Career Profile: Chemical Engineer – Plastics Moulds
Chemical engineering is a field of engineering that encompasses aspects of the physical sciences such as physics and chemistry, along with applied mathematics and production economics, to design products and processes that change chemicals, raw materials and energy into useful things.
People working as chemical engineers can participate in the research, design and development of chemical processes and equipment, or they can operate and maintain industrial processing plants for chemical, plastics, pharmaceutical, pulp and paper, or food production.
One common career for chemical engineers is in the plastic injection moulding manufacturing industry. Plastic injection moulding is a manufacturing process where a melted plastic material is forced into hollow moulds, where it takes the shape of the mould as it cools. This process is used to make many common products including toys, plastic parts, bottle caps, and almost any other plastic product that requires large volumes of parts that are all exactly the same.
Chemical engineers play many roles in this industry. They can help design the product itself, or work to create the specific type of plastic material that will be injected into a mould. Their knowledge of chemical interactions, chemical processes, and the characteristics of various materials mean that chemical engineers are valuable in ensuring that the product being moulded will have the right properties; for example, that the plastic product is strong enough, can resist temperature changes, or will last a long time.
To work as a chemical engineer for plastic moulding, you will need a minimum education of a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, or a closely related engineering discipline. There are also opportunities to specialize in plastics engineering during your undergraduate schooling, or through post-graduate studies. Depending on where you want to work, or how far you want to advance your career, you may also require a master’s degree or even a Ph.D. in chemical, plastics or another related engineering discipline.
Not all jobs related to plastic moulding will require a degree specifically in chemical engineering, however. In many cases, engineers from the environmental, biochemical or mechanical fields will also pursue this occupation.
Also, since engineering is a regulated profession in Canada, you may also be required to pass the Professional Engineering (P. Eng.) licensing exam.
Wages for engineers in this field span from approximately $20-25 per hour at the low end, such as for apprentices, engineers-in-training for their P.Eng. designation, and entry level positions. Compensation can range as high as about $60-80 per hour for experienced positions, or for those people willing to work in more remote areas of the country.