Production engineering, also known as manufacturing engineering, is the design, development, implementation, operation, maintenance, and control of all processes in the manufacture of a product. Within this context a 'product' is defined as an item that has value added to it during the production process. Value is added by means of processes such as forming, machining, joining, and assembly.
A product may be produced by:
Producing the Raw Materials
Raw materials are obtained:
Production Engineering the Raw Materials
While the oldest profession is rarely disputed, second place creates much discussion. I wish to place the production engineer in that slot. Who was it who made the first cutting tool? Who was it who organised the use of these first tools? It was the humans who made the first products.
Not much has changed fundamentally. A sharp edge is still used to cut. Fire is still used to form and remove material. Heat is generally an essential part of processing the raw materials from within the earth, while the sharp edge cuts the material growing on the earth.
From within the earth the raw materials are solid and liquid. Grown on the earth are plants and animals. These were the raw materials of the first production engineers, and it is still the same today. Proportions may have changed, but these are our raw materials.
Take the automobile. Materials from the earth include metals and oils. Materials from the soil include wood and animal skins. Prehistoric man might not recognise the car as a means of transport, but he would certainly recognise some of the basic materials it is made from.
Working with any material requires and understanding of that material. A production engineer needs to know how a material will behave when used as part of the manufacturing process. Because there are so many materials they are subdivided, and then subdivided again.
The following cover the majority of materials used in manufacturing. Often their properties will be described in the terms of the product made from that material. Note the properties and how they might help or hinder any processing on that material.
The main divisions and sub divisions are:
Non Ferrous Metals- all other metals.
The following are the main metals used in manufacturing. Most metals are used in some form, often only as an alloying agent. Also most metals are used in alloy forms and some of these listed here refer to alloys.
Non Organic Materials
The following is a list of the main non organic, non metallic materials . Consequently the materials will be dealt with individually under processes.
Understanding the Processes
An object may be manufactured in a number of ways. Obviously a finished product may have undergone a number of processes. For practical purposes the main processes are: