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Industrial Engineering Technicians


Industrial engineering is a direct outgrowth of the Industrial Revolution, which began in England in the 18th century and later spread to the United States. By linking a power source, such as a steam engine, to simple mechanical devices, early mechanical and industrial engineers were able to design and build factories to rapidly and economically produce textiles, clothing, and other materials.

Today, factories in the United States and around the world produce almost all of our consumer goods. This tremendous growth led to a need for industrial engineers, who evaluate not only the machines that go into the factory but also the raw materials, the people who run the machines, the costs and efficiency of operations, and other factors that affect the success of an industrial operation.

Industrial engineering as a separate specialty emerged during the 20th century. For as long as there have been industrial engineers, however, there have been skilled assistants who work with them and handle tasks that do not require the engineer's direct involvement. Today's industrial engineering technicians are the direct descendants of those assistants. As the years have gone by, the number, variety, and complexity of the responsibilities falling to industrial engineering technicians have increased greatly. In the past, assistants could rely purely on common sense and on-the-job experience, but today's industrial engineering technicians must be specially trained and educated before entering the workplace.

Today, the scope of industrial engineering goes far beyond the factory. The principles of work flow and quality control are now applied to other work environments, including corporate offices and retail stores. The industrial engineering technician is recognized and respected as a team member in evaluating and improving production and working conditions.

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