What Is Process Engineering and Two Industries That Use It

Process engineering is a complicated and vast field of engineering. Almost all industries make use of process engineering including industrial manufacturing, the food industry, chemical manufacturing, the mining industry, nuclear industry, and even software development. This article explores what process engineering encompasses and how the mining industry and food industry use process engineers.

What Does Process Engineering Entail?

Process engineers design the processes, provide the equipment and manage the process to turn raw materials into products. They are essential to any manufacturing function especially for continuous processes in manufacturing. 

Planning and implementing the most efficient ways to create products with as little waste as possible, is just one of the tasks that a process engineer is responsible for. Process engineers monitor the entire manufacturing process and optimise the systems for minimal waste and maximum profitability.

Process engineers will invent new processes and technology in the creation of products or they can optimise old processes. This is an inter-departmental discipline and process engineers will work with different engineers which adds an element of difficulty to the complexity of process engineering.

Process Engineering in the Mining Industry

Mineral processing is a specialist field in chemical engineering and it is one of the fields that rely heavily on process engineers. Process engineers will design and develop the systems that remove the valuable metals and other minerals from the ore. They further design and implement the processes that refine and beneficiate the minerals into a form that manufacturers use to make everything from catalytic converters to smartphones.

Process engineers are involved in all the stages of processing raw materials. They are responsible for overseeing, planning and organising the extraction of metal and non-metals from the ore that is being mined. Transforming impure metals of low value and recycled matter into products of value marks the process engineer as a highly sought after professional. They even create new materials from what is considered waste – so one man’s trash is truly another’s treasure. A process engineer in the mining industry may be required to work on-site in open pit or underground mines where they will conduct testing and research. Their work may consist primarily of looking for new, innovative methods to improve the production of precious metals.

The following video from North-West University speaks about process engineering and mineral engineering.

Process Engineering in the Food Industry

Food process engineers aid in the development and refinement of agricultural and food products. These process engineers are typically involved in researching how to create new food products and how to produce existing products in a better and more efficient way. In this field, a process engineer may be required to act as a manager of other workers, as specialised consultants, or even as a marketer of the food products they are involved in producing.

A process engineer’s typical tasks may vary depending on where they work and with what sector in the food industry they are involved in. A typical food process engineer will evaluate existing equipment and systems making sure that these run optimally. They will be in charge of determining and implementing the specifications and scope for new projects. While working with scientists, the process engineer will take the concept of a product and bring it to fruition. They are also involved in the layout of equipment to ensure optimal production. If there are problems with equipment, they troubleshoot to find the problems and then solve them. Ultimately, they make sure that food products are safe for human consumption and are made in an optimal way. 

Mukund Karwe, a food engineering and processing expert, talks about process engineering in food in this video.

A Complicated and Vast Field of Engineering

First and foremost process engineers are problem solvers. Process engineering as a field is extremely important, as every product you use exists because of the work of a process engineer. We trust you have gained some insight into the hard work these professionals perform. FRPD provides process engineering services and is pleased to offer turnkey innovation in engineering to our clients, so contact us today.

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Author

  • Dr Ryno Pretorius
  • Beyers Hauptfleisch
  • Fritz Ferreira
  • Maarifa Kidoge

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