Mechanical Design Concepts for Non-Mechanical Engineers


Mechanical engineering in simple terms deals with any equipment that moves; this is what makes it perhaps the most broad and diverse of engineering disciplines. The mechanical discipline essentially derives its breadth from the need to design and manufacture everything from small, even nano, individual devices, such as measuring instruments, to large systems such as machine tools and power plants. Easy installation and serviceability are critical to the success of a mechanical system as is operational and design flexibility.

Understanding parameters governing the selection and design of mechanical systems is essential for identifying suitable systems for a particular application. In order to place all these issues in context, a good working knowledge of mechanical principles combined with a solid understanding of key concepts such as force, energy and heat is important.

Mechanical power transmission is discussed from the point of view of gears, couplings and bearings. Proper selection and sizing of these critical mechanical components is vital to ensuring optimum performance and improved efficiency of a mechanical system.

Recently, fluid engineering has undergone significant change and therefore a detailed overview of the underlying principles of fluid power and its applications is vital. The theory behind heat transfer, the various heat transfer mechanisms and the design of heat-exchangers is also examined.

Any study of mechanical systems would be incomplete without including a review of mechanical vibrations. This will help you in monitoring, controlling and analysing vibrations and in conducting fault diagnoses in mechanical systems.

The field of maintenance has evolved into a separate and highly specialised function. An effective maintenance regime helps identify failure symptoms and enables initiation of corrective measures, for preventing unscheduled and sometimes catastrophic failures. Lastly, a discussion on the numerous standards, codes and regulations governing mechanical systems, helps put the whole workshop into perspective.


  • Receive a certificate of attendance in support of your continuing professional commitment
  • All workshops include the associated hardcopy technical manual
  • Printed workshop handouts
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Interact and network with workshop attendees and experienced instructors
  • Practical, industry driven content to assist you in your continuing professional development (CPD)
  • Attendees automatically become IDC subscribers and receive exclusive deals and technical content every month


This workshop is designed for personnel with a need to understand the use, care, installation, or the economics associated with mechanical machinery. Those who will benefit the most from this workshop include the following:

  • Consultants
  • Consulting engineers
  • Chemical engineers and technicians
  • Design engineers
  • Electrical engineers and technicians
  • Industrial and commercial plant and facilities engineer
  • Military personnel
  • New graduates
  • Operators
  • Plant engineer/managers and supervisors
  • Plant operations and maintenance personnel
  • Process control engineers, technicians and supervisors
  • Professionals who want to upgrade their knowledge in mechanical engineering
  • Project engineers
  • Property managers
  • Sales engineers
  • Service contractors



  • Introduction and basic concepts
  • Units for engineering quantities
  • Interpretation of mechanical drawings
  • Friction - importance in mechanical systems, types, static and dynamic friction coefficients


  • Stress - strain relationship
  • Properties of engineering materials: strength, hardness, ductility and toughness
  • Thermal processing of metals and how it affects their properties
  • Ferrous and non-ferrous alloys
  • Common failure of modes of materials: fracture, fatigue, creep and corrosion


  • Basic principles
  • Factor of safety
  • Static equilibrium
  • Design for static strength
  • Threaded fasteners
  • Keys and keyways
  • Riveted joints
  • Design for fatigue strength


  • Gears: terminologies, types, ratios and gear trains
  • Gear selection and gearboxes
  • Troubleshooting gear problems
  • Bearings: loads, types, selection and troubleshooting
  • Installation guidelines


  • Belt and chain drives
  • Mechanical couplings
  • Hydrostatic drives
  • Hydrodynamic drives
  • Torque converters and fluid couplings
  • Clutches: types, performance and selection
  • Brakes: types, performance and selection


  • What is a prime mover?
  • Internal combustion engines
  • Electric motors
  • Hydraulic and air motors
  • Gas turbines
  • Mechanical variable speed drives
  • Hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders
  • Comparative merits/demerits of different prime movers
  • Primer mover selection criteria, applications


  • Concepts: viscous flow and Reynolds number
  • Piping, selection and sizing
  • Pumps and valves: types and applications
  • Fluid engineering symbols and diagrams
  • Analysis of piping systems
  • Seals, fittings, flanges gaskets and O-rings
  • Mechanical seals: types, selection and maintenance


  • Laws of thermodynamics
  • Thermal cycles
  • Heat exchangers: types, maintenance and troubleshooting
  • Heat pumps
  • Air conditioning
  • Heat: conduction, convection and radiation


  • Single degree of freedom system
  • Terminologies: amplitude, phase and frequency
  • Natural frequency of vibration
  • Multiple degree of freedom system
  • Vibration measurement: sensors, analysers and interpretation
  • Use of vibration as a condition monitoring tool
  • Troubleshooting and correcting unwanted vibrations


  • Metal production - foundry process
  • Cast making and metal melting
  • Die and precision casting
  • Heat treatment (hardening and softening)
  • Hot and cold working of metal
  • Presses
  • Numerical control
  • Machining and metal cutting
  • Broaching, shaping and sawing
  • Basics of welding and types of welded joints
  • Brazing
  • Rapid prototyping


  • Objectives, reliability and availability
  • Breakdown, preventive and predictive maintenance
  • Standard practices and tools
  • Lubrication
  • Factors influencing equipment downtime
  • Hazardous failures
  • Condition monitoring methods
  • Non-destructive testing and inspections
  • Planning and inspection schedules


  • Need for standardisation
  • Mechanical engineering standards
  • Overview of standards
  • Benefits of standardisation
  • ISO 9000/1
  • Six-sigma

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