Australian Network of Electrical Engineering and Design Consultants

Electrical Engineering

The first "E" in our acronym identify our focus on the invisible source of energy paramount to modern human existence.

Despite its diversity, electrical engineering can be divided into four main branches:

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  • Electric Power and Machinery
  • Electronics
  • Communications and Control
  • Computers

"Electrical engineering is a profession that uses science, technology, and problem-solving skills to design, construct, and maintain products, services, and information systems. Electrical engineering is the historical name for what is now called electrical, electronics, and computer engineering." - (per definition of IEEE-US)

Electric Power and Machinery

Electrical Power and Machinery is the core of an Industrial Electrical Engineer’s interest. Electricity is the invisible necessity. It is the vital organ that keeps every household, transport system, workplace, factory, process plant and more in operation.

Electrical power engineering is concerned with the design and operation of systems for generating, transmitting and distribution of electric power.

Power Engineers continue with innovating developments.  In the 1970's the ability to transmit power at extremely high voltages in both the direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) modes made pylons and power lines rise for power transportation to the remote corners of society. A more recent innovation is the real-time control of power generation, transmission and distribution, using computers to analyse the data feedback from the power system to a central station and thereby optimizing the efficiency of the system while it is in operation.

The endless applications of electrical machinery in the domestic and industrial world keep the electrical engineer and component designer occupied with advancements to economise and improve productivity. Variable Speed Drives (VSD), Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS) and Fast Transfer Systems (FTS) are some of the innovative electronic controls making electric machinery run more efficiently.

Electronics

Electronic engineering deals with the research, design, integration, and application of circuits and devices used in the transmission and processing of information. Information is now generated, transmitted, received, and stored electronically on an unprecedented scale, and there is every indication that the explosive rate of growth in this field will continue unabated.

Electronic Engineers design circuits to perform specific tasks, such as amplifying electronic signals, adding binary numbers, and demodulating radio signals to recover the information they carry. Circuits are also used to generate waveforms useful for synchronization and timing, as in television, and for correcting errors in digital information, as in telecommunications.

Electronics evolved from bulky assemblies of resistors, capacitors, inductors and vacuum tubes towards integrating electronic devices on a single tiny chip of semi conductive material. The complex manufacturing these chips uses the most advanced technology, including computers, electron-beam lithography, micro-manipulators, ion-beam implantation in ultraclean environments. Electronic Engineers focus research in electronics directed towards creating even smaller chips, faster switching of components, and three-dimensional integrated circuits.

Communications and Control

Communications Engineers ensure the backbone of modern day devices keep functioning faster, more effectively and reliably. Just think a moment about the 1870's wire-based invention of Alexander Graham Bell and today's wireless 4G.

Control systems are used extensively in aircraft and ships, in military fire-control systems, in power transmission and distribution, in automated manufacturing and in robotics.

Control System Engineers bring together measurement sensors, field instrumentation, process control, communication devices and computer technology in the form of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), Distributed Control Systems (DCS) and Emergency Shutdown Systems (ESD) to control anything from the lift in a high-rise building, to advanced control of a gas compressor station to spacecraft course control.

Computers

Computer engineering is a discipline that integrates several fields of electrical engineering and computer science required to develop computer hardware and software. 

Computer engineers are involved in many hardware and software aspects of computing, from the design of individual microprocessors, personal computers, and supercomputers, to circuit design. This field of engineering not only focuses on how computer systems themselves work, but also how they integrate into the larger picture.

Computer software engineers develop, design, and test software. Some software engineers design, construct, and maintain computer programs for companies. Some set up networks such as "intranets" for companies. Others make or install new software or upgrade computer systems. Computer software engineers can also work in application design which involves designing or coding new programs and applications to meet the needs of a business or individual.

Computer hardware engineers research, develop, design, and test various computer equipment. This can range from circuit boards and microprocessors to routers. Some update existing computer equipment to be more efficient and work with newer software. Most computer hardware engineers work in research laboratories and high-tech manufacturing firms.