Mechanical engineering

The engineering (also known as Mechanical Engineering ) is a classical branch of industry and a classical engineering discipline. This research area includes the development, design and production of machines.

As an industry of mechanical engineering from the craft of metalworking was created by the craftsmen and smiths, as an engineering discipline we understand it today. Due to systematic scientific terms of classical physics, and in particular classical mechanics

  • 3.1 Germany
  • 3.2 Switzerland
  • 3.3 Europe
  • 4.1 Mechanical BC
  • 5.1 University, University of Applied Sciences
  • 5.2 Some college, technical school
  • 5.3 Dual vocational training

Topics of mechanical engineering

Engineering as an engineering discipline


Mechanical engineering is dominated by engineers, technicians and skilled workers. This work depending on company size and focus of the operation of idea, design, costing, design, construction, optimization, research and development, production and sales of all kinds of machines and their components. On the basis of individual machine components, products or systems are planned of the utmost complexity, such as production lines and entire factories, developed, built and operated.

For example, the design theory deals with the goals and methods, the need to consider a Maschinenbau-Ingenieur/-Techniker in the design of technical systems by standards (eg DIN standards). Meanwhile, the technical systems with the aid of CAD programs are designed on the computer. The thus generated CAD files can be subjected and made ​​of a CNC machine then a simulation (including the finite element method, among others, is one of them ). Another way is the reverse engineering in the existing of a body, a computer model is made which you can then edit, such as free-form surfaces of car bodies or turbine and compressor blades. Due to the increasing automation of power systems today are equipped with a complex measurement and control and regulation technology, which are designed as mechanical engineers.

Basic subjects

Basic subjects that are taught at the beginning of studies in mechanical engineering, the natural sciences mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering thermodynamics, engineering mechanics, electrical engineering and fluid mechanics / fluid mechanics and the technical foundation subjects computer science, materials science / material science, production and manufacturing engineering, design engineering, machine elements and measuring and control technology.


Mathematics is one of the most important disciplines of mechanical engineering. With their models are built, which are used for simulation algorithms, differential equations and systems of equations. With the simulations, one can then check components for their strength or predict currents, such as those incurred in turbines or internal combustion engines, for example, on the computer. The mathematical models are represented by the algebra, calculus (introduced by Newton and Leibniz and expanded with the complex numbers by Gauss ), the differential equations and vector analysis provided ( important insights by Bernoulli, Laplace, Stokes ) or numerics. Since the calculations become more complex and expensive and these can not be calculated by hand in a short period, one uses to solve math problems and more often written for software, such as Maple or Matlab.

Materials Science

The Materials Science belongs to the materials science and engineering is a field of science that attempts by the methods of materials science, application-oriented relationships between the structure and the properties of the materials to produce. Based on this through specific structural change, such as in iron - carbon alloy steel hardening and tempering or bring by alloying elements, desired property profiles set. When steel, one of the most common materials used in engineering, such as weldability or workability is adjusted by varying the carbon content. Other properties, such as corrosion resistance may be achieved by adding alloys. In the industries in which the weight plays a major role, such as the aerospace, composites and aluminum alloys are used instead of the steels. Important material characteristics that are necessary to the use and design of components are the yield strength, tensile strength and the modulus of elasticity.

Technical Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics, also known as thermodynamics, is a branch of classical physics. It originated during the 19th century based on the work of James Prescott Joule, Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot, Julius Robert Mayer and Hermann von Helmholtz. It is the teaching of energy, their appearance and ability to do work. It proves to be versatile in chemistry, biology and technology. With their help, you can not explain, for example, why certain chemical reactions occur spontaneously and others. The technical thermodynamics is a purely macroscopic theory, which assumes that, the physical properties of a system described sufficiently well with macroscopic state variables. It is an effective theory, since it neglects the motion of individual atoms and molecules, and only average quantities such as pressure and temperature considered. More topics in thermodynamics, heat transfer and cooling technology, which deals with the extraction of heat by appropriate refrigerant.

Engineering Mechanics

The Engineering Mechanics is a part of professional engineering. Your scientific basis is the classical mechanics, which in turn is a branch of physics. Branches of engineering mechanics are, eg, statics, strength of materials, kinematics, continuum mechanics and dynamically loaded machines, the machine dynamics. The tasks of engineering mechanics is to provide the theoretical calculation method for the determination of forces, moments and other stresses, for example, materials science, mechanical engineering and structural engineering. The actual design, selection of materials and the like is then carried out by these application-oriented disciplines in which the Engineering Mechanics is an auxiliary science.

