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What is industrial engineering?

Friday, July 16th, 2010

A Changing Field of Study & Work

Industrial engineering is not a new specialty in the engineering field. In fact, it has been officially taught under this name for over one hundred years! However, just as the world has changed greatly over the past century, the work done by industrial engineers has also transformed.

A Quick History

In the beginning, industrial engineering was focused almost entirely on the factory systems that were revolutionizing the way goods were produced during the early part of the twentieth century. However, industry later expanded beyond the walls of factories, and industrial engineers began applying the same logic and skill sets that had worked in the factories to other industries such as health care and even finance.

Today’s Applications

Today, industrial engineering refers to the practice of making complex systems operate in a way that is both effective and efficient, making the best use of the available resources while still serving the interests of the company and employees.

In some ways, modern industrial engineering is still tied to its factory beginnings. One project completed by our staff involved relocating the headquarters of a manufacturing company, designing a facility that would serve their practical needs while also operating more efficiently than the previous one.

In other ways, the original industrial engineers would have no idea where to start on a modern project. Another Engineering Groupe industrial engineering project involved the placement of cell phone towers, a technological development that had no bearing on industry one hundred years ago. In another 100 years, industrial engineering will probably be changing the way that we get things done in ways we can’t even imagine right now!

Trends in Industrial Engineering

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

As an important part of the services offered by The Engineering Groupe, industrial engineering is an area that requires us to stay on top of recent trends. Industrial engineers incorporate a wide range of knowledge as they analyze existing systems in order to create optimized versions that make the best use of resources without affecting the service delivered or product created.

Today’s Trends

Three current trends in this engineering specialty include lowering energy consumption, minimizing environmental impact, and a greater focus on automation.

  1. Lowering energy consumption: Energy consumption is important to every type of business and almost every individual as the costs of energy continue to rise. Industrial engineers look for ways to allow systems to reduce the energy wasted by operating at certain times of the day and smarter building design.
  2. Minimizing environmental impact: While reducing energy can also be considered a way of reducing environmental impact, this is such an important trend that it deserves attention in its own right. Facilities that incorporate natural ventilation and are designed to be more inviting to those who walk or bike and keep the energy use as low as possible.
  3. Focus on automation: Finally, improved technology is bringing automation into almost every industrial engineering project in some way, as it helps to lower costs without affecting quality.

These trends toward “greener” living and reducing our environmental footprint can be seen in many areas of our lives today, and industrial engineering is no different.  However, one thing we know for sure is that the future will continue to usher in changes and engineers will seek better ways to adapt.

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