Process Engineer Vs. Process Development Engineer

Process engineers and process development engineers are responsible for designing manufacturing processes. Learn more about the vast differences in the focus and end products of these professionals.

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Comparing Process Engineers to Process Development Engineers

Process engineers work with chemicals to develop new consumer goods, while process development engineers monitor the manufacturing of a variety of products. Readers will compare the degree requirements, annual earnings, and career outlooks for these two professionals, as well as their daily duties.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Process Engineers Bachelor's Degree $71,433 8% (Chemical Engineers)
Process Development Engineers Bachelor's Degree $76,393 10% (Industrial Engineers)

Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Process Engineers vs. Process Development Engineers

These engineering professionals may both deal with industrial worksites and strict production deadlines. The specific products they are overseeing during the manufacturing process can change on a regular basis. Process engineers design production processes related to chemical plants. Process development engineers, however, make production workflow more efficient in a number of industrial applications, including tools and electronics.

Process Engineers

As a specialized type of chemical engineer, process engineers use principles from chemistry and physics to produce oxidization and polymerization processes. They are also capable of developing new types of paper, fuel, detergents, and even cements. During their laboratory tests, they analyze data from these chemical processes and decide how to make the product on a commercial scale. When designing manufacturing processes, these engineers have to comply with environmental regulations, which may include determining the environmental impact of sourcing raw materials. They also set up rules and regulations to ensure the safety of those working with chemicals on a daily basis.

Job responsibilities of a process engineer include:

  • Planning for the safe treatment of dangerous byproducts and chemical waste
  • Determining the layout of manufacturing equipment for optimum productivity
  • Maintaining budget constraints for testing as well as operation development
  • Researching new developments in equipment and technology

Process Development Engineers

Process development engineers find issues with efficiency on production lines. Their main goal is to make the manufacturing of parts and products less wasteful. This may include requesting new, updated machines or analyzing production schedules to find gaps. Their challenge is to find a balance between a skilled, trained workforce, the latest equipment, and economically sound raw materials. During the design phase, these engineers reference their extensive knowledge of engineering specifications to implement these in the plan. During the manufacturing stage, they monitor systems for quality control to make sure products are being made according to design specifications.

Job responsibilities of a process development engineer include:

  • Developing work processes documents and providing employees with clear instructions
  • Creating training materials and programs for new workers
  • Collecting production control charts, as well as other manufacturing data
  • Meeting with project manager and other production team members

Related Careers

If you enjoy mixing chemicals and creating new products, as process engineers do, you could consider a future as a biochemist. Similarly, if you have fun developing new procedures, like process development engineers, a career as an industrial production manager could be for you.

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