Are you looking to start, or even progress a career as a Reliability Engineer? If so, make sure you read on as we’ve created this mini guide to help you understand what to expect from a career as a Reliability Engineer and tips for progressing your career opportunities.
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What is a Reliability Engineer?
A Reliability Engineer plays a key role in the lifecycle of a product. They oversee the assessment and management of the reliability of operations that could impact a product or business. This helps test current processes and highlight any failures or issues. This usually relates to manufacturing or engineering businesses that need to ensure their processes and equipment can reliably deliver the results required.
The primary focus is to determine the reliability of components, equipment and processes. For example, if certain processes appear vulnerable to breaking, this can be highlighted by the Reliability Engineer proactivity, to help avoid such issues and help sustain high levels of productivity and efficiency. By documenting, prioritising, planning, delivering and evaluating a plant’s operations, a Reliability Engineer helps minimise the risk and impact of failure in equipment and processes.
Within reliability engineering, you may focus on areas such as: loss elimination, risk management and life cycle asset management. Each organisation will be structured slightly differently so daily tasks and responsibilities will vary, but the core principles will usually be around preventing failures within a manufacturing/engineering setting.
Reliability Engineers may also be asked to help conduct analysis into how an operation could cut costs while not impacting the risk of failures/limitations. This involves having a comprehensive understanding of all the different elements of the process and testing to find potential answers. As well as identifying potential failures, reliability engineering helps to explain the root causes and underlying reasons for such potential issues. This can create valuable insights to help innovate and seek continual improvements.
Reliability Engineer Job Description & Responsibilities
A Reliability Engineer will have a keen interest in data and numbers, often collecting and analysing key data metrics from processes or components. From here, they can create statistical analysis, charts, drawings, and reports to help illustrate and showcase potential issues within a product lifecycle or business process and how to improve it. Many of these issues involve taking a macro look at other factors and helping businesses make the best decisions.
A Reliability Engineer may work in an office as well as out in the field/in a plant.
Although daily tasks will vary, the following can be typical of a Reliability Engineer:
- Identifying and reporting on potential failures within a process
- Designing new systems
- Applying general engineering knowledge to solve problems
- Performing tests and analysis
- Check new systems or installations
- Work closely with budgets and finances to help reduce costs
- Conduct routine engineering calculations
- Liaise with relevant teams on outcomes of tests/analysis
The scoop of work will depend on what the business is producing, and the components involved. Some manufacturing plants may have relatively simple systems, while others may be more complex.
Some common forms of analysis related to reliability engineering include:
- Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA)
- Reliability hazard analysis
- Dynamic reliability block-diagram analysis
- Fault tree analysis
- Root cause analysis
- Accelerated testing
- Avoidance of single point of failure (SPOF)
- Functional analysis and functional failure analysis (e.g., function FMEA, FHA or FFA)
- Testability analysis
- Human error analysis
- Operational hazard analysis
- Preventative/Planned Maintenance Optimization (PMO)
- Manual screening
How to Become a Reliability Engineer?
It would be expected to have a BS degree in engineering or something related. Mechanical or Electrical engineering are common places to start. There are opportunities to do an apprenticeship that would also give candidates adequate training.
The job is also very mathematical so those who enjoy maths and numbers are likely to be suited to such a role.
There are many entry level roles for reliability engineering where candidates may only need 0-2 years experience. Other roles may require slightly more experience/credentials, depending on the job description.
Certain businesses may require specific industry knowledge. This is where past work experience can be important, highlighting the benefits of doing work placements or internships to help achieve this.
Reliability Engineer Tips and Advice
In some instances, having an internship or experience within a certain industry or setting can help a candidate stand out in a competitive field.
Master’s degrees may also help but aren’t necessarily required unless stated.
Professional qualifications and skills are always valued and illustrating competencies such as being able to read and produce technical drawings and schematics will help in any engineering job search.
Some jobs may also ask for skills, such as experience using the application of FMEA, QCPC, risk and root-cause analysis techniques.
As for any engineering role, it’s always beneficial to keep learning. In particular, staying abreast with industry knowledge as well as the latest trends in software, equipment and other tools, will help you stay competitive in the job market.
Having experience and interests that illustrate someone who is an active problem solver and has a genuine interest in analysis and strategy will help a candidate succeed in any engineering role.
Get Started with BMR Solutions
If you’re looking to start your career as a Reliability Engineer, or even looking for your next career move, make sure you submit your CV with us here at BMR Solutions. This way we can help match you with the very top engineering employers.
You can also sign up for job alerts with us so you get notified of any new jobs that you may be interested in.
To learn more about what we do here at BMR Solutions, simply get in touch and talk to our friendly team about how we can help you progress your career.