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Mechanical Engineering - Magnus Löfstrand

This page presents Magnus Löfstrands' views concerning the subject of Mechanical Engineering.

In summary, Mechanical Engineering is the application of science and technology to develop products or machines (ie. hardware) and services, or to solve their related problems, often analyzing and developing products and systems with motion, while handling several usually partly contradictory requirements. Requirements commonly include functionality (load bearing properties, weight, size etc.), production cost and time, and quality criteria such as minimized losses (optimal efficiency) maintainability, reliability and availability. Not to mention design for aesthetics, and environmental conditions. Mechanical engineering also include determining the best way to manufacture products and ensure that they operate without failure.

Mechanical Engineering is applicable to the development of products, as in something sold by an enterprise to its customers, and for development of various types of (availability based) integrated offers comprising a combination of hardware, software and services (product service systems, functional products, etc.), which may be sold, leased or otherwise traded for.

Mechanical engineers are typically involved in both product and production development, from identifying customer needs through product design, manufacturing, testing and operation. Since these skills are required for virtually everything that is made, mechanical engineering is perhaps the broadest and most diverse of engineering disciplines.

In order to solve mechanical engineering problems, core mechanical engineering subjects include Mathematics, Mechanics (Statics and Dynamics), Applied Mechanics and Machine Elements. More specialized mechanical engineering subjects include biomechanics, laser-assisted materials processing, combustion, fracture mechanics, mechanisms, tribology (friction and wear), and mechanical vibrations. Furthermore, in the last two decades, the front end of design (need finding, preferences, requirement capture and creative idea generation,) has become more common within mechanical engineering. This is important since insufficient creativity management in the pre-development phase, can lead to the failure of the product.

For reasons of validity and reliability of the results, core competences for a mechanical engineer is the ability to understand the specific context, identify the most relevant challenge or problem, and solving it using the most relevant tools based on scientific principles. Other core competences is ability to reason and present motivations for what, why and how a product is developed, given the requirements. That is, to use a sound scientific method.

The diversity inherent in mechanical engineering is indicated by the fact that ASME, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, currently lists 37 technical divisions, in applications ranging from applied mechanics and automotive engineering to solid-waste engineering and textile engineering. Some of the ASME technical divisions, with subject areas Löfstrand generally can relate to, are:

  • Applied Mechanics - Advances the study of how media, including solids, fluids and systems, respond to external stimuli, as well as the specialized areas of shock and vibration and computer applications.
  • Computers & Information in Engineering - Concerned with the application of emerging computer simulation technology to enhance the entire engineering process.
  • Design Engineering - Addresses the design concepts of machines and mechanisms, such as fastening/joining methods and gearing, as well as design aspects affecting reliability and manufacturability.
  • Information Storage & Processing Systems - Focuses on the mechanics of electronic information storage devices and their manufacture, with primary focus on rigid and floppy disks, magnetic tape, VCR and optical disk technologies.
  • Management - Concerns the management of the engineering process to control resources, both human and material, to improve the quality of products and services provided by organizations.
  • Manufacturing Engineering - Fosters the transfer of technology related to manufacturing systems for improved production performance, including machine tools, computer integrated manufacturing and robotics.
  • Plant Engineering & Maintenance - Focuses on the design, fabrication, installation, operation and maintenance of manufacturing systems, equipment, processes and facilities to create products of enhanced value.
  • Safety Engineering & Risk Analysis - Promotes practices that lead to reduced risk and loss prevention by creating safer products, processes, and occupational environments.

Research in mechanical engineering cover a diverse set of areas, including all the above, and more. Given the diversity in mechanical engineering research, Löfstrands' research in particular, is additionally specified here. Löfstrands' research focus is, in short, mostly on simulation of industrial system availability and using data analytics, to support industrial development of availability based industrial business offers, mainly in the process and production industry.