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Drafters per Engineers

Drafters per Engineers

Drafters per Engineers

Our engineering deptartment is made-up of engineers and detail drafters. I was wondering if anyone had an opinion on what a good ratio of drafters to engineers was or what their paticular engineering department's make-up was like. Currently about half of our engineers use SolidWorks to make models and then pass them on to the drafters, while the veterens leave that up to the drafters.
Thanks for your help.  

RE: Drafters per Engineers

I think that would depend on how much CAD the dept. does.
For example an R&D dept. that produces a product every once and a while might not even need drafters.
On the other hand I know a company (actually many) that have one P.Eng. and the rest of the 15 people in the dept. do CAD all day.



RE: Drafters per Engineers

I think there was a very similar question to this somewhere on this site in the last few months, try and take a look, may have been in forum731: How to Improve Myself to Get Ahead in My Work forum732: Overcoming Obstacles Getting My Work Done or forum404: Mechanical engineering other topics.

There are so many factors that play into this that I'm not sure there would be a meaningfull rule of thumb.

We have something like 10 mechanial type Engineers and only one real Designer (who gets to be called an Engineer so he gets paid enough).


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RE: Drafters per Engineers

I'd be more concerned with the sum competence of the engineerin-drafter team than the quantities.  One good drafter can easily outpace 3 average ones (not even counting time spent redlining the work of demicompetents).

RE: Drafters per Engineers

I agree with TheTick.  Quality will make a huge diffeence.

The way your department is set up will matter alot too.  Do the engineers check the prints or do you have a dedicated checker?

When I was drafting I always outpaced the engineer I was working with.  That included making the models myself.  But even that depends on what type of work you are doing.

I am still suprised, with all the cutbacks, to see companies utilizing designers as much as they do.  One reason I got my degree because I saw more and more companies merging the two.  Although my current company utilizes designers.  The engineers do not create models or detail anything.  We do check though.  Although I feel it is both a blessing and a curse to not be able to work on models.

I couldn't even guess what a good ratio would be here.  Our overseas designers sometimes take 30 times longer than it would take me to model/detail myself(wish I was joking).  While our internal designers do much better, they still take two or three times what I know it would take me.  I guess having a drafter/designer background let's me see things differently.  I know when they are BS'ing me.  

The good side is that I do not have time to model/detail anyways with all the paper shoveling I do.  Our processes are horrible.  So having even poor designers saves me from spending 80 hours a week at work.

RE: Drafters per Engineers

I believe in Conservation of Competence.  There is a certain level of skill and knowledge required to finish a given project.  Any attempt at reducing the skill required in one area requires addition of skill in another area.

RE: Drafters per Engineers

Our company produces plans, based on designs by engineers, for any one of a number of heavy infrastructure works.  Our ratio is one detailer for 3 engineers.  Much more than that and you can't keep the detailers busy.

I hope this helps.

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RE: Drafters per Engineers

Designing large production machines with experienced guys we had 2 draggers per engineer.


Greg Locock

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RE: Drafters per Engineers

We have about 12 project engineers at this facility, who generally tend to do their own drafting.  Depending on the importance and visibility of the project, I get to create all of the "official" models and drawings, otherwise I am usually the designated checker.  If the project engineer is feeling rushed I am avoided like the plague, as they are well aware that their drawings will not pass my desk without extensive revision (with good reason).  There are some projects that I have yet to work on that I dread ever getting involved in.
Some days I feel like we have 12 individual engineering departments, each following their own rules.  I keep hoping that one day management will become proactive regarding the situation, but with the economy as it currently is, a short term $ seems to beat long term $$$ every time.

"Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor." - Robert Hunter

RE: Drafters per Engineers

I have always seen one drafter for two engineers.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Drafters per Engineers

We have four engineers and no drafters.  This is in land development.  
It's nice not to have to send back redlines three times for the same thing, but I have to do it all myself.
I think I could keep four drafters busy, but we don't have much work.

RE: Drafters per Engineers

My former dept head espoused the pyramid: 1 engineer to 2 Sr Designers (non-degreed but very experienced), to 4 drafters.  This was in a large HVAC projects context.

Personally I found it more economical and speedy to eliminate all but one drafter, to eliminate the time spent on redlining and rework.

RE: Drafters per Engineers

With the old generation of engineers and drafters, the ratio tended to be 1 engineer per 1 drafter. Those engineers did not use to make any kind of drawings and all the graphic work relied on the drafter.

Nowadays I am afraid that part of the CAD work is done by the engineer aided by engineering programs and most of the skilled drafters were substituted by CAD monkeys. A proportion of 5 engineers per 1 drafter is not unsual.


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