and optimize the production process. They work together to ensure consistent production of a quality product. When used correctly, plan and product engineering change a factory’s landscape for the better, but it’s important for manufacturers to understand the difference and focus efforts in the right place. It’s one thing to have a well-designed product; it’s another to produce it consistently and efficiently.
Bridging micro and macro innovation
The bridge between product and plant engineering goes both ways. A well-designed plant allows for innovative manufacturing at the product level. Product engineering informs plant design in support of manufacturing operations. To optimize production, manufacturers should enable collaboration between the two and position themselves to flourish at the top and bottom lines.