Engineering Design Technology
Nature of the Profession
Engineering designers work with engineers to design machines, buildings, civil structures and other items. As part of the process, they prepare technical drawings and plans used by production and construction workers. Their drawings provide visual guidelines, showing the technical details of the products and structures as well as specifying dimensions, materials to be used, procedures, and processes to be followed. Designers fill in technical details, using drawings, rough sketches, specifications, codes, and calculations previously made by engineers, surveyors, architects, or scientists. Some designers use their knowledge of engineering and manufacturing theory and standards to draw the parts of a machine in order to determine design elements, such as the number and kind of fasteners needed to assemble it.
Process piping designers work with engineers in the design and layout of petroleum, chemical and food processing plants. To construct an industrial complex, thousands of piping drawings are needed to provide detailed information to the craftsmen who will construct the facility. Facility design and layout must meet the customer's expectations as well as comply with safety codes, government standards, client specifications, budget, and start-up date.
The piping group has the main responsibility for the design and layout of the facility. Drafters and designers must coordinate their efforts with the civil, structural, electrical, and instrumentation groups throughout the design process. The piping group must provide each group the necessary information needed to complete their part of the project and have the complete set of plan and construction drawings finished on time. During that time, it may be necessary for designers to visit the plant construction site to establish tie-ins or verify information necessary to complete the design.
This particular specialty is in high demand in the greater Tyler area, as well as in and around Houston.
Education and Training
Opportunities should be best for individuals with at least two years of post-secondary training in an engineering design program that provides strong technical skills, as well as considerable experience with CADD systems. As technology continues to advance, employers will look for designers with a strong background in fundamental design principles, a higher level of technical sophistication, and an ability to apply their knowledge to a broader range of responsibilities.
Process piping designers work with engineers to design petroleum, chemical and food processing plants. This particular specialty is in high demand in the greater Tyler area, as well as in and around Houston.
Designers typically work as members of a design team under the direction or supervision of a more experienced designer, engineer, or architect. Designers either sit at computer workstations in well-lighted rooms; they may sometimes work at construction sites or in machine shops and generally work a five-day, 35- to 40-hour week. Overtime may be necessary to meet deadlines.
Engineering Designers: $27,000 - $50,000 per year
Process Piping Design: $36,000 - $70,000 per year
Employment of design technicians is expected to grow 7% through 2016. Industrial growth and increasingly complex design problems associated with new products and manufacturing processes will increase the demand for design services.