Machine design is the single most important activity in the mechanical industries. Success or failure of a company has it roots in product design, whether it is done in-house or contracted out. It is here that manufacturing costs and profits are determined. Even the best of manufacturing facilities are of little use if the design of a product is inherently faulty.Designers of machinery are individuals who use their talents to solve user-product problems on an on-going basis. They typically spend most of their time and effort on questions of applications and functions, usually within diminishing space requirements. That is, the designer must constantly seek to satisfy the customer's desires with respect to adaptability to the environment and will always seek to reduce the size limitations. Other concerns do not necessarily have lower priorities but are secondary in the sense that form and function are usually fixed in the designer's mind first. This means that designers must first cope with geometry. Appropriate layouts must confirm that the proposed device will not occupy space already allocated to other objects, that it will be able to reach or attach to other parts of the whole, and that it can be assembled.Individuals who have an engineering degree, an associate degree, or who have completed an in-house apprenticeship in drafting and design usually design machines. Machine design is a team effort requiring a variety of talents. Some designers are quite inventive and many hold patents; others, usually engineers, have more analytical minds. A third category of designer is artistically inclined and skilled in adding form, shape, style, and esthetics to machinery. Machine design is an art as much as a science.Creative designers, who bring machine elements together in new combinations, are able to assemble in their minds new mechanisms that as yet do not exist. They design and redesign their machines as they walk or drive and see them in height, breadth, and depth as real objects, and they can also see them and even hear them in action. Such nonverbal thinking, which is a central concept in machine design, involves perceptions, the stock-in-trade of the artist. Thus, design requires a challenging blend of exploratory artistry coupled directly with the application of scientific and engineering principles.Machine design in general is concerned with development of power sources and functional mechanisms. However, designers invariably specialize; they may concentrate on such areas as design of engines or turbines or the functional portions of automobiles, machine tools, or automation equipment.Since design is the first step toward manufacturing, it is important that potential designers have some experience in manufacturing and industrial engineering. The activities in these departments are closely related to product design. An understanding of manufacturing processes results in simpler parts, form, lower cost, and fewer in-house disagreements. Industrial engineering is a key to human engineering and design for assembly. Even time spent in sales can be valuable for designers, because designers ultimately must satisfy customers' needs.Design is a strenuous activity because of the discrepancy that always exists between what industry would like to produce and what is currently feasible. The most successful designers are those who have the necessary talents and qualities to perform equally well in any of the related disciplines.