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Objectives of Mechanical Engineer in Powerplant

Objectives of Mechanical Engineer in Powerplant

(OP)
Hey guys,

As everyone decides to achieve some objectives in his/her career. So as a mechanical engineer what can be the achievable objectives in terms of process improvement, management related or it could be anything. Kindly be specific as much as you people can be. Looking forward to hear from your side.

Thanks

RE: Objectives of Mechanical Engineer in Powerplant

Do It Once and Do It Right!

Sometimes its possible to do all the right things and still get bad results

RE: Objectives of Mechanical Engineer in Powerplant

Take the Engineer in Training Exam. Learn CADD. Learn Revit, Work in a medium size Engineering Consulting Firm. Initially work as HVAC CADD designer designer under a good project engineer. After 3 years take the Professional Engineering Exam. Become LEED accredited. Work as project HVAC Engineer. After 10 years open up your own engineering consulting firm or be a senior project engineer in the firm. Medium size company is better to learn lots. You would get to do all unlike in large firms usually certain people get locked in to doing specific tasks. You should learn all about chillers, cooling towers, fans, pumps, boilers, heat exchangers, cogeneration, specification writing, codes and standards.

RE: Objectives of Mechanical Engineer in Powerplant

As a mechanical engineer in the power generation industry, here is my perspective. I have worked in a nuclear power plant, in a capital projects group (split 70/30 between combined cycle projects, and environmental projects and reliability/capital replacement projects), and now at a large district energy plant. All three roles I enjoyed for different reasons and learned a lot at each one. My main objective was to work as little as possible while making the most money possible. I know, that may sound like I am a slacker but let me explain further. Each of those places saw my capabilities and all three wanted me to move up the ladder. I considered my options each time, but in the end, I didn't want to screw up a good thing. As an individual contributor, I always had my work/projects well under control. That meant I had my schedule well under control (with an occasional extended day for an emergent issue, but those were/are rare). I already made good money and had good quality of life. I get to spend plenty of time at my kids activities, working out, etc. Personal well being is more important than a job title and money. Why throw away what I already had for a few extra bucks and a lot more time commitment?

I also highly agree with Greg, you have to look at it as a series of jobs. Be prepared to move on from a company at any given time. I always keep my eye on the job market, and suggest to others to do the same. You don't know when a company will make personnel moves, realign organizations, or fold up all together. In my opinion, it is better to strike first. If the risk is there, move on while you can.



RE: Objectives of Mechanical Engineer in Powerplant

GregLocock you are very wrong. First off the market for HVAC Engineer is larger than that for a power plant engineer. All buildings being built involves HVAC engineering. How many power plants are there? Some nuclear power plants are shutting down and converting to gas fired power plants. Second HVAC engineering in addition to designing chiller plants and boiler plants would also be involved in designing power plants or cogeneration plants particularly for hospitals or large pharmaceutical firms. HVAC work is challenging and interesting. Almost every job requires creative thinking to accomplish the work. Hospital HVAC renovation or addition work is particularly challenging because the hospital services can't be interrupted. They need to be on 24 hours. They are also great candidates for power cogeneration because they need heating year round. In conventional power plants only about 35% of the fuel energy gets converted to electricity the balance is rejected to the environment. But with cogeneration the excess heat is used to produce steam or hot water or cooling with absorption chiller such that about 80% of the fuel energy is used. Some power plants also generate steam for district heating but they are not as effective as cogeneration because not all facility can use the steam year round and steam is not returned to the power plant. It is up to the user to try to recover heat from the condensate or just cool it and dump it but Code requires it be cooled to 140F prior to discharge. Hydraulic power plants are not reliable source of power. Their primary aim is regulating water for the community thus often not all its generating capacity if operated.

RE: Objectives of Mechanical Engineer in Powerplant

Quote (lilliput1 )

How many power plants are there?

Thousands (and that's not counting what's under development and/or construction).

RE: Objectives of Mechanical Engineer in Powerplant

lilliput1,

Not to get into some kind of pissing contest, but I imagine that the sheer variety of equipment involved and the technical challenges of huge steam and gas turbines, the precision-built generators capable of powering a city apiece, the massive boiler plant, the high pressure steam pipework which is so hot it emits light, the endless list of ancillary equipment such as mills, demin plants, conveyors, pipelines, fans, pumps, etc would exceed that of some sheet metal duct and a few fans and heat exchangers. And the powerplant guys get to play with fans and heat exchangers too, so that just leaves the origami with the sheet-metal duct... smile

RE: Objectives of Mechanical Engineer in Powerplant

I believe that what lilliput1 says is that there are more jobs available in the HVAC industry than in power plants. By contrast the power plant environment has a lot of technical challenges unmatch in the HVAC industry as ScottyUK is stating with some exceptions such as designing and installing absorption systems for medium size facilities such as hospitals.

RE: Objectives of Mechanical Engineer in Powerplant

Quote (chicopee)

the power plant environment has a lot of technical challenges unmatch in the HVAC industry
That's a very bold statement, and shows ignorance of what HVAC engineers do and the challenges we contend with on a daily basis by you and Scotty. We have steam systems too, and if not designed and operated properly can and have killed people. Are HVAC boilers as big as a power plant's? No, but that doesn't make designing and selecting them any less challenging. To say the challenges we face are different from those in a power plant is much better statement.

I'm with Lilliput. What I enjoy about the HVAC design is the variety of systems and projects I get to work on. One week, I may be designing HVAC for a 2,000 SF strip mall store, the next working on a 50,000 SF auditorium or renovating your kid's school. I find a certain satisfaction of driving through town and being able to point out buildings I had a part in designing.

Back to the OP's question, it really depends on what type of mechanical engineer you want to be, what kind of work you want to do. As already evidenced in this discussion, there are a multitude of types of mechanical engineer. Deciding that should be your first object, to say one field is better than another is foolish, all mechanical engineering fields contribute to society; the best field is the field you enjoy the most. Once you've decided what kind of work you want to do you can look at establishing goals specific to your choice. Lilliput's list is great for becoming an HVAC engineer, it is not great for becoming a power plant engineer or automotive engineer or aeronautic engineer.

RE: Objectives of Mechanical Engineer in Powerplant

dbill74,

It was a slightly tongue-in-cheek reply to lilliput1's very opinionated post which preceded mine; sorry if that didn't come through in print. smile

Building Services is exposed to a set of commercial pressures we don't really see in power generation. We generally work within a fairly specialised industry group where there is quite a high level of technical competence; it makes things easier when people actually understand what you are talking about. My brief forays into building services to support works taking place on our site, where I've had to deal with architects, contractors and consultants has left me pulling my hair out. They don't understand my world, and I suspect I don't understand theirs too well either. Like you say, different challenges and different rules.

RE: Objectives of Mechanical Engineer in Powerplant

It really is often hard to implement electrical work because most of their designs are diagrammatic. Maybe they should be more specific like HVAC ductwork drawings.

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