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What is design engineering?

Before delving into the details of design engineering, it is crucial to first understand the purpose of an engineer. At the heart of an engineer’s occupation lies science, math, and problem-solving. Engineers find solutions to some of the world’s most technical and complex issues. In many cases, this requires the construction and maintenance of machines, buildings, or public works.

Design engineering is the process that engineers use to address these projects and problems. Engineers create a purpose for designs as well as the end goals for what the deliverable will accomplish upon completion. 

While there are many steps to the process of design engineering, the one that many designers are concerned with is selecting a solution and creating a prototype for testing and optimization. Cad Crowd’s design engineering services strive to help companies across various sectors find designers that are well-versed in design engineering strategy, software, and project management. 

These designers can assist in a variety of sectors within the engineering industry. Some of the most common are mechanical, architectural, and electrical. Read on for how design plays a part in these specific areas.  

The role of design in mechanical engineering 

Mechanical design engineering is a subset of design engineering. Mechanical engineering deals specifically with the design, construction, and use of machines. As a result, design engineers that have a specialty in mechanical design can help companies create models for machines, public facilities, and public work services. For example, if your company were to need a layout of your plumbing system or need a location to store machinery or tools, a mechanical design engineer could help to make this happen. 

Architectural design engineering 

Do you need someone to help design a structure or create a model that informs customers of the potential interior and exterior ideas for a building? Then an architectural design engineering professional is the best person for the job. Much like mechanical engineering, the goal is to produce models that increase the accuracy of design. 

Architectural design engineers also have to use models to ensure that the final product is adhering to all safety specifications and building codes. While mechanical engineers work to bring machines and tools from model to completion, architectural design engineers create digital displays that help contractors complete construction projects. 

Electrical design engineering 

So, your company is on its way to designing a mechanical tool or creating a building. However, the means for incorporating electricity and power have not been addressed. This step is where an electrical design engineer will come into play. Electrical design engineers ensure that electrical systems are correctly built into structures. 

With this comes planning, testing, developing, and modeling. Many times, electrical design engineers will develop electrical system layouts that address the location of lighting equipment, power systems, and fire safety systems. These attributes are likely critical to obtaining building codes or permissions to continue with a project. 

While there is by no means an exhaustive list of all the intersections of design and engineering, these are some of the most notable ways design engineers can develop models for complex engineering functions. 

The most popular design engineering software choices

The various types of design engineering software depend on the subset of a design engineering sector a professional is working with. While some companies do cover a wide range of industries within the engineering field, some only offer specialties depending on the subset (ex. architectural engineering or civil engineering). Below are some of the most popular software options according to Capterra, a business software review company. 

MatLab – This programming software is ideal for engineers who need to combine data analysis with design processes. Users can develop algorithms, program languages that produce matrices and array mathematics, and automatically generate code. Design engineers will likely be interested in MatLab to design and program robotic tools. 

Onshape – Onshape is the first and only full cloud 3D computer-aided design (CAD) system. Instead of having to share multiple files over flash drives or emails, designers can collaborate on files in real time. Designers can access the software using web browsers and can bypass downloads, installs, and license keys. Design engineers will likely enjoy the freedom of designing alongside colleagues or clients. 

SolidWorks 3D – SolidWorks is a mechanical CAD software that specializes in manufacturing design. In addition to many of the routine features other CAD engineering software possess, the application also allows for automated cost estimation and collaboration. This tool is perfect for those who want to add a budget tracking element to the design engineering process. 

Inventor – Autodesk creates a wide variety of software CAD systems, but this tool that rounds out the top four is meant explicitly for engineers and designers. This software allows for professional design, simulation, visualization, and documentation of 3D mechanical models. Inventor is a subscription-based service that provides flexibility in modeling options and design automation. 

This is not an exhaustive list of all the design engineering options on the market. These are the most popular options for reviewers in the broad field of engineering. They cover the range of many of the options you will see out there. Some are cloud-based and promote collaborative workflows, while others are known for their robust design features and modeling flexibility. Either way, there are many options to choose from, and the Cad Crowd team will ensure that our design engineering services assist you in finding a designer that is well-versed in the best tools for your project. 

The importance of incorporating a design engineering process

Even though you may not be dealing with the ins and outs of your project’s design, it is still crucial to understand the process many design engineers undertake to produce stellar work. One important fact is to understand the difference between the science inquiry process and design engineering process. 

It is easy to lump them in the same category as they both handle the path of ideation to project completion similarly. However, they are markedly different. The steps involved in scientific inquiry allow individuals to use cognitive tools to understand patterns that shape what we see around us. 

On the other hand, engineers slightly alter this approach by coming to a situation with the intention of changing the patterns to satisfy a client’s needs. The following process has been attributed to physical design, but it can easily be applied to digital engineering as well. Therefore, a savvy design engineer will likely approach an engineering project in the following way: 

  • Locating the need – An experienced design engineer will consult with project managers and other constituents about the problem and gather all the information they need to create a solution. 
  • Finding more information – For example, you may require a mechanical engineer to build a prototype for a new innovative 3D printing technology. While they may be well-versed in mechanical design engineering, they may have to do further research on how this emerging technology is meant to function. 
  • Creating potential solutions – Having a better idea of the problems, design engineers can then begin to develop paths for solving this issue. This will depend on the problem itself, the scope of the project, and budgetary constraints. 
  • Choosing the best path – Designers will then decide on which solution is the best based on some of the previous factors. 
  • Developing a digital model – This is where the true activity of design engineering occurs. According to the solution chosen, a design engineer will then create a digital prototype to fit the scope, specifications, and limitations of the project. 
  • Testing its function – The design software choice will come into play here. At this step, design engineers will test and evaluate the model’s operation and function. Today’s software typically provides advanced automation features for designers to examine how the real-life prototype will perform adequately. 
  • Communicating and redesigning as necessary – This will likely be a back-and-forth process between the designer and the client. The progress will be shared with the project manager, and then a decision will be made as to whether the model is ready for real-life production. 

Understanding this process will help you and your team develop an organized framework for efficiently working with a design engineer. It helps you to see and acknowledge all the steps needed to bring a design from idea to a completed project. 

Cad Crowd is ready to help through our design engineering services

Design engineering and mechanical design engineering have grown in sophistication. Everything regarding a digital prototype can be modeled using a premier design engineering program. As a result, a lot of the guesswork regarding the functionality of a design idea no longer exists. The level of detail now required for exemplary design engineering has now created a market where freelance design engineers are becoming more skilled and experienced than ever before. 

Whether you are seeking help with the production of your next construction project, or you need a digital prototype for new machinery, the team at Cad Crowd is here to help you find the design talent you need. Our design engineering services pair you with an experienced and pre-qualified freelance designer that is well-versed in the design technology of your choice. 

We can help you hire an expert designer directly, launch a design contest to receive a variety of submissions, or handle the selection process for you by finding an hourly design expert. Regardless of your design engineering or mechanical design engineering needs, the Cad Crowd team is ready to help. 

We invite you to reach out for a free estimate today.  

Design engineering freelancers and companies at your disposal

Regardless of what aspect of engineering you're looking for help in, we have a network of design engineers who would love to help. From civil and mechanical to electrical and structural, no engineering projects are out of our reach. All of our freelancers are pre-vetted and highly qualified. If you're interested in using our services, contact us for a free quote!

Brands we've worked with

Yale University School of Medicine
Tiffany & Co.
CNOOC Limited
The Boston Consulting Group

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