Mechanical engineering involves designing parts and components with a solid understanding of the methods related to design and product concepts.
Unfortunately, most fresh mechanical engineers who come out of college lack design skills and don’t spend enough time learning how to quickly visualize models or apply manufacturing workflows.
Design is a process that starts with sketching on paper and bringing your ideas to life. Engineering has its basics deeply rooted in design frameworks.
Even Steve Jobs once said: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
With that in mind, let us go over the top five design courses that are geared towards mechanical engineering students. These programs introduce them to the basic concepts and delve deeper into advanced concepts.
1. Hybrid Vehicle Design And Analysis
There are various technical and non-technical constraints that good design focuses on.
Getting a good grasp of these and learning how to implement design methodologies to final products are what take engineering solutions to the next level.
Programs in Hybrid Vehicle Design and Analysis go into the barebones of electric and IC engineering vehicle design.
This is a comprehensive mechanical engineering course that takes students through modules like vehicle dynamics performance calculations, and BMS design concepts.
You can also opt for courses with a module on external aerodynamics, where students apply analysis on full-scale passenger and racing cars.
Overall, this course is recommended for anyone who wants to get into automotive design and manufacturing in the field of mechanical engineering.
The industry currently has a shortage of EV engineers, and this course specializes in teaching the tools and techniques used
by top OEMs in electric vehicle production.
2. Materials Science And Design Specialization
Materials science has become an increasingly popular course among mechanical engineers. It pays to learn about how materials work and the physics and chemistry involved in their manufacturing processes.
There are manufacturing and functionality components involved when designing vehicle parts. Take, for example, designing a simple mechanical door latch for an automotive vehicle.
Questions like the following are answered:
- What material is it made of?
- Does it take into account extreme weather conditions?
- What load can it take?
- What are its chances of corrosion?
There are also legal implications that vary from country to country when designing textures and surfaces for automotive vehicles.
Good materials manufacturing design courses get into the laws and regulations concerned with different countries when it comes to automotive production.
Some materials may be considered illegal while others require a patent to be used in assembly lines.
Topics covered in such programs include (but are not limited to) – product cost estimation – direct and indirect costs, material costs, CAPEX, transportation cost, etc.
3. Aircraft Designing And Manufacturing
Manufacturing passenger vehicles and aircraft components make for a gratifying career.
Taking up an aircraft design course has become the norm for many mechanical engineering students simply because of high demand and good pay.
From taking products from concept to life to exploring designing for the assembly line, students explore both the benefits and limitations of physical design when studying about passenger and commercial aircraft.
Casting, molding, forming and stamping, machining, welding, 3D printing are also studied extensively in these design courses.
Companies are on the constant lookout for qualified aircraft design candidates, especially given the shortage of good talent in this segment.
There’s a lot of scope in aircraft design, and students also learn about wing design, engine function and design, and study how to analyze aircraft performance as well.
4. Courses Related To 2D And 3D CAD Manufacturing And Analysis
Needless to say, mechanical engineers are employable in various engineering fields like aerospace, ship manufacturing, robotics, heavy machinery sectors, etc.
The challenge here, however, is being able to use industry software like SolidWorks, SiemensNX, Solid Edge, Creo is just the start.
Professionals are expected to create 2D drawings and simulations for construction manufacturing projects. They must draft detailed measurements and layouts for said prototypes.
But the vast majority of engineering students lack this key technical skill; thus, a course about learning to customize drawings with CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software is of paramount importance.
There are also 2D and 3D orthographic views and testing involved alongside assembly modeling. So you have to focus on a cutting-edge course related to CAD 2D and 3D design to be in high demand in the industry.
A course in NX-CAD is recommended for those learning about 2D and 3D CAD software.
5. Robotics Design Courses
Robotics is an emerging field that’s providing various budding career opportunities to mechanical engineering students.
Most students sign up for robotics design courses after they have completed their M. Tech in mechanical engineering. What’s unique about robotics is how there’s a technological component to the industry.
Mechanical engineering students get exposure to developing and designing software for robotics components, too in the process of manufacturing.
The key topics in the curriculum for robotics specializations include press tools, die casting dies, application of hydraulics systems and pneumatics, tool design, and a lot more.
There’s also CNC programming, and the learning of Auto CAD software involved too for rapid prototyping and manufacturing robotics components.
Bonus: Tool Design
Tool design involves learning how to design and manufacture tools for mechanical engineers. More specifically, you learn how to design tools for automation that are required in the production pipeline.
Students who specialize in tool design are hired by major industries or as technicians for companies that buy and manufacture these tools.
While you can pursue these design courses at any stage in your career, it is useful to keep in mind that they are most beneficial to you when you are still a student.
Every course mentioned here is distinct from, say a design program in college. In fact, most college courses don’t focus too much on the design angle of engineering at all.
As a result, if you are an M. Tech mechanical engineering student, you can pursue these design courses while you are still a fresher in college to keep up with industry trends and kick start your career.