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A maintenance engineer is a person who applies concepts of engineering to improve the efficiency, maintainability and reliability of industrial plant operations. They strive to optimise the procedures followed in industrial processes, and find the best equipment solutions to fit the process needs.
Maintenance engineering is not a specific discipline in engineering. Rather it is a general engineering skill that may be practised by any sort of engineer. For instance a mechanical engineer working as a maintenance engineer in a manufacturing plant may analyse the performance of a particular piece of equipment that is prone to failure. Taking into account how much money is lost due to downtime, as well as the cost of installing a more reliable machine, they will decide which is the best cost saving solution.
Furthermore, maintenance engineers are responsible for planning long term maintenance schedules. Periodic planned shut downs of equipment and systems allow the opportunity to replace partially worn components before they fail while in use. If a system must be shut down for one small part, time lost locating and correcting the fault could be comparable to the time spent refurbishing the entire system.