Manufacturing Technology

The manufacturing technology is a discipline of engineering that deals with the production of components, in particular with the questions how a component can be manufactured to a certain tolerance, and how to customize it most cost effective. The manufacturing processes are thereby defined by DIN 8580. These are:

  • Urformen
  • Transform
  • Separate
  • Put
  • Coating
  • Change material properties

Electrical Engineering

The electrical engineering or electrical engineering called, is the systematic application of technical electrodynamics and deals with the causes and effects of current and voltage and, in particular the possibilities for their technical use. After inter alia, of Galvani, Volta and Ampere important theoretical insights into current and voltage were obtained Ohm discovered with the proportionality between these variables, one of the most important relationships, which is reproduced in the Ohm's law. By further discoveries, such as magnetism and radio waves to electrical devices have been becoming increasingly complex and got more and more moving into the daily life. With the first computer, Zuse Z3 also launched the digital age. The invention of the transistor in 1947 circuits could, especially in computers, be extremely reduced. Also an important invention was the development of the thyristor. This semiconductor power electronics could now be controlled and regulated. This is an important foundation to build more efficient electric drives and convert to electrical energy more efficiently can.

Fluid mechanics and fluid mechanics

The fluid mechanics or fluid mechanics is the physics of fluids. This term refers to media (eg liquids, gases, mixtures, solids (eg sand, dust, etc.) or plasma), which under the influence of shear stresses deform indefinitely ( Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluid ). The names fluid mechanics or fluid dynamics are used instead of " Fluid Mechanics ". The goal is the theoretical calculation of currents, as they occur in real processes, eg in pipelines, in internal combustion engines or behind flow around bodies ( air resistance on vehicles ). In the applications of this metrics are used, with which one the characteristics (eg behavior and nature of the fluid flow regime and shape ) can describe the fluids. With the principles of the continuity equation ( Everything flows purely, also flows back out), the laws of conservation of mass, energy and momentum and the Navier -Stokes equations, the flow processes are described mathematically. A scientific field that uses fluid mechanics, the rheology, which deals with the deformation and flow behavior of matter.

Measurement and control technology

The measurement technique is concerned with the experimental measuring systems, because although each determinable size has an exact value, but you can not capture this exactly due to measurement errors. The measurement technique can be seen in the experimental measurement, when it comes to the elucidation of effects and the highest possible accuracy is required and divided into the measurement technology for technical applications. While a robust measurement technology is required for technical applications, but which is also cost-effective. A further requirement is as specific as necessary, and to measure as soon as possible. The calculated measure consists of the measured value, a measurement error and a unit of measurement ( is an SI unit or quantity derived thereof). The measure looks for example like this: ( 10 ± 0.1 ) V or 10 V ± 1%. The quantities to be measured can be in electrical (current, voltage, ...) and non-electrical (temperature, pressure, time, mass, etc.) divided sizes. Non- electrical quantities can be converted into electrical signals by corresponding effects ( Seebeck effect, law of induction, ... ) which are for control technology (see also measurement and control technology) and automation needs.

Drive Technology

Due to the drive technology is a machine according to the EU Directive only to a complete machine because can move independently only by a drive parts of the machine. Starting from a motor which generates the movement it is guided by shafts, belts and / or transmission to the active site. In stationary machines nowadays electric motors, such as three-phase synchronous motors or stepper motors (also linear motors in exceptional cases) incorporated as engines, as can be very well synchronized by these mechanical movements. However, if the supply of energy, unlike previously, can not be provided through a power line, as is the case with most non- stationary machines - occurring about in many types of vehicles - so it is in such cases a predominantly those types of drives that do not require power line. In the decades following the Industrial Revolution, a continuous rotary motion by a motor was provided centrally and passed through a vertical shaft and drive belt in the drive technology. By appropriate cam, linkage and / or belt drive the rotary motion could be converted into a clocked translational motion. Nowadays, instead of the central drive a decentralized system of drives in machines is increasingly incorporated, ie there is no longer a motor that powers everything on a wave. Instead, take on many small engines, the individual movements. Frequently, these are to servo motors that can perform a variety of movements by programming the drive control. For this reason it is called servo drives and electronic cams.

Design Technology

Technical drawing, CAD, design theory, functional requirements and specifications.

Engineering as an industry


The beginning of German engineering goes back to Johann Zimmermann. He is considered the founder of the machine tool industry in Germany. Its built in Chemnitz in 1848 factory was the first factory in Germany and the solid continent to the construction of machine tools.

Mechanical engineering is one of the leading industries in Germany, which is very designed for export.

