A process engineer designs processes and equipment for manufacturing. They are responsible for implementing, controlling and optimising industrial processes and machinery. Process engineers are employed to ensure the smooth operation of production facilities, plants and factories. Their role will vary depending on the sector they work in. For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, the processes are likely to be chemical or biochemical rather than simply industrial.
Day to day activities
As already mentioned, responsibilities will vary from sector to sector and generally include both scientific and administrative tasks. A process engineer may be involved in researching, designing and developing new equipment, optimising end-to-end industrial processes and managing cost and time constraints.
Compliance is a key part of the job and process engineers will be expected to uphold company and legislative procedures.
Administrative tasks will include running risk assessments of equipment and processes, collating data and producing reports for senior management and stakeholders.
Process engineers will be expected to hold a BEng in mechanical engineering or a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in a related field such as chemistry. Employers will value knowledge and experience of mathematics, plant design and commissioning and data analysis for process and product development.
Most degree courses will offer or encourage internships and industrial placements. These can be a valuable way of building experience in specific sectors.
Skills and attributes
In addition to formal qualifications, process engineers will be expected to demonstrate attention to detail, critical thinking, problem solving and strong numeracy and IT skills.
Employers will value project management experience and good communication skills, which will be essential when collaborating on large projects with other engineers and designers in the business.
Process engineers can work is many different industries such as petrochemicals, food and drink, automotive, biotechnical, mining, pharmaceutical and software development. With an increasing focus on having robust systems in place and optimising productivity in manufacturing, the role of the process engineer is in high demand. Salaries vary between industries but engineers with relevant experience in their sector will have strong negotiating power when it comes to salaries.
The job of a process engineer is ideally suited to someone who is analytical and enjoys solving problems. The focus on data analysis and reporting makes this a particularly rewarding role as the engineer can quickly and reliably measure the outcome of their work and evaluate their effectiveness.
Find out more
If there’s something you’d like to know about the role of a process engineer that we haven’t covered here, we’d be happy to help further. Or we could point you in the direction of process engineer jobs available right now. Call us on 0115 8714 777.