Mechanical engineering and Artificial Intelligence: The power synergy - Hindustan Times
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Mechanical engineering and Artificial Intelligence: The power synergy

ByHindustan Times
May 23, 2023 12:03 PM IST

Author - Mahavir A Bhattacharya, assistant professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, NMIMS Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has already proven to be a game-changer in many industries, including health care, finance, and transportation. With the potential to automate routine tasks and provide real-time analysis, AI is quickly becoming an essential tool for businesses worldwide. The mechanical engineering industry is no exception.

Artificial intelligence.(Thinkstock)
Artificial intelligence.(Thinkstock)

As the world is advancing rapidly with the adoption of AI in various fields, the role of mechanical engineers has become more crucial than ever before. AI has provided mechanical engineers with tools and methods to revolutionise the industry. From design and prototyping to manufacturing and maintenance, AI is playing a key role in the mechanical engineering field. The use of AI in mechanical engineering is growing rapidly, and it is expected to revolutionise the field in the coming years.

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Mechanical engineers have traditionally been known for designing and developing machines, systems, and processes. But with the rise of AI, their skills are now more in demand than ever before. AI can be integrated into mechanical engineering processes to create smarter and more efficient machines. In fact, many companies are now hiring mechanical engineers specifically for their AI skills.

Despite the progress made in AI, there is still a significant demand for skilled mechanical engineers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of mechanical engineers was projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, adding about 12,800 new jobs only in the US. Not to mention the exploding demand globally. With the integration of AI, mechanical engineers with knowledge of AI can create innovative solutions that can meet the growing demand for intelligent systems.

But why the sudden demand for mechanical engineers in AI? The answer is simple: AI is changing the way we interact with machines. With AI, machines can learn from data and improve over time, allowing for more efficient and effective processes. Mechanical engineers who are skilled in AI can design machines that can optimise their own performance, leading to increased productivity and reduced costs.

While AI can automate several processes, it cannot replace human expertise entirely. Mechanical engineers would furthermore be needed to design and build the machines and systems that integrate AI. Additionally, they can use their expertise to analyse data generated by these systems and create solutions that can improve their performance.

The future of AI in mechanical engineering is promising. AI-powered machines are capable of performing tasks that are beyond human capability, such as analysing vast amounts of data and predicting future outcomes.

Studying mechanical engineering can provide several career opportunities. Mechanical engineers can work in a wide range of industries, including automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, and robotics. With the integration of AI, mechanical engineers with knowledge of AI can work in creating intelligent systems for these industries:

Design optimisation: One of the key areas where AI is making an impact in mechanical engineering is in the design process. AI algorithms can assist mechanical engineers in designing more efficient and optimized systems by analysing data from previous designs and suggesting improvements. AI-powered design software can help engineers in the optimization of the design process, leading to better-performing systems with reduced development time and cost.

Manufacturing and quality control: AI is also transforming the manufacturing process by improving quality control and reducing inspection time. The integration of sensors and data analytics into mechanical systems allows engineers to monitor the performance of machines and systems in real-time, identifying potential problems before they become serious issues. AI algorithms can also assist in quality control processes by detecting defects and anomalies in the manufactured components and systems, significantly reducing inspection time and improving the quality of manufactured products.

Energy optimisation: AI can also be used to optimise the energy consumption of mechanical systems. By identifying and reducing energy waste, AI algorithms can make mechanical systems more efficient, thereby reducing their carbon footprint. This has significant implications for sustainability and renewable energy, as mechanical engineers work to design and build the infrastructure necessary to support the transition to a more sustainable future.

Robotics and predictive maintenance: Another area where AI is making an impact is in the field of robotics. AI-driven robots can perform complex tasks with high precision and speed, reducing labour costs and increasing the production rate. Predictive maintenance is another technique that uses data and AI algorithms to predict the failure of mechanical systems before it occurs. By detecting potential failures early, engineers can schedule maintenance activities to prevent costly downtime and repairs.

The future of AI in mechanical engineering looks so bright, that you have to wear shades. AI offers new and innovative ways for engineers to design, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems. However, there are also challenges to be addressed, including the need for skilled professionals and ethical considerations. With careful consideration of these challenges, AI can be leveraged to revolutionise the mechanical engineering field and drive it forward into a new era of innovation and progress.

Author - Mahavir A Bhattacharya, assistant professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, NMIMS Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering.

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