With more than 900,000 employees in Germany and approximately 300,000 employees in foreign countries, a turnover of around € 130 billion will be ( 60% of exports ) generates. He is medium - entrepreneurial embossed with its approximately 6,600 member companies of which 95% have fewer than 500 employees. The per capita sales in mechanical engineering is around 148,000 euros.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, took place between 2003 ( index 100 ) and 2006 following growth instead: Orders (index 117 ), employment ( index 112). From the economic crisis between autumn 2008 and spring 2010 in the mechanical engineering was concerned, but was able to recover in the second half of 2010. Currently, the engineering benefits again by orders from abroad, especially from China and jobs in the renewable energy sector.

The Association of German Engineers ( VDI) is the largest association of engineers and scientists in Germany.

Around 3,000 companies in the capital goods industry are organized in the industry association VDMA.

Automotive manufacturers and suppliers are represented by the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).


Until the turn of the millennium the engineering industry that Switzerland, which generated the largest export volume was. Today he is with a share of 14.9% in second place behind the leading chemical and pharmaceutical industry and in the watch industry. Structurally, it is composed of numerous small and medium -sized enterprises ( SMEs); Moreover, there are also some larger and large corporations.


The engineering has received in Europe through the formation of the EU a strong relief. Until now had each machine comply with national standards of the country of the operator. Through the implementation of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, which is binding for the countries of the EU since 29 December 2009, the same machine can be exported to all EU Member States. Under this directive, a machine is an assembly of linked parts, at least one of which is movable and is not directly driven by human or animal power. Machines, which are intended for raising and lowering, for example a pulley, constitute an exception. Each device that conforms to the criteria of the directive must be labeled with the CE mark. Thus, for example, is also a classic mousetrap a machine, because the energy that the person has applied to wind, will not leave at once, but is saved by a spring.

History of Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest engineering disciplines, whose scientific background classical physics (especially classical mechanics ) is. In the 18th century the engineer for independent profession was. The findings of the natural sciences were targeted applications. The time of the industrial revolution towards changing the world for mass production.

Mechanical BC

  • 700 BC: Babylonian pumping stations in Assyria, engineering works
  • 550 BC: Lathe, first machine tools
  • 340 BC: Aristotle definition: lever, screw are called 'machine'
  • 200 BC: Heron of Alexandria first heat engine

Training and Study

University, University of Applied Sciences

At universities (including technical universities ) and technical colleges is studying mechanical engineering one of the three classical training routes (in addition Electrical Engineering and Civil Engineering) for engineering students. As a rule, 10 semester are given ( to the polytechnics 8) as a standard period of study, with successful graduation of the academic degree Dipl. -Ing. (or Dipl. -Ing. ( FH) ) awarded. As part of the standardization of the structure of higher education in Europe a degree structure is introduced ( the Bologna process). This process should be completed by 2010. Up to this time the universities should abolish the Diploma program and replace it with a bachelor degree program. The students were able to other 2-4 semesters achieve the degrees Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Engineering and the academic degrees of Master of Science or Master of Engineering after 6 to 8 semesters of study. Some universities (eg the University of Munich ) offers even in the winter semester 2011/2012 and summer semester 2012 at the Diploma program and is only in the winter semester 2012/2013 switch to the bachelor's degree programs. Other universities, such as the Zittau / Görlitz will also continue to offer until further notice the Diploma program.

Since the range and size of products by, for example, a small movement on household appliances and motors to the mass-produced and giant bucket wheel excavators ranges, today, an engineer can no longer cope with these tasks alone. One therefore specializes in his later study on a certain subject area (eg, lightweight construction, production engineering, textile engineering, marine engineering, paper technology, ergonomics, and others). Partly fact alone courses such as computer science engineering, manufacturing and logistics, process engineering, process engineering, power engineering, automotive engineering, aviation and space technology, mechatronics have established themselves and others.

Technical college, technical school

In addition to the engineering education at universities and colleges in the German-speaking countries is the non-university training as a mechanical engineer from traditional great importance. In Germany, the 4-semester professional education requires a specialized vocational training and several years of professional experience and is completed with the examination to become a certified technician. In Switzerland, one must after six semesters and passed the diploma examination dipl. Technician TS / HF call. In Austria there is in addition to the education at universities and colleges, the opportunity to complete the training as an engineer at a technical college.

Dual vocational training

In the DACH region of Mechanical Engineering offers a wide range of industrial-technical vocational training within the dual system. Typical apprenticeships are technical draftsman, construction mechanic, machinist, industrial mechanic or mechatronics.