Tag Archives: mechanical engineering

How Mechanical Engineering Differs from Mechanical Contracting, Part Two

mechanical-engineering-mechanical-contracting-2Turnabout is fair play, and since our previous blog post addressed who mechanical engineers are and what they do, this one focuses on mechanical contractors—you know, those practical professionals who put the plans of multidisciplinary mechanical engineers into motion.

Idea vs. Execution

Mechanical engineers think of ways to produce and distribute energy, the processing of materials, control and automation of manufacturing systems, and the design and development of both machines and the environment. But without execution, their plans would remain on the page—it takes mechanical contractors to turn their bright ideas into reality. It could be said mechanical contractors tackle projects with both brawn and brains since these hands-on workers regularly handle piping, line installation and custom steel fabrication.

Say, for example, your company needs to create a design on a mezzanine where products and equipment will be set up. If you give this job to an engineering firm, chances are you will wait three to four weeks for just their drawn plans, opposed to straight-away hiring a mechanical contractor, who will have physically installed the area in that same amount of time. Not only will the mechanical contractor turn the project around in less time, it will be 18-20% less expensive since, unlike mechanical engineers, they don’t sublet the physical work to another company for execution.

Mechanical Engineer vs. Mechanical Contractor

Simply stated, mechanical contractors implement the design, manufacturing and operation of components, devices or systems generated by mechanical engineers. If problems within these systems occur, companies don’t need to revert back to square one by contacting the mechanical engineer who designed it since mechanical contractors are trained to identify and resolve system issues.

In other words, if your facility needs to audit its waste water drain system or if it needs an entirely new system designed, you would seek the expertise of a mechanical engineer. But if you need to make changes to a system that is already in operation with an established process in place, a mechanical contractor can handle the job. Even though we didn’t design the system, we can easily make modifications such as replacing an old inefficient pump with a new pump to rectify the bottleneck slowing down the system.

Working with Others

While mechanical engineers and contractors often work independently of each other, there can be situations that require input from both. When needed, these professionals will work side-by-side, applying the unique assets each brings to the table.

Sometimes a place at that table will also need to be filled by another engineering professional, a chemical engineer. If the situation pertains to chemical reactions, a chemical engineer will be able to ask the right questions, offer the right answers and successfully find the right solution. But in the end, a mechanical contractor will still be on the job applying that solution.

Whether working solo or with mechanical and chemical engineers, mechanical contractors and their much needed services are valued by facilities across the nation. Let TMS Inc. handle all your mechanical contracting needs. To learn more, visit tmsmech.com.

How Mechanical Engineering Differs from Mechanical Contracting, Part One

mechanical-engineering-mechanical-contractingMechanical contractors and mechanical engineers often work together, but they are not the same thing. To help illustrate how each works together and separately, we thought we’d describe the qualities and responsibilities that form the career path and job of mechanical engineers.

Much like a builder makes use of an architect, mechanical contractors often depend on mechanical engineers for new designs and methods, although not exclusively. Like mechanical contractors, mechanical engineers are creative troubleshooters. Some work with the processing of materials, the control and automation of manufacturing systems, the design and development of machines or the environment.

Mechanical Engineering Responsibilities

Mechanical engineering pertains to the design, manufacture and operation of components, devices or systems. Mechanical engineers may also be required to conduct research, test manufacturing, handle operations, or take on marketing projects and administration duties as needed.

Interested in Becoming a Mechanical Engineer?

Understanding the qualities mechanical engineers generally possess might help you decide on a career in the field, or help you understand when you might need to hire one. Because the profession calls for versatility, creativity and knowledge on a vast number of subjects, multidisciplinary people make great mechanical engineers. They should be able to solve problems via analysis, modeling, design, and synthesis to effectively handle the job.

In addition to possessing a creative brain and analytical mind, aspiring mechanical engineers must have a head for technical subjects such as energy transfer and conversion, design and manufacturing, engineering sciences and, of course, mechanics. These are the areas of study needed to become an effective problem-solver and successful mechanical engineer.

Mechanical Engineering Products and Systems

Space shuttles, aircrafts, automobiles, turbines, pumps, power plants, and factories are among the many products and systems mechanical engineers help develop. From refrigerators to robots, almost every machine has been improved at the hand of a mechanical engineer. Perhaps that’s why they’re always in demand.

Yes, the mechanical contractors at TMS Inc. sometimes makes use mechanical engineers in the services we provide. Next month, we’ll tell you more about how mechanical contracting and engineering differs. Meanwhile, learn more by visiting tmsmech.com.

October Employee Recognition Award

employee-recognitionCommitment with words alone is easy. But commitment linked to actions is what solves problems and saves the day.

It’s what sets us at TMS apart from other mechanical engineering contractors, and something that deserves our recognition.

When an employee goes “above and beyond,” we think we should take notice. In the case of a veteran TMS member, the client certainly did.

Into the grease tank …

The client in this case was a Fortune 500 grease company, and our awarded team member was on what appeared to be a routine project. But projects tend to be like people: unique, and sometimes unpredictable. The project we were on was a piping installation, when the client representative asked if we would make a tank entry and repair, which was completely unrelated to why we were there.

But, our awarded team member jumped right in (the grease tank) – literally. According to another TMS member, working inside the grease tank was “pretty nasty and most of us would not want to do it. But our awarded member said, ‘I will,’ with a great attitude and no complaint. Although he wore a tyvex suit, he was still covered in grease. I’m glad he was there and feel he is very deserving of this nomination for his hard work and dedication.”

The client representative applauded our awarded member: “The jobs you do here may not be glamorous or fun but they need to be done and you do them without complaining and with a positive attitude. You complement our workforce with your work ethic and quality of work.”

When our clients speak, we listen. And that’s why our veteran team member has earned our Employee Recognition Award for this month. On behalf of TMS clients, thank you for making their problems our problems, and then making them go away.

That’s why TMS is here. And why we’re growing.

Looking for a contractor who understands what quality, dedication, and “going beyond” means to your business? See for yourself why TMS is a leading provider of total mechanical engineering solutions for customers large and small.

Which Piping System is Best for your Business?

which-piping-system-is-bestConsider all of life’s tough decisions. We doubt choosing the right pipe was one of the first things that came to mind. But the correct piping system is critical to new construction, renovation, or remodeling jobs. Making the right choice can help prevent costly repairs or even accidents. In this article, we will examine the benefits and potential drawbacks of different types of piping systems.

PVC
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is very versatile – you can use it for water, gases, chemicals, ultra-clean water, and more. As always, the material your pipe will be handling should determine the type you choose. But as a rule of thumb, PVCs are good for reactive or corrosive materials; elements that won’t react to plastic. Drawbacks include PVC’s rigidity, which can lead to cracks.

HDPE
HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, is a plastic pipe used with corrosive or chemically-reactive materials. We always tell our customers that this is the type of piping that you can bury and not look at again for 50 years. Tough and durable, it also has the capability of “moving with the ground,” making it a very good line to bury, which happens all the time in the gas industry.

Carbon steel
Carbon steel piping is best used for higher pressure and higher temperatures, like running steam or high-pressure gas. Examples include underground higher-pressure gas lines or piping oil. Obviously, carbon can rust – it’s the easiest steel there is to corrode – so you don’t want to use it anywhere you’re going to have a high reaction. And if carbon steel pipe is buried, it needs to be coated with protective sealant over the top to combat corrosion.

Stainless steel
This pipe serves well across multiple sectors where both higher pressure and non-corrosive or non-reactive properties are needed. There are several grades of stainless steel available, depending on corrosiveness/reactivity of what it carries, and stainless piping can be costly. An advantage to using stainless is that it is much easier to keep clean than any of the other pipes.

Aluminum
Aluminum piping is seldom used – because it is so expensive – but is still an option for very specific systems. So if you’re running compressed air or a gas system where weight matters, aluminum is the right choice. Aluminum also offers better flow dynamics for pressurized gases, but due to its high cost, there are creative solutions available to produce the same benefit without using aluminum. For example, creating higher pressure in stainless pipes can produce the same effect for far less expense.

Cast iron
Primarily used years ago, cast iron pipes can be very strong, but are also very brittle. In other words, when they break, they crack. This type of system was used for drainpipes in high-rise buildings and other large buildings, but plastic pipe is now a better choice due to its low reactive properties.

Lined
Lined pipe is usually designated for materials that are very corrosive. Pipes can be lined with glass, poly, fiberglass, or some other media to handle highly corrosive or reactive materials.

Copper
Used mainly indoors as water pipes, copper can be expensive, since it is now considered a precious metal, and its cost is directly impacted by market fluctuations. While copper is a better choice to carry water, PVC is a cheaper substitute.

Choosing the one that’s right for you
At TMS, helping a client choose which piping system to install starts with finding out what they’re running through it. We ask about different applications, mixing of materials, and any other variables that would impact the piping system. We then apply our wide experience with different systems to come up with the best, most workable solution.

If you have any questions, contact TMS to talk over how we can help you build the piping system that is right for your project.

TMS’ Differential Points and How They Benefit You

tms-differentiationOur professionals at TMS work hard to provide our customers with superior pipe fitting, millwright, and custom steel fabrication. But it takes more to consistently deliver the best customer experience. While we constantly endeavor to install premier systems, we work equally hard to stand out from our competition – all with the aim of being the best for our customer.

Here are four ways that TMS works to differentiate itself within the industry.

Attitude of ownership – We see the project from the customer’s point-of-view. We recognize that the customer wants the project completed the right way, while saving time and money where ever possible. We also know how downtime, shutdowns, and delays can negatively impact a schedule. So we not only work to prevent these issues, but we also provide solutions to overcome them if challenges do arise.

Experience in multiple fields – TMS’ vast experience helps us provide solutions to customers across the business spectrum. Understanding various, sometimes slight, nuances in mechanical engineering methods helps us learn about customer challenges. These nuances may be subtle, but they have helped us build a wide knowledge base across multiple fields and overcome the challenges we face at various jobsites.

Saving customers money – We search for solutions and modifications that we know will save the customer money. While rule #1 is to get the job done as quickly as possible, if we see ways to save our customers money, we won’t let haste get in the way of savings. We always bring the saving opportunity to our customer’s attention. This may be rare in the contracting world, but we feel that our honesty is not only the right thing to do, but it will also lead to increased loyalty and positive referrals.

Critical path discussions, milestoning, and budgeting go hand-in-hand. The TMS process is: Consider all the information the client provides, understand what they want to do, determine the necessary equipment, and then come up with an overall cost.

Non-union shop means versatility – We excel in overseeing seamless transitions within jobs. We make them run more rapidly and smoothly because we can handle all the different requirements of the job installation.

For example, if we’re installing a process piping system that needs a pump, and we have to modify a mezzanine to handle the new pump, we don’t have to bring in other people to handle that part of the job. We can do what needs to be done on the spot – ourselves.  This transitioning between job tasks is something the customer never needs to worry about. It’s just done, and done right.

Differential points working for you

If you would like to talk to us about how our points of differentiation can work for your project, contact our knowledgeable experts. They can help you figure out which pipe fitting, millwright, or custom steel fabrication is the right choice for your project.