What is Process Engineering?
Process Engineering is an extremely important part of the manufacturing industry. It provides the chemical processes and equipment that are used to turn raw materials into an end product.
Process Engineers are the individuals who create, set specifications, develop, implement and monitor this equipment or these processes as part of the manufacturing system. Within pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing, the processes involved can be chemical or biochemical.
Process Engineering is at work during all stages of the manufacturing process. These engineers can be designing innovative processes and equipment for a new facility or they can be involved in the modification and optimisation of equipment and processes that are already in place. As a result, Process Engineers work with people all across the manufacturing system including R&D, production staff, management and even customers.
What Does a Process Engineer Do?
A Process Engineer will be the person responsible for developing, installing and monitoring the equipment and processes that turn raw materials into an end product. As such, their job can be extremely varied.
In larger companies, Process Engineers may specialise into a niche area but in smaller facilities, a Process Engineer can be responsible for a huge variety of tasks.
These tasks can include:
- Research and development of new equipment (this can include design responsibilities)
- Monitoring of equipment – including regular testing and ensuring maintenance tasks are carried out
- Completion of documentation to show and ensure compliance with both internal and external regulations and protocols
- Oversight of processes and working to maintain optimisation of production line
- Assisting Process Technicians in troubleshooting in the event of a problem
- Data collection, interpretation and report writing
- Presentation of data and reports to senior colleagues and management
- Installation of new equipment
- Risk assessments of the equipment and processes being used. Of course this refers to staff safety and safety within the plant, but this can also extend outwards to include things such as the environmental impact
- Continual evaluation of equipment and processes to ensure both efficiency and quality remain high
- Budget responsibilities
- Use of simulation software in development of new processes
To hear more about the work of a Process Engineer from someone in the role, check out this video from the About Bioscience website, produced by the North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research (NCABR).
Becoming a Process Engineer
Typically, a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in a related field (such as engineering, chemistry or material science) is required. Management experience or business qualifications with accompanying engineering awareness or experience can also provide a route into these positions.
The ideal skill set for someone moving into process engineering includes:
- Excellent communication skills – working with people across the manufacturing process, they have to be able to manage people well and communicate new ideas effectively
- Calm under pressure – must be able to troubleshoot at an advanced level. If a problem is delaying manufacturing, they must be able to come up with effective working solutions quickly
- Commercial awareness – usually working within strict time and budgetary constraints
- Critical/logical thinking – have to locate problems, and then think of those problems from a variety of perspectives to assess the best solution
- Excellent computer skills – IT is an essential part of this role, uses include simulation software, design software and reporting
- Analytical skills – responsible for analysis and interpretation of data into charts, diagrams and reports
- Negotiation skills – vital if charged with budgetary or schedule management
- Creative thinking and excellent problem solving skills – have to be able to solve problems in a new way, seeing past what is established and create a new way of doing things
Process Engineer Salaries in Singapore
Process Engineer salaries in Singapore are extremely competitive. With up 3 years experience, employees typically earn $42,000 – 80,400.