Accessibility Links

What’s the Future for Mechanical Design Engineers?

12/01/17 Ricky Wilcocks Manager, Electronics & Technology

Since the introduction of CAD software, mechanical design has undergone a profound transformation. Today, technology is redefining the role of Mechanical Design Engineers, offering a future where 3D modelling becomes fully immersive, akin to sculpting in virtual space. No longer confined to cubicles, engineers are becoming 'technical artists,' crafting designs in an interface-free realm.

Read on to explore what the future holds for mechanical design engineering, where technology and artistry converge to reshape innovation and creativity.

What is a Mechanical Design Engineer?

Mechanical Design Engineers specialise in creating, developing, and improving mechanical systems, products, and components. They’re involvement spans right from conceptualisation up to the final product development stage. In short, they bring mechanical products and systems to life.

This makes the role extremely varied. Couple this with the fact that Mechanical Design Engineers work across the reel of industries, such as aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, consumer electronics, and renewable energy, and it’s not hard to see why it’s becoming an increasingly popoular engineering field.

What is the difference between a Mechanical Engineer and a Mechanical Design Engineer?

To put it simply, Mechanical Engineers are invovled in all aspects of mechanical sytems and devices. Meanwhile, Mechanical Design Engineers narrow their focus towards creating innovative designs. They are a subset of Mechanical Engineers, but their specialism lies in the creative and technical aspects of designing mechanical components and systems.

Is it a good career?

Before we address this question, first ask yourself, do enjoy problem-solving and consider yourself to have a flair for design? If you answered yes, Mechanical Design Engineering should be good career for you. But here are a few other reasons why it’s considered a good choice within the world of engineering:

  1. Mechanical Design Engineers are in high demand
  2. You can work on wide range of projects and products
  3. Offers the creative freedom that other engineering positions don’t
  4. You can have a tangible impact
  5. You’ll never stop learning
  6. Earn a competitive salary

The list could go on, but in essence, it’s an exciting field of engineering where the opportunities are endless. This leads us to the future of Mechanical Design Engineering.

The evolution from 2D to 3D

Although CAD programmes remain the foundation of mechanical design, how engineers use this tech has changed. The design engineer once worked in 2D to create technical drawings consisting of 2D wireframe primitives. Then in the 60s, we saw the evolution of 3D wireframe features. While this was a huge turning point, there were still many aspects of the process that were considered rudimentary. Mechanical Design Engineers still had to manually input constraints for parts that may seem obvious and one minor mistake could corrupt the whole model.

Since then CAD programmes have been largely pushed forward by innovative code and programming. That has worked wonders for the diversity of CAD tools and programmes available, but it also means that CAD tools have evolved into largely keyboard-oriented skills. Given that, this is commonplace in mechanical design, keyboard-based design does however have its limitations as the designer must have the technical ability and knowledge of the specific CAD software, such as CATIA, Solidworks and so on. There will always be a place for this, but computers will soon be able to allow freeform mechanical design within the confines of reality.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is being integrated into the design process at a staggering rate. Why? Because automation technologies have the power to enhance both productivity and efficiency. Sometimes referred to as robotics or machine leanring, AI can assist with generating design alternatives and performing simulations. Now that’s not the say these intelligent computer systems can go about performing all aspects of an engineers role. Rather, they can automate repetitive tasks, giving Mechanical Design Engineers more time to commit to higher-value activities.

An age of creative engineering

While Mechanical Design Engineers certainly have the knowledge to input design constraints, they simply don’t have to. Sophisticated tech has triggered an age for pure creative engineering. Touchscreen computers and haptics have brought a more natural mechanical design interface. Moving forward, it will likely be virtual reality and quantum computing that brings mechanical design into its ultimate realisation for the Mechanical Design Engineer.

Designing a sustainable future

No different from other professions, engineers are increasingly being called on to help with our planet’s most pressing issues. Companies are being urged to think about the environmental impact of their production methods. In response, Mechanical Design Engineers are tasked with the challenging yet rewarding role of developing products that are more energy-efficient and use fewer resources. This expands to optimising designs for recyclability and exploring eco-friendly materials.

In summary

  1. The digitalisation of the role is exemplified by the upgrade from 2D to 3D modelling
  2. AI will help to push the boundaries of engineering
  3. Mechanical Design Engineers can be more creative
  4. They are playing an active role in creating a green future

Take your career forward with our help

Do you have an agile mind-set? Are you willing to propose and experiment with new ideas? If these are skills that you can check off, our roles might be the perfect fit for you. We work on behalf of employers, helping them find candidates who are passionate and have a hunger to succeed within the world of engineering.

If you’re interested in Mechanical Design jobs and would like discuss job opportunities, please reach our by calling me on 01582 878810 or email Ricky Wilcocks at