So all along I have basically introduced chemical and process engineering, and have looked at them as a single thing. The difference between the two really lies in minor structural differences and in some cases industrial affiliation terminology. I will now attempt to simplify these differences. Process engineering is a subset of chemical engineering and loosely put any chemical engineer can take up a process engineering position. Process engineering is more "technical" and "mechanical" than chemical engineering would be. The process engineering is concerned with equipment and vessel sizing during design, and optimization during operations. The process engineer uses the mass and energy balances, knowledge of thermodynamics, reaction kinetics etc, to design vessels, and equipment, size pumps, select materials of construction, motor sizing, valve selection, controller selection etc. The process engineer is also actively involved in the electrical and electronic selection and design aspects of design. As such, this position in many organisations is not strictly limited to chemical engineering graduates, mechanical engineers also ferry well within this class of engineers. Evidently when they do, they need to be well furnished with the physical phenomenon that governs reactions and chemical engineering.
Chemical engineering, on the side of the same hand, is concerned more with the research and development (R&D) side of engineering. She leads a team of other engineers and scientists to scale up new production technologies or new products. She is also active within the optimization of existing equipment and processes. In this light not all process engineers can be Chemical engineers but any chemical engineer can be a process engineer.
Having established what chemical and process engineering both are, the third line of specialization a chemical engineering major affords anyone who holds it is product development. A product design engineer is the bridge between the technical aspects of designing and the customer. The product engineer is the person who is involved in the design of a new product, the product development cycle - the processes, and technicalities, and the "packaging" of the product to appeal to the consumer. The product engineer's role is to make sure the final product sells - PROFITABLY!! As such, coupled to the technical know how, these need to have a creative mindset, a holistic view of their intended clientele. Product engineers package the concept in the new product and need to make a bold statement to any person - "How have you even been leaving without this product!?".
Product engineers also take up idea protection measures like patenting and copyrighting. After all what good is an idea if anyone can replicate it without paying for it! This lot of engineers is the artistic type, the kind that can draw up new methods and methodologies, products, marketing strategies - u name it. This is when science, business and art marry! Evidently, regardless of your chosen field of study, with a few extra courses you too can become an engineer (told you everybody can be an engineer!). Beyond artistic visualizations, and business acumen, a product engineer also needs an understanding of math and statistical procedure, product knowledge, trends in alternative and rival products and strong analytic and problem solving capabilities.
A product Engineer needs intimate knowledge of their product and their intended market.
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Any comments, queries, additions are welcome within the commenting section, join in and we can all discover what chemical engineering is together!