Engineering roles within chemical manufacturing

The chemical manufacturing sector in the UK is a multi-billion pound industry that covers a wide range of products and services.

This includes:

  • Adhesives & coatings
  • API manufacture including quality, validation and packaging
  • Organics & inorganics
  • Plastics, polymers, materials and composites
  • Agrochemicals including fertilisers and pesticides

Depending on the size of the manufacturing operation, the chemical industry requires an extensive amount of engineering support in a multitude of disciplines. These positions are open to either apprentice-trained, graduate engineers and/ or experienced workers, so there has never been a better time to consider a move into the chemical manufacturing sector.

Maintenance Engineers

  • Maintenance Engineers most commonly work on planned preventative maintenance (stopping things breaking down) or reactive maintenance (fixing things that have broken down – including fault finding).
  • Maintenance is carried out on a number of different types of equipment so candidates from mechanical or electrical & electronic backgrounds can apply for these positions. It is possible for a multi-skilled engineer to work on more than one type of equipment.

Chemical Engineer

  • Chemical Engineers focus on combining engineering, science (chemistry, physics & life science) & maths to produce, process/ transform, transport and use chemicals, materials or energy.
  • Chemical Engineers commonly concentrate on the interaction between chemicals and engineering/ equipment/ processes whether it is for process development, equipment reliability or other areas.

Continuous Improvement Engineer

  • Continuous improvement within engineering looks at how processes, equipment & systems are improved. A CI Engineer will particularly review key areas such as cost reduction, reliability, capability, process improvement, quality and efficiency.
  • CI Engineers often adopt methodologies such as lean manufacturing/ 6 sigma and utilise tools from within these such as 5S, 8D, Kaizen, Kanban etc.

Calibration Engineer

  • Calibration Engineers ensure a programme of calibration is carried out on equipment, instruments and systems to ensure they are running efficiently and minimise breakdowns.
  • They often cross over with qualification, installation and validation activities.

Process Engineer

  • Process Engineers focus on the design, roll out, operation and continued improvement of how something is done. Most commonly used in production.
  • Process Engineers most regularly come from either a chemical engineering or a mechanical engineering background.
  • They often adopt methodologies such as lean manufacturing/ 6 sigma and utilise tools from within these such as 5S, 8D, Kaizen, Kanban etc.

Mechanical Engineer

  • Mechanical Engineers combine engineering, physics and materials science for the design, testing, manufacturing, operation and maintenance of machines, products and tools.
  • Mechanical Engineers are one of the broadest disciplines as they can work across many functions such as design, R&D, manufacturing, maintenance, fitters, continuous improvement, testing, quality and other functions.

Electrical Engineers

  • A discipline which focuses on engineering relating to electrical equipment. This can fall into a number of areas including installation and maintenance.
  • Electrical Engineers most commonly require a 17th edition qualification for electrical installation/ wiring regulations as they are often involved in equipment or systems installation work.

Electronic/ Instrumentation Engineer

  • Electronic engineering utilises electrical components for use in a multitude of devices including instrumentation and control equipment.
  • An Electronic Engineer’s emphasis will be on instrumentation design, manufacturing and maintenance.

Production Engineer or Manufacturing Engineer

  • Production/ Manufacturing Engineers either bring in and look after equipment in production OR the equipment side in conjunction with process engineering.
  • They can be from a chemical engineering, mechanical engineering or electrical engineering background as they work across all types of equipment. In some niche sectors other backgrounds such as materials engineering may be desirable.

Quality Engineer

  • Quality Engineers are responsible for the development, management, auditing and continuous improvement of quality standards and systems such as FDA QSR and ISO regulations. The addition of HS (or H&S) refers to health & safety, while the addition of E means environmental.
  • Quality Engineers come from a number of disciplines such as mechanical engineering or electrical & electronic engineering, although in principle could be any engineering discipline. We often see individuals who start their career in a scientific field, move into a Quality Engineer function due to the cross over with quality assurance principles.

Automation Engineer

  • Automation Engineers are accountable for the maintenance, installation and updating of control systems for automated equipment such as Allen Bradley or Siemens S7.
  • Automation Engineers can come from a number of backgrounds such as software engineering or controls engineering. There is a high amount of cross over with software development in these roles as they are sometimes required to program within new automation languages.

If you are currently considering a move into the chemical manufacturing industry or are currently recruiting for an engineer and would like to find out more please contact our engineering recruitment team on 01246 457 718.


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Posted in: Industry News, News
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