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The work of an industrial engineer comes down to integrating systems of people, materials, equipment and energy. Industrial engineers conduct studies and develop ways to enhance efficiency. Their work covers how equipment is used, how human resources are deployed, and how technology is integrated into operations.
If you think of yourself as a versatile problem solver, industrial engineering could be a good fit. Your skill set will make you a sought-after professional in the forest products industry. It’s an industry that is focused on efficiency, innovation and environmental sustainability.
Industrial engineers are designing better ways to produce lumber and other forest products. They are greening operations by integrating environmentally sustainable energy systems, like co-generation from wood waste, into mills.
You have to earn a degree in industrial engineering from a university to work as an industrial engineer. Students graduating from undergraduate programs in industrial engineering often choose to become certified as professional engineers. It means you are licensed to practice engineering, and that you’re a full-fledged member of the engineering profession. Many industrial engineering programs offer co-op work experience. This means you can earn money while you’re a student and also find out first-hand why choosing a career in the forest products industry is worthwhile.
Electrical and electronics engineers are primarily concerned with how electricity is produced, transmitted and used. They design and test electrical and electronic equipment and systems.
As an electrical engineer in a mill, you will work closely with technical and operations personnel to monitor and optimize processes. You could also find yourself coordinating projects and trials to increase production, improve quality and reduce costs. You will also work to maximize mill uptime and the need for reliable power systems. Unexpected outages can create problematic amounts of waste, so you will work to prevent downtime so the mill can maintain production.
Electrical engineers also get to show off their green credentials by maximizing the forest products industry’s ability to produce green energy. Co-generation projects, in which sawmills burn waste wood to generate additional power, are a prime